Crosini (4 kinds x 2), affettata, (sliced meats,3 kinds x 2), sgabei (fried bread), torta di patati (potato pie) Risotto (artichoke and mushroom), ravioli with meat sauce, pork with potatoes, tagliata con rucola (sliced steak with arucola), fried kid with fried artichokes, tiramisu covered in strawberries. Coffee.
It sounds like I’m telling you the choices on the menu, doesn’t it? But no, this is Sunday in the Luni, short for the Lunigiana, but oddly apropos in an Englishy sort of way. This is what you’re having to eat. All of it. An endless array of appetizers, then two primi piatti, risotto and pasta, then three meat courses, then desert (although if you’re a mathematician perhaps you thought you were caught in a diabolical progression and there’d be four deserts, but, happily, no). All served by a women who can selectively ignore any protest of the amount of food she might pile on your plate. She is more selective if the voice is masculine.
You start eating happily. The food is the food cooked in house, by women who’ve been doing it forever. Then, you’re stomach begins to quiver, then protest. You do to. So, Martha says, “basta uno” or “one is enough” and get’s one piece of something. I say “basta uno” and she throws a second on the plate. Picolo!” she says. It’s small, live with it, she means.
Soon you get defensive. You cover your plate with your hands after two huge ladle-fulls of risotto. The minute things calm down and you slowly remove them, plop goes the third.
Then, upon seeing her with a platter waltzing toward your table, you bend over your plate, cradling it in your arms and drawing it toward your breast as you lean over, covering it with your head. Soon you feel the plop, then the long-simmered juices trickling ever so deliciously down the cavern between your ear and skull…
It’s a battle eating Sunday lunch at the Ristorante Apuane, which isn’t alone in the game of Sunday excess. Entirely Luni. But you do it. Once you were poor, now there’s food. It’s cathartic. Live with it.
Oh, I forgot to mention why I like living here. All this, with bottled water and wine, runs you 25 euro per person. No tipping. Ristorante Apuane di Gregori Cristina in Magliano. A bar most of the week, a good food/stomach torture chamber on Sunday. Boy, them people can cook!