From Within A State of Confusion

Sausage, peppers, swiss chard and sprouts hash with steamed eggs

Sausage, peppers, swiss chard and sprouts hash with steamed eggs

Life in Italy has been interesting! Last night, we had a small dinner gathering; four of us, from Istanbul, New York, London and Paris, who have been living here in Italy for different periods. Inevitably the conversation turned to a discussion of the very different outlooks here compared to where we all come from respectively. In many ways, Italian ways (professional and personal) are similar to the Indian {lack of} system. There is a lot of warmth, hospitality and flexibility and on the flip side the extreme lack of clarity, planning or process and information exchange. 

Yet, what we really wondered is how things that frustrate and exhaust us seem to be embraced nonchalantly by most of the people here! How even when there is no idea of what is to happen or how, people are unfazed and indeed quite blissfully happy? How? Does anyone know?

Oddly, this is not new to me. India works rather similarly and despite the penetration of Western ideas and global enterprises, to a large extent still works like a small village where things happen (or not) because you know people (or not) and not because there is a process. I spent 2 weeks before my move to Italy in India to sort out some paperwork. When I started the process, I was told it would take 48 hours to complete. Four weeks and many phone calls, whatsapp, personal trips later, it is half finished and the other half is still in process! 

What fascinates me in all this is not so much the lack of efficiency or rules or anything resembling a process but how people cope and accept and function within this chaos of uncertainty. In the end, it really is about uncertainty. It is about walking through life doing things without any knowledge of where, when, how or what it will lead to. A fascinating concept that makes for a great behavioral study but living it as someone who normally does not function well in this state is a learning experience!

Perhaps, in this year, I may find more answers to this question that has always haunted me. Perhaps, it has to do with the journey than the goal or perhaps, it is something else. I really would like to know where the temperance for uncertainty and ambivalence really comes from.

Because, we can all do with a little more of that bliss!

farmers market hoard!
sausage, peppers and greens hash with eggs

While many things may be ambiguous, one thing is very certain - food here is ah-mazing!!! It rocks my socks off everyday and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to experience the richness and diversity of the regional Italian food. Reggio Emilia is in the heart of the country and in the middle of all its famous exports. I am super excited to find nuances within its better known products, and, much more for the stories of their discovery and use in traditional cuisine.

Last week, as part of a course project, I discovered some hidden layers of Reggio Emilia and spent two afternoons chatting with small and large shops around the town. I was blown away by the quality of the food and hospitality of all of them and how willingly and proudly they shared their work and heritage! People are amazingly friendly, especially as I plod along in my rudimentary Italian.

It is a wonderful feeling!

sausage, peppers, greens and sprouts hash

And, in that spirit, today's recipe is one of my favorites. One I remembered today because today is market day and this was made on the last weekend market day I spent in NYC in September! :)

Hash is one of my favorite comfort meals. Anything with good eggs tastes fantastic and add to that all the other good, fresh stuff and life is made... don't you think?! 

Wait! Maybe that's why the Italians are happy! They have the food!! The simply amazing stuff!!! #lightbulbmoment???


sausage, peppers, greens and sprouts hash

2 mixed meat sausages (I used chicken and turkey with sage), sliced on the bias

1 bunch of swiss chard, rough chopped

1 large red pepper, julienned

1 medium red onion, julienned

2 plump cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup of sprouted mung beans

3-4 eggs per choice

salt and pepper to season

sausage, peppers, greens and sprouts hash

In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add the sausages to cook and caramelize.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the remaining ingredients and saute for a couple of minutes. Cover with a lid and let it steam for a few minutes to soften and cook the greens and peppers. 

Crack the eggs gently on top and sprinkle salt and pepper over. 

Cover the skillet and leave it be for a few minutes until the eggs are cooked.

To serve, run a sharp knife on top of the eggs to loosen the yolks. Serve with buttered baguette to soak up the juices!