Anti-Clerical Pasta: Controversy Erupts

January 30th, 2011 § 0 comments

In HG’s recent post, “Anti-Clerical Pasta,”  HG ventured that the pasta shape, “strozzapreti”  (Priest Strangler) was linked (especially in the Italian province of Romagna) to the reluctance of farmers  to pay land rent to the Church. HG’s principal source was Wikipedia which stated: “Wives would customarily make the pasta (strozzapreti)  for churchmen as partial payment for rent (in Romagna).  Husbands would be so angered by venal priests stuffing their mouths with their wives’  food they would wish the priests would choke as they stuffed their mouths with it.”  (HG’s mom’s sentiment concerning rent paid to Bronx landlords). Well,  controversy has erupted.  Daughter Lesley, authoritative in all things Italian, questions this legend: “Traditional image of priests as gluttons is central in Italian imagination. Stems from fat, well fed priests in a landscape of starving peasants. Never heard it linked with rent.”  Son-in-law Profesore R. casts further doubt on the Romagna legend. Il  Profesore traces the phrase to 17th century Neapolitan dialect: “strangula previti.” And this, he states has its origin from a Greek phrase meaning “round.”  HG bows to the judgment of these authorities on the phrase’s origins. HG holds to his opinion that it’s mighty tasty with the appropriate meat based sauce.

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