Polenta on the Board

Joe and Christina have us over to venture into Traditional Italian Cooking

Well, this takes a bit of explaining! In the old days in Italy polenta, just cooked corn meal, was a staple of life, especially amongst the poorer folk. The ground corn would be cooked with salt in water until it was tender and had the consistency of cream of wheat. It would be served with a sauce of some kind. (When Susan makes it we use a tomato sauce with rabbit or hot Italian sausage.)

Families were large and there was so much work for the women (this being before electricity and all the work saving gadgets it brought)  that it became the custom in some regions to simply pour the polenta on a large board, the size of the table, and put the sauce on it. Then everyone would eat from it. This was called, if you translate it, “polenta on the board”.

I had heard of this but I wasn’t sure if I believed it. Then, for Christmas, or birthday, I forget which, for Joe I found a cookbook called – wait for it! – “Polenta on the Board”. And October 31st, 2012 we were invited to Joe and Christina to relive this old Italian custom. I know you don’t believe a word of this, do you? Well, have a look!

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