Monday, August 20, 2007


You don't see wrapped sandwiches on sale here; come to think of it you don't see any ready-prepared sandwiches on sale. But if you go to a salumeria they will make them for you while you wait and this is what you get if you ask for a panino col crudo e pomodoro [sarnie with Parma ham and tomato] at the one around the corner, where Mr T... takes great pride in his work. You may, of course, choose from the many breads he stocks, all of which arrive freshly baked in several deliveries throughout the day and Mr T... always cuts the prosciutto or other cold meat to the exact size of your roll. No butter or spread is used but he will sprinkle the filling with oil for you, and season it with salt, black pepper and origano if you wish.

He does a roaring trade at lunch time and popular fillings are lettuce with or without ham, topped with wafer thin slices of provola cheese or Emmenthal [one of the few foreign cheeses eaten here] various salame meats and even sgombro [mackerel].

I was amused, this morning, to see two toddlers, obviously out for a happy day with their father, selecting their panini with great care: both knew exactly which bread they wanted and the girl ordered provola and crudo [Parma] ham with absolutely no origano, whilst her brother desired lettuce, tomato and salame with origano. The little girl even instructed patient Mr T... as to the proper height for her sandwich. How lovely to be brought up in this fresh food culture and to be so discerning at such an early age.

However much I have carped recently about erratic opening hours and summer closures, it is only fair to point out that most salumerie open at 6 or 6.30 am to attract the commuters on their way to work. Mr T..., though, has become a hero to me , for throughout the August closure period, he has shut up shop for only one day, ferragosto itself. Therefore I privately call his shop "The Windmill Theatre of Modica".


jmb said...

I have always admired these small shop keepers in Italy, and bar owners, etc. Those people work incredibly long hours six days a week. North Americans would never tolerate these hours but the Italians are good natured on the whole all day.

lady macleod said...

I love the story of the children!

I know what you mean about the fresh food. when I left India I missed that, but here it is again. The chap on the "second corner of the shady lane" in the medina makes the most fabulous sandwiches from the local specialty street food of the sauteed fish with hot peppers, beans, and some things I can't identify for a lunch that is filling and makes your teeth float with enjoyment.

I'm Mr. T is there for you!

Lee said...

I'm glad I ate before coming in here for a visit, Welsh! :)

I actually made myself ham, mustard and cheese sandwiches!

I think it's wonderful that children learn about the wonders of food at an early age.

Ellee Seymour said...

What a lovely snapshot of your day, with those sweet - and well behaved toddlers - choosing their lunch with care.

Today it is so cold I would like to light a coal fire. You could never believe it is the middle of August. I am hoping for an Indian summer.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. Yes, they do retain their good nature throughout the long day. Ciao, Lady M. The "shady lane" chap sounds wonderful and so does his street food! Hi, Lee. I agree - so good to learn about good food when you are young. Ciao, Ellee. I can't imagine being cold right now! Hope you het your Indian summer.

James Higham said...

Slightly different product to the Windmill, no, Welshcakes?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, James. Well, yes, but the title got you reading it, non è vero?

Maria said...

Sandwhich of course looks delicious! It amazes me how in August every one takes a break. It would never happen here in New York. People would riot. When I think about it though it must be great. I certainly wouldn't object untill I needed my iced venti coffee from starbucks and I couldn't get it because they were on hiatus! Could be dangerous! I feel for you...

All the best always,

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, M. Yes, it's when you really want or need something that it drives you crazy!


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