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Biagio’s recipes: carrettiera peppers. The bitter fate of the “puparuolo” ..

Because Vincenzo Corrado, the ‘700 Antonino Cannavacciuolo, wrote that peppers are “a rustic and vulgar food”. Peppers were the basis of the “marenna” that the carters brought with them along the roads of the Vesuvius, Nolano and Nocera region. The vegetable was used in the East in spells, while its name, “puparuolo”, in the Neapolitan language sounds like an insult.

Ingredients: gr: 600 of red, yellow and green peppers; 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs; 2 tablespoons of grated Provolone del Monaco; 2 cloves garlic; parsley, fresh chilli, oil, salt and pepper. Clean the peppers, cut them into strips of 3 -4 cm., Put in a saucepan a drizzle of oil and the two cloves of garlic, and as soon as the garlic becomes golden, add the strips of pepper, and cook cook for ten minutes, with the pan covered. Then, “adjust” in salt and pepper, and continue cooking for a few minutes uncovered. Meanwhile, in another pan, toast the breadcrumbs then mix them in a bowl with the parsley, chilli and cheese. When the peppers are cooked, remove the cooking sauce and season the dry peppers with a drizzle of oil and the mixture of cheese and breadcrumbs. Finally, bring to the table. (www.cucinandogustando).

It was not enough for peppers that their arrival in Europe was accompanied by the news that in the East, magicians and sorcerers had always used them in the preparation of love spells, in those for the conquest of the loved one and in those for the estrangement of a person one no longer loves. The only advantage that the vegetable had was its low cost and the fact that it “satisfied” and could be eaten both hot and cold: moreover, some Neapolitan doctors claimed, in the first half of the 19th century, that the pepper helped to fight the weakness of nervousness and fatigue. All these “virtues” meant that the colorful vegetable accompanied the tiring day of the “basolari” peasant masons and carters. Vincenzo Corrado, the great Neapolitan chef of the 18th century, wrote that “peparoli are rustic vulgar foods, but many like them, especially the inhabitants of the vague Sebeto, who eat them, while they are green, fried and sprinkled salt. , or cooked on the grill and seasoned with salt and oil”. Corrado pointed out that the flavor and aroma of the vegetable, in itself weak and insignificant, had to be supported by different types of sauces, white wine, “mashed chickpeas and tomatoes”, ham and ” beef fat”: in short, the peppers were guilty of not having the strong notes of the pepper. And so the image of the “puparuolo” has become, in Naples, a metaphor of substance of little value: a metaphor often used in terms of sarcasm, as when it indicates it, with “polka dots”, “money”. “Why have certain families always reigned in our country?” “Because they keep ‘e puparuole”, that is, the money, which, as you know, is of little importance “. I still remember the bitter smile that accompanied, several years ago decades, this brief lesson that a “horseman” gave me about the story of Octave. “Puparuolo” is a metaphor of a stupid person, easy to deceive, to make fun of and to turn around at will, like the cook turns the peppers on the grill Francesco D ‘Ascoli argued that “‘ o puparuolo” is also a particular stupid, and it is this ridiculous and annoying “subject”, which thanks to “social networks” has become a eponymous figure of our time, who cuts off absolute and definitive judgments on all subjects, on all subjects, especially when he lacks, in an absolute measure, the specific competence, especially when he knows nothing of the facts of which he claims to speak. These “puparuoli”, whatever their color, can now also become administrators of public affairs, mayors, dep utes, senators. And the ministers.

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