Porcini Mushroom Adventure

Food is nearly always top priority for Italians. A certain delicacy may even be worth physical risk.  One example is the behavior of Roman cameraman Massimo Mariani.  According to the story recounted to me by CBS producer/editor Jos Mason, Massimo was in the back of a jeep headed with a CBS crew down some rough roads in Kosovo looking for Kosovo Liberation Army soldiers.  Among the crew was war-hardened correspondent Allan Pizzey.  At one point the crew stopped a peasant and asked if he knew where they could find some KLA soldiers.  The peasant pointed them down a dirt track.  They jostled down the track for awhile and into some woods.  Suddenly they noticed that the track ahead had been recently dug up.  Pizzey decided they would go no further.  There was a chance the track could be mined.  (They later learned that a group of Serb militiamen, impersonating KLA soldiers, were up the road.)  They turned around and headed gingerly back up the track.  Suddenly, from the back seat, Massimo let out a shout, “STOP!” He jumped out of the car and ran into the woods and dove for the ground.  The others glanced around, panicking.  Moments later, Massimo returned to the car with an enormous porcini mushroom in his hand, and a huge grin on his face.

“Look,” he said, eyeing his giant treasure, “I can slice it up, I can dry it out.  It will make a wonderful pasta sauce.”

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Post in: Italiano

Trisha Thomas
Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.

5 Comments

  1. lisa chiodo
    2011/09/14

    Great story I can totally believe it! Ahhh Italians and their mushrooms!
    ciao lisa

    Reply
  2. Liz Cameron
    2011/09/14

    What an image – porcini mushrooms in a war zone. Fab story. What types of food were you thinking about/harvesting during that coup in the Philippines? ;)

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2011/09/14

      I think you got the key there Liz. Italians are always thinking about food, even in a war zone. I definitely was not thinking about food during coup attempts in the Philippines. (By the way, probably the Filipinos were not either. The Filipino cuisine was a lot of rice and fish, and I did not find it particularly exciting). Or maybe it is a Mediterranean thing. When you are in Turkey do you find people are thinking and talking about food most of the time? The few times I was in Istanbul I found the food to be divine. I hope my followers will visit you website Slowly-by-Slowly and see all your beautiful pictures of Turkish food. Followers: You can read on her website about Leblebi, Simit, Su Boregii and Peynir in a fascinating post on Turkish junk food: http://slowly-by-slowly.com/2011/09/14/turkish-junk-food/

      Reply
  3. Allen Pizzey
    2011/09/16

    TRISH — one too many bottles of vino rosso on the day you wrote (or remembered) the porcini mushroom story.
    It’s all true, except the perpetrator was Massimo MARIANI, a distinguished Italian cameraman who works for CBS.
    When he yelled STOP” I, and everyone else in the armoured Land Rover, nearly had a heart attack as I hit the brakes.
    We thought he’d spotted a land mine.
    And then, to add insult to injury, he dried the porcini on the window sill of his hotel room in Pristina, took it back to London with him, and then had the cheek to call me in Rome to wax lyrical over the “sugo magnifico” it made.

    .

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2011/09/16

      You are probably right Pizzey, one too many bottles of vino rosso, and if I am going to keep up this blog I think I might need a few more bottles. If you talk to Massimo Mariani again, tell him to send me his recipe for the “sugo magnifico” and I will stick it in this blog.

      Reply

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