12 October 2010

Chernobyl Chicken

This comes from a collection of cynical writings I did while at University in Wisconsin. These are "Tales From the Tundra, circa 2000:

As I sat on the hard futon, blindly staring at the local news the other night, I saw something that I just could not believe. Please understand that I usually avoid the local news here in Central Wisconsin because it is just so painful to watch. Bad lighting, bad audio, lame stories, etc. Unfortunately, I was a captive audience awaiting the miserable weather forecast, when all of a sudden a story of “local color” filled the screen.

If I may make a brief interruption to remind you about the couple of problems that California has had with environmental pollution over the years. Things like the DDT spraying that eventually led to the problems with eagle eggs; toxic waste dumping by evil corporations that polluted the water and ocean, and numerous oil spills that killed thousands of cute little furry animals and birds. We are quite aware of the problems that may arise from pollution, but when there’s a problem, or symptoms of a problem it usually gets handled and cleaned up. Of course there were numerous jokes made about frogs with six legs and babies with arms growing out of their head, but the problems were always taken seriously.

I’m sure you’re all just dying to know what this story was, right? Well, it started off showing a picture of a very large egg. An egg that wasn’t quite as large as an Ostrich egg, but certainly comparable. The reporter appeared at a home in a small town where Mr. and Mrs. Wryzshingzrgvski’s chicken had laid this enormous egg. As soon as the camera started rolling, the wife broke the egg over a bowl, excited that she could make scrambled eggs for the whole family with just one egg. To her dismay, all this clear goo oozed out and produced ANOTHER normal sized egg inside. Mmmm…..those whites are full of protein, you know! And yes, they did eat the egg.

At this point, I was understandably speechless. I waited for the “investigative journalist” to give the scoop on the local aluminum plant that must be dumping their waste illegally. However, when it came time for the commentary from the intelligent anchor, once again, I was left dumbfounded. Little Miss Goody tried to make a cute little joke saying: “I feel bad for that chicken! Ha, ha, ha!”


If this happened in California, there would be several groups showing up to check the water, test the food, and walk around with Geiger counters to measure radiation levels. But here in the Tundra, it’s a funny little story that warms the heart.

10 October 2010

Chestnuts Everywhere!

As my last post showed, autumn brings with it some of my favorite foods. In Italy, October starts the season of one my fall favorites—le castagne (chestnuts). So, after another Sunday lunch, bellies full and nothing to do…my husband suggested we go up into the hills above La Spezia and pick some fresh chestnuts. Now, if you have learned from my earlier stories, nothing entices me more than the combination of food and adventure! Plus, I had never seen chestnut trees before--it was a very exciting proposition.

09 October 2010

Autumn in Italy

After spending a good deal of time in northern Norway, my return to the splendors of Italy was certainly welcome. But this time, instead of returning to Sicily, I returned to La Spezia, in northern Italy, about an hour east of Genoa and an hour west of Pisa. Markets in Italy are always seasonal, so what you see is what is best. It is fall now, and that brings with it some of my favorite foods. Fresh pumpkin, mushrooms, grapes, apples, chestnuts...these are the fruits of fall.

My first day brought me to the daily vegetable market. Oh, what splendor...

As the old adage says: 
"A picture speaks a thousand words"

Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

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