A Tale of Two Cities
How can I put it tactfully? I am just not a city person –a brief visit to Rome for some ‘culture’ with an Indian meal (the inducement) and then home does nicely. I can share many things with Italians but not an endemic love of fellow humans in large numbers and close proximity. Davies the happy hermit.
Ergo, in titling this “a tale of two cities” I am being ever-so-slightly disingenuous because I am talking about what lies outside Terni (Umbria) and Viterbo (Lazio) cities lying within easy reach of home. In fact, what saves them in my jaundiced view of urbansiation is that one can find completely unspoiled habitats with an abundance of wild orchids close by – so, come Armageddon this might (just might) justify their salvation.
Near Terni, Lois, ever the pragmatist, picked wild asparagus spears (as did I between photos) though locals, fanatical foragers all, had been there first so we had to climb high where small legs would not carry to garner enough between us for a “sformata’ and a risotto. The slender spears of wild asparagus are more intensely flavoured than the cultivated variety and, if I may be indelicate, have a more potent effect…ahem, one’s metabolic system quickly processes asparagus (15-20 minutes) releasing methanethiol – what used to be called methyl mercaptan (CH3SH) in my day – a delightful compound that adds a strong, characteristic odour to one’s urine (same chemical in foetid breath, skunk odour, marsh gases, crude oil….a real winner). If you, like me are one of that elite 22% of humanity reputed to be able to detect the smell it is but the small price you (or whoever uses the bathroom after you…) must pay for what is utterly delicious. Incidentally, it can be eaten raw, too.
However, for orchids rather than matters culinary click here