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"Quattru Case e nu Furnu" ovvero "Quattro case ed un forno "


"In the foothills of the Adirondacks", Croghan, as the town's modest web page states, is one of the those places that I would like to visit. Its village, with a hefty population of just over 650,  has the power to bring back memories of my days in my humble little town of 1,100 located "in the foot hills of the "Serre Cosentine". I am sure you have never heard of them, just as Croghan is not on the tip of your tongue every day.  Mere dots on a map, towns as Croghan and my own town, can be easily described in my local Calabrian dialect as "Quattru Case e nu Furnu",  towns of  "four houses and bakery".

My friend Alex, knowing my about my foodie interests,  was very kind to bring back some goodies from his little home town. Alex, who vaguely reminds me of the character Biff Tannen in the 80s flick "Back to the Future:", but without an ounce of meanness  in his body (until he reads this post),  knew that I would be interested in sample some of the local products. Croghan is up North.way up there North in New York state.  I will bet you that Croghan is the kind of place where four wheel drive pickups rove amok during the summer, and speedy snow mobiles tear up the back roads that during long winter months. So from a climatic point of view, Croghan has very little in common with my hometown in Sunny Southern Italy.

So why the sudden small town nostalgia, and  attachment?  Well small towns, especially those nestled amongst green mountains, bring me peace. My life in proximity of the  most cosmopolitan of places, New York, is rewarding, but the Apple in Big Apple, is just marketing. At heart, somewhat of country boy I am . And when talking with Alex, I sense , he has got plenty of that country-body blood in him too.

The Alex care package contained two bars of Cheddar cheese and some of the world renowned "Croghan Bologna",  Both items definitely caught my attention. Let's start first  the cheese. With a name of "River Rat Cheese", not exactly the kind of creature that would tickle your taste buds, I had to see what this was about. Turns out , in great New York state tradition, River Rat Cheese , 1000 Islands is really good stuff, worth a detour the next time when you circumnavigate the Adirondack region. Until then you can hit their company's web site and order some for next day delivery .

The Horseradish version of the cheese was my favorite. What can I tell you ?  I like a bit of spice in my food.

Local Goodies
Now let's talk about Bologna, no not the historic Italian city,  but Bologna from Croghan.  Let's clear something up here real fast. This is not the stuff you fill cheap, seventies-inspired sandwiches with, but a German influenced fresh sausage made of pork seasoned pork meat. Given its uniqueness, I planned on using this in an oven roasted combination with some peppers, and roasted shallots, garlic and onion and white wine.  So much for peasant cooking this time.


So back to some nostalgia.What better way reminisce, but through the images of some dialectal poetry and the 1000 words of a mid-afternoon snapshot.. As the poet "Donna' Edda Caira Gentile" once sang:
Meranu,
paisieddru de montagna,                
quattru case e nu furnu                  
dintra e castagne;                          
cumu si bieddru                            
cumu si graziusu,                          
ccu tutti quanti                              
si tantu amurusu

Nestled amongst the ultra-green backdrop of ancient chestnut trees, Marano Marchesato, is a place that welcomes all with doses of strong countryside love. For a more complete text see  http://www.conpaola.it/maranocera-una-volta  [editor's note: maybe my compatriots will volunteer a quick translation for lazy me].

Folks, just take a look at this and let your imagination flow,  think back to all the places of special meaning, to your own Maranos. I am sure that you will find and feel a special treat of your own.

View of Marano Marchesato

Ahhhhh, "Quattru Case e nu Furnu", what more does one need ? No more to say from this near-teary eyed dude. Let me hit the kitchen . Got some cookin' to do.

Stay tuned. Stay Hungry and always Salute !

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