Sunday, February 28, 2016

Truth in advertising


    Browsing happily over my recovered photographs Saturday, I came across this photo snapped last October in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, one of those hopping urban gustatory wonderlands, like Los Angeles' Grand Central Market, which are fun to visit and eat in, provided you try not to reflect  too ruefully on why Chicago's own French Market by Union Station is so dead in comparison.  Some academic should do a study and figure it out, so that we can fix the French Market. A great idea. But it just doesn't seem to be working, though it works in other places.
      I took this picture because I had just spit one of these Osso di Morta cookies into the garbage, and wanted to document what I eaten, or, rather, tried to eat. They looked so lovely, white and various shaped. But they tasted like clove-flavored brick, and only after looking at the photo and reading the sign did I notice the description—or I should say "warning"—"A hard, clove-flavored Cookie."
     It certainly was that. You can't accuse them of misrepresenting their product, though "A very hard, rock-like, cookie reeking of clove" would be more to the point. 
     Maybe the cookies are good dunked in coffee, or, better, grappa. Maybe those who grew up teething on them love them, and to those people, my mie scusi. Maybe they're an acquired taste, which isn't going to help me, because I plan to never eat another one as long as I live. 

8 comments:

  1. Maybe the French market is overpriced. Thanks for the warning on the cookies.

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  2. Now those I've never tasted. They certainly look better than they must taste. In general, Italian cookies are denser and less sweet than other types of cookies, and now I'm curious to try a "dead bone". Looks like I'll have to wait until November from the sign in the photo.

    SandyK

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  3. Apparently there are several geographical/traditional variations of this cookie. From the website Chowhound.com I found this list of "dead bones":

    Ossa di Morto (Ossa da Mordere)
    Piemontese Bones of the Dead, with hazelnuts and almonds left whole.

    Uosse de Mort o Finocchietti
    Basilicatan Bones of the Dead, richly laced with anise seed and fennel.

    Ossa di Mortu
    Sicilian Bones of the Dead, lavishly sweet and flavored with cloves.

    Fave Livornesi o Ossa di Morto
    Tuscan Bones of the Dead, laced with orange.

    Fave dei Morti
    Lombard Bones of the Dead, with lemon and cinnamon.

    Ossa da Morto
    Veronese Bones of the Dead, made with polenta.

    Fave Dolci
    Roman Bones, made with almond paste and lemon.

    Catalani
    Not exactly bones, but still made for the Day of the Dead, in Sicily.

    Ossa di Morto (Ossa da Mordere)
    Piemontese Bones of the Dead, with hazelnuts and almonds left whole.

    Uosse de Mort o Finocchietti
    Basilicatan Bones of the Dead, richly laced with anise seed and fennel.

    Ossa di Mortu
    Sicilian Bones of the Dead, lavishly sweet and flavored with cloves.

    Fave Livornesi o Ossa di Morto
    Tuscan Bones of the Dead, laced with orange.

    Fave dei Morti
    Lombard Bones of the Dead, with lemon and cinnamon.

    Ossa da Morto
    Veronese Bones of the Dead, made with polenta.

    Fave Dolci
    Roman Bones, made with almond paste and lemon.

    SandyK

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    Replies
    1. (sorry for the ones I repeated; gotta retake that C&P class)

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    2. When generalizing about Italy it is usually wise to bear in mind that it has only been a country since 1871, and regional differences going back to the time of foreign suzerainties and independent city states persist. It is my observation that the Tuscan style of Osso de Morta is usually trotted out at the end of a banquet and served with a sweet Italian liquor made from sun-dried grapes called Vin Santo. The cookies themselves are barely edible, but munched slowly after being dipped in "Holy Wine" can be tasty, the bite of the cloves (and sometimes orange peel) moderated by the sweetness of the liquor. There is also traditionally, a ceremonial aspect, symbolic of the fellowship of the table.

      Tom Evans

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    3. Yes, Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour helped on that unification score from the old city/state days.

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  4. Always hated it when they spoiled a good ham by lacing it with cloves. Somebody must like them, I suppose.

    John

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  5. I don't think the French Market (by the Northwestern station, not Union station) is even trying to be a true public market the way Phillie, Cleveland, and even Milwaukee have public markets. It's more of an upscale food court. And, by that standard, an excellent one. But yes, it's insane that we don't have a real public market.

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