Friday, November 25, 2016

How Far would You Go for Rabbit?


"Don't go down into the cellar, mommy..."


Okay, I know that the last thing some people can imagine is frying a cute little furry Peter Cottontail in a pan over a hot gas flame while introducing a fresh garlic, butter, chicken stock reduction, flour for thickness, rosemary, plus salt and pepper to taste, and then serving it with red wine, fried potatoes, insalata and an olive oil so fresh and green that it boasts zero transparency. But that's exactly what I crave when I arrive in Rome every fall season for my extended writing retreat in Italy.

In fact, how much do I spend just to eat coniglio (pronounced 'coneelio')? When you consider the cost of the hotel which is located in the Piazza Novona area, and the cost of taxi and train transport, and the cost of the meal itself plus a bottle of red wine, we're talking about $400+.

Point is, I could easily get off the plane in Rome and hop the train directly to Florence where I rent my apartment. That move alone would save me some dough. And naturally, this being Italy, I could no doubt enjoy coniglio up here in Tuscany as well. But there's something extra special about the recipe I enjoy at this one particular trattoria in Rome. Heck, I don't even know the name of the place, but the owner has gotten to know me by now, and whenever I arrive he smiles, shakes my hand, asks me how my writing is going, and he doesn't bother with handing me a menu. He already knows what I want.

So what does coniglio taste like?

Some of you might toss your empty beer bottles at my head, but well, it tastes sort of like the tenderest, most flavorful chicken you've ever had. It's far more bony however and it can be a challenge to get at all those tasty bits without using your fingers. It can make for a mess and if you eat coniglio the way it was meant to be eaten, the meal can take a while. You don't measure the time in minutes however, but in how long it takes for a bottle of wine to go from full to empty.

Coniglio done right...
I enjoyed my meal three nights ago and I can still taste it. What did the last poet/novelist Jim Harrison once say about a good meal? That he'd happily spend five hundred dollars on it even if his bank account is in the red. Because a good meal is not a thing to be consumed, it is a memory that lasts and lasts. I savor my memory.

Speaking of memory, many of you will recall my novel THE REMAINS, the story of Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister who were abducted by a madman back when they were kids, only to be victimized by him again three decades later upon his release from prison. Now Rebecca is back in the continuation of her story. It's called THE ASHES. And today is its release day. Like a great meal, a good book should be savored and it should not just pass the time, but provide you with memories as though the story on the page were one you experienced yourself. I hope you pick up your copy of THE ASHES today, and spend the weekend reading it. You won't be disappointed.

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1 comment:

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