Friday, January 13, 2006

An Italian Sausage Taste Test

So far, I have not been able to find "Italian Sausage" in Italy. I'm talking about that delicious backyard barbecue staple of ground pork with fennel seed that comes in "mild" (ingredients just described) or "hot" with red pepper flakes. This product is available in every American city I've lived in. Okay, okay that's limited to Chicago, DeKalb, Iowa City and Minneapolis so just the upper Midwest but still, not to find this in Italy came as a shock. I am tempted to believe that this isn't just another case of something Italian-American passed off as something Italian but that I'm just living in the wrong part of Italy. In fact there's really no such thing as "Italian Cuisine" it's a lot more plural than that. Every region has a wide repertoire of unique dishes, the Milanese "Casseula" is one; the Pumpkin Tortellini of Mantua is another. Different regions even call cuts of meat by different names. I think I need to head to Naples or Palermo and try out the sausage there.

But today, we have "luganega" a local Milanese sausage that has a suspiciously similar name to the Greek "loukaniko". -Pause for dinner- Wow! Luganega is much more delicious than any other sausage available in Milan. It has a wonderful straightforward meaty taste. Other sausages available here are a lot less flavorful. Luganega has no fennel, though so I'm still on the quest for "Italian Sausage".


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