Sunday, February 12, 2006


How do you pronounce proscuitto? I've heard pro-JUTE in the movies so many times, that when I told the counterman at the Murphy's Supermarket deli to give me a half pound of pro-JUTE, he blinked for a second, then asked, "thin sliced?"

So I called my aunt, a first-generation American who speaks perfect Italian, and I said "Aunt V I had the most delicious dinner last night, by rolling thinly sliced pro-JUTE around a small dollop of sour cream, with fresh chives on top. She said, "What?" (She almost always says "What?" because she's been experimenting with hearing aids lately and sometimes forgets to put them back into her ears.) I said, "I had the most..." She said, "No, you mean pro-JUTE-oh!" Ah, thank you I said to her, the ultimate expert on not only Italian pronunciation, but also food: she minored in cooking at Smith, and delights (as I do, it's a genetic thing) in our incredibly useful five - or six - senses.

Pro-JUTE-oh, it turns out, is a diabetic's nightmare, so I only ate a couple of slices. The curing process must include sugar because it really jolts the glucose to the roof. But - like an annual piece of birthday cake - you gotta live, gotta taste life, even if just a little bit less than normal non-diabetics.

"Fresh chives?" Yes - incredibly, here in South Jersey, and with this mild winter, I still have a few chives. I've been sprinkling them on my daily poached egg breakfast. But this morning, with 15 inches of snow on the ground, I'm sure the last of the fresh chives are doomed. Oh well, spring is right around the corner (sort of).

I also bought scallops yesterday, and will wrap them in bacon, skewer with wooden toothpicks, and broil them for a few minutes later this afternoon. They go absolutely beautifully with spinach simmered in olive oil and fresh chopped garlic, and a good chardonnay. The bacon is complimentary to the spinach and garlic, and the chardonnay loves the delicate scallops. Once again, bacon having been cured with some sugar, a diabetic must be very careful to only eat a slice or two. But that is quite enough to go round several scallops, so a little goes a long way.

I am wearing Eadward Indulge perfume today, because it's so perfect on a snowy wintry day. It smells like spices and vanilla and orange marmalade and gingerbread. And the sweet perfection of Indulge's homey, warming sillage, won't have my blood sugar roaring like the fire in my coal stove.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that the prosciutto exacerbates your diabetes. It is such a lovely meat, but at least you were able to get a taste!
The pronunciation which you undoubtedly got from your aunt is pro-shoo-toe.
BTW--thanks for the beautiful music on your blog!

careerlady (on said...

Thank YOU!! Yes it was exactly as you said, pro-shoo-toe :-)

Thank you for the nice note.


Sali said...

Hi there, Lucia! Thought I'd comment that I live in a predominantly Italian-Irish neighborhood in NY where people say "mozzerell" with no "a" at the end. I know there are dialects in Italian but I often wondered if this was a regional New York thing. Eadward Indulge sounds good! xoxoxoxo Hugs to my musician/perfumista pal.

BBJ said...

Sicilian/East Coast Italian often bites off the last vowel of words, hence manigot', mozzarel', gabonad' (for caponata).

I'm told this is actually less common today in Sicily than in New Jersey, since little Sicilian kids learn 'proper' Tuscan Italian in school these days, while the American cousins go on pronouncing like great-grandma did .

As long as the food is good, I think we can all call it what we want--or perhaps point.