Indelible … that which cannot be eliminated, forgotten or changed.
Here we are, a bit over halfway through our “Year of Meat,” or “Charcutepalooza.” Less half is left in a challenge that has already left an indelible imprint on my life.
The learning curve has been steep in spots. The results have been sometimes sketchy, sometimes awful, occasionally stunning and always fun. Take this month’s challenge, for example. Never in a million years would I have ever believed that I could make Mortadella and that it would turn into something we could eat.
Most of my experience with Mortadella had been while I was growing up and my dad would eat that and Olive Loaf. I found most things my dad ate to be disgusting and Mortadella was no exception. After all, what were those white things in there?? It was just unfathomable and completely inedible, in my opinion.
The next real time Mortadella crossed my life was while we were in Italy. Each morning, we were faced with amazing choices — proscuitto, breasola, cheeses, pastries, breads and so many other wonderful things. Oh, and Mortadella. My husband ate and ate and ate all these meats and really loved the Mortadella. Memories of my childhood prevented me from even trying it, so I ignored its presence. I should have known better.
The making of the Mortadella was something that stretched every bit of my imagination of where my food comes from. Following the instructions absolutely, afraid that any deviation would spoil the thing I was sure I would hate, the emulsification was constructed and ready to put into the prepared bung.
I will say nothing more about the bung, other than its texture was very much like an inner tube, which it is in a way.
Poaching took nearly 2 hours and then 2 more days in the refrigerator before I actually sliced it.
I even tasted it…after all, I had put several days into this challenge. The taste? Sublime. Lightly spiced, garlicky and creamy. Everything it should have always been, but never was.
Will I make it again? Probably not, but I did make it once and that’s what impresses me. Mortadella and I are no longer at odds with each other.
Truth be told, the most amazing part about this “Year of Meat” has been much more than learning and doing and creating charcuterie. The very best part has been the people that I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. Not so much friends you call in the middle of the night, after all I’ve only met them online and I don’t even know everyone’s real name. But friends of shared experiences; friends who know exactly what to say when things are going badly in the kitchen…”Have a drink and relax!”
A little over halfway through the Charcutepalooza challenges and I’m already mourning the end. When it’s over, what will happen to all the smart and witty people that surround all the chatter about meats and sausages and bungs? Who knows? I do know one thing — this challenge has made an indelible imprint on my life.