9.24.2004

copy & paste: the speck that fell off the back of a truck

Here's something I've written somehwere else. The topic being a smoked prosciutto that has recently been approved for import into the United States and the illegitimate means by which I've been enjoying this meat for years...

The whole affair is clandestine from beginning to end.

My husband has a "connection" with a local butcher in Trento. He calls his "connection" as soon as we arrive to let him know what we'd like. My husband and his "connection" meet in a side street off the piazza, usually at night, and his "connection" opens the trunk of his car to reveal a full salumeria. My husband chooses what he wants and each item is tranferred from one trunk to the other... carefully, cautiously, with a quick look around. Hunched shoulders, hushed voices, cash appears in one set of hands and disappears in the other. No sconrtino (recipt*) ever sees the shade of night!

When the trunks click shut, that's when I come into the picture.

I wash the outside of the hermetically sealed plastic carefully with grease-cutting dishwashing liquid to remove any residual perfumes of meat. I then seal the ham in a shopping bag and place it in an open shopping bag into which I put all the dirty socks and undies I can gather. The stinkier the better - husbands are good for this, too. I seal up the second bag and casually toss our "dirty laundry" it into the suitcase. This elaborate procedure confuses the SFO International's k9's, also known as "beagle brigade."

We are always prepared to "give up the goods" during the spot inspections - you can't deny what the immigration officer just plucked out of the suit case! But so far, we have slipped by unnoticed.

The sealed meat can be stored in the freezer and defrosted in a day or two in the fridge prior to slicing.


* What's the big deal about a recipt? In Italy they actually have "recipt police" that hang around outside stores, and sometimes inside, to make sure that the merchant gave you a recipt for your goods. The Italian government takes it's taxes seriously and it wants to make sure that it's not short-changed. Everything is rung-up at the government controlled register and the customer is to keep their recipt until they get home -- just in case the recipt police gets suspicious.

Italians have already figured a way around this kink... but that story is for another time.

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