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Arturo Saturday, 28 June 2014

Remembering the war and thinking of peace

When I think of those times and all that was atrocious about them, the unbearable heat, the dreadful cold, the frightening conflict, the loss of life of thousands and thousands of young soldiers, and even the very basic mess tins to feed the soldiers, it is difficult to come up with any creative thought. I look at the mountains around me and realise that it was actually here that boys and men were obliged to fight and lay down their lives, and that perhaps the mountains were not even a place of concern for them. The mountains were wrecked, bombed, dug out, and generally savaged. It seems to us today impossible to imagine but it did indeed happen.
Remembering the war and thinking of peace
 
 
 
„This year the initiative ‘the peaks of pleasure’will commemorate the beginning of the Great War.”
But the mountains are strong and certainly bigger and more resourceful that mankind. It is through recognising the majesty and grandeur of the mountains and their peaks that I am able to force myself to think positively and to  make my small contribution to the forthcoming initiative ‘the peaks of pleasure’, which this year will commemorate the beginning of the Great War. In my thinking it seems to be a worthwhile idea  not only to recall the horrors of the war but to make people aware of the futility of war and conflict, for today many such conflicts still exist in many parts of the world.  Together with award winning chefs Norbert Niederkofler and Matteo Metullio I will prepare a dish inspired by the simple ingredients which were served up to youngsters at the front. My mess tin dish will be made up of smoked pig’s shank and soaked beans and potatoes. It is a fullsome dish, generous in portion yet rich in suggestion. At the front the Austrian soldiers had a diet based principally of meat whilst the diet of the  Italian troops was principally of carbohydrates. My recipe is an attempt to combine the two in a symbolic gesture of peace, brotherhood, and a will to  live off the abundant resources which Mother Nature provides for us. 
The event presentation will be organised by the Alta Badia Consortium and will take place on 27th June at the Casa Forestale Sarales at Valparola Pass.
From midday and together with other colleagues we will prepare our dishes and they will be served in the old style mess tins of the war times.  After the presentation day the dishes will be served in different mountain hut restaurants of the area. Whoever would like to taste my ‘peaceful shank’ dish can find it served at the  “i Tablà” hut. The name of the hut is a Ladin word meaning barn and it is where the farmers store the hay during the winter months. The hut restuarant itself enjoys a great position at 2000 metres asl and has a wonderful terrace area on which you can enjoy the sun and take in the magnificent views.
Light, meadows, silence and mountain presence. May the beauty of these places protect for ever the memory and the spirit of the far too many youngsters who fell for such a ludicrous war.

Arturo Spicocchi
 
 
 
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