#18: MOTs and Mussels
Today we all decide to make a special trip to Nervi to buy some fresh fish for dinner, via Recco to get the MOT done.
I’m not quite sure why I so enthusiastically agreed to this trip. Turns out, an MOT in Italy is exactly the same as an MOT in the UK. Car Garages are universal. Condescending men in overalls who like to shrug and wink a lot, then demonstrate their expertise by revving your engine a lot and whizzing it around very quickly to show off just how good at driving they are. You spend too much time stuck to a plastic seat, inhaling diesel and car paint, and end up so desperate to get out you pay whatever it takes for them to let you have your car back.
In Nervi, I meet G’s 'Padrino' (Godfather) who owns a Pescheria on the High Street. He asks me if I like pesche crudo and takes great delight in offering me vast quantities of raw fish to sample. I end up chewing on lots of tiny squid eyeballs and raw octopus (polpo) legs, much like I'm on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. By the time we're ready to leave there’s so much salt in my throat I feel like I’ve spent an hour submerged in sea water.
We walk away with four kilos of very fresh, but very dirty, cozze (mussels). Who knew they needed so much cleaning? Comes as a bit of a shock when I end up spending an hour and a half pulling hairy beards out of molluscs and scrubbing scum off the shells. I was also quite horrified when I saw how quickly everyone was shovelling them into their mouths at dinner - such hard work reaps such little reward.
I start to empathise with my great-grandmother, who would peel hundreds of grapes to make a fruit salad, only to have everyone chuck it down their throats and moan about what a mediocre desert it is.