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Last Night in Palermo: Chicken on a Chain

Chicken on a chain, photo by Irene Campagna
I went out on the Danza delle Ombre meals- on-wheels run for the homeless with Chiara and Irene Campagna this evening, for the last time.
You see the strangest things. Drunken Europunks sleeping on the cold hard sidewalk where they urinate, surrounded by a pack of large mongrel dogs, one of which just had seven puppies. Across the street was this forlorn, lonely roosting hen on a leash, tied to a garbage can, waiting for her homeless master to get back from whatever it was he was doing. Different kind of pet.
When we ran out of food to deliver, the sisters, who volunteer to deliver food every week, asked me what food I liked. Pizza, crostini, cannolicchi. Then they talked about their favorite arancine, which are fried rice balls containing, traditionally, either butter and chopped beef, or bechamel, ham and tomato sauce. Irene explained that the word is arancina in Palermo, but arancino in Messina and Catania. The darn things change gender depending on what part of the island you are in.
Although I have a Bar Touring MUCH too close to my apartment building ( the food there is so good), I have never tried their arancine, known locally as La Bomba -- The Bomb -- which include novelties such as four-cheese ( "the best," Irene says) and mushroom and bechamel, and spinach and cheese). They drove me to the Bar Touring headquarters in the Kalsa section of town and ordered me a four-cheese arancina, but they were out, so they ordered me a mushroom and bechamel, and took pictures of me while I ate it. It was as big around as a large grapefruit. Then they bought me two cannollichi (baby cannolis) to take out, because it was my last night in Palermo, wrapped in the bar's famous brown matte paper, a gift, and drove me home, and wished me farewell and good voyage.
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