Saturday, February 10, 2007


Last night we ate at a restaurant that serves a variety of pasta called strozzapreti.

"Strozzapreti" means "priest strangler" or "priest choker."

Strozzapreti come from the Romagna region of Italy. The well-known Italian chef Lidia Bastianich has a rather benign explanation of the name:

According to an old tale, these delicious ricotta and spinach dumplings got their name when a gluttonous priest ate too many of them too quickly.

But there are somewhat darker explanations:

One of the legends created to explain the origin of the name goes back to the tradition of the women from Romagna preparing this type of pasta for the local priest, while the husbands, evidently a little bit more anticlerical, wished the priest would choke while he was stuffing himself with it. Graziano Pozzetto, an expert in tradition and cuisine from Romagna, ... gives one more interpretation of the name, linking it to that sharp and firm movement with which the azdora [the housewife in Romagna] 'chokes' the dough strips to make the strozzapreti: "... in that particular moment you would presume that the azdora would express such a rage (perhaps triggered by the misery and difficulties of her life) to be able to strangle a priest!".

Romagna was reluctantly ruled by the Catholic Church for a long time and has a history of anticlericalism and rebellion against Church rule. The more sinister explanations for the name strozzapreti, therefore, seem quite plausible.

Under those circumstances, isn't it an act of religious bigotry for a resturant to serve strozzapreti at all?

For the love of God, why isn't William Donohue of the Catholic League doing something about this?

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