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The Octopus’ Sandwich 0 Comments

The Octopus’ Sandwich

The octopus (Octopus vulgaris), considered one of the most intelligent molluscs, unlike squid and cuttlefish, has eight tentacles instead of ten. It has always lived in the Mediterranean in two different settings: rocky and sandy. The meat of the first is better tasting and stands out from the other because it has two rows of suckers on the tentacles instead of one. The story goes that since ancient times the octopus was attributed with extraordinary aphrodisiac virtues.

The Greek writer Athenaeus of Naucreti tells us about it, writing in Dipnosophists that the people attending at the banquet, pitying a man who has become impotent, said: "to whom not even the octopus ... is able to help". But also, Cicero in a letter alludes to the aphrodisiac virtues of the octopus and, again, Boccaccio (c. 1339) also refers to it in a letter sent to a friend. This belief continued over the centuries, so much so that Rabelais was still talking about it in the sixteenth century.

The octopus’s sandwich (su paninu a pulpu) is the most famous street food in Sardinia, where it can be tasted at village festivals, particularly in seaside resorts. In Golfo Aranci  it is very famous and very tasty. The octopus’ sandwich in Golfo Aranci is stuffed with properly cooked octopus, cut and well-seasoned with oil, garlic and parsley. Dutifully accompanied by a glass of Vermentino di Gallura or with an Ichnusa Beer.

When biting into the octopus’ sandwich you feel becoming a poet, because the octopus, symbol of the creative force of the sea, is a creature that weaves its history with myth, dissolving into legend and, as Muriel Barbery says: "... the silky mollusc caressed the palate, while images of cats, lakes and ashes filled the mind. Without knowing why, one felt the urge to laugh".

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Written by Daniela Toti

Tags: food

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