My mouth waters. I am rewriting the recipe for octopus cooked in a clay pot. The measurements need to be spelled out in detail. But who really needs more than what follows? Two octopuses for four people. Buy them already cleaned; no one wants to mess with octopus ink. Make sure the eyes, snout, and sinewy vein-like strings in the brain have been removed. Cut them into pieces and place them in a clay pot with olive oil, chopped onion, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. If you like potatoes, add a few. Cover the pot and put a rock on the lid to hold it down tight. When the pot begins to make popping sounds, the octopuses are ready to eat. And always the warning: DO NOT ADD WATER. The octopuses must stew in their own juices. Say it again and laugh, because, as humans, we know what that means. Yes, we screw things up and must live with the consequences. But, unlike the octopuses, we live to tell the tale. Chaucer would have said something along the lines of fry in your own grease. In Italian, cuocere nel proprio brodo. Are there other ways of conveying this idea in Italian? What are they?
(Dianne Hales is the author of numerous delightful books about Italy, a blog, and lots of chat about the Italian language)
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