The Sardinian “Spuntino”

There are Christmas lunch, New Year’s Eve dinner, Birthday lunch, Little Easter lunch and, as a special and unique category of meals, there is “spuntino”, an a so to say event which takes place in Sardinian countrysides. This all-day-long lunch is peculiar for different reasons:

1) it takes place exclusively in the countryside. But never close to Cagliari. For exemple Calamosca has a vast countryside but there “spuntino” is never arranged;

2) it takes place in village where people from Cagliari don not know anybody like: Meana, Laconi, Isili, Busachi, Nuoro countryside, Ogliastra region. In short, throughout Sardinia except for Cagliari area;

3) the author of this article has never been invited;

4) the “spuntino” meali is arranged by men for men but who are not necessarly gay;

5) the people who participate in this “spuntino” are part of a sort of secret society and can invite someone in turn, but with great care and attention in choosing the new guest. The new guest cannot be from Cagliari.

For those unfamiliar with the Sardinian”spuntino”, let us specify immediately that the word is misleading. Again, as often happens (in my opinion), Sardinians use the English understatement without even knowing the meaning of this word. The English understatement works like this. The queen instead of saying “Take those thieves who wanted to steal from my house and cut their throats away from here because otherwise you’ll make this place dirty”, shakes her head slightly, making it swing from side to side to highlight a slight annoyance, and then says: “We are not amused”. Here is the Sardinian ”spuntino”. A phrase with a harmless sound that instead hides unspeakable realities.

“Su cumbidu” (typical Sardinian expression which literary means “meal invitation”, here used in reference to “spuntino”), in fact, lasts from a minumum of four hours to a maximum of three days. It is not a real Satanist ritual but pretty disturbing rituals are performed there. Sheep in overcoats are persuaded to jump whole in cauldrons with potatoes and onions floating on the surface. Suckling pigs turn on skewers from the early hours of the morning while huge wheels of cheese sweat, waiting to be heated on the grill and then skimmed with a knife, on huge slices of toasted bread. Meanwhile, beefy men pull threads from tree to tree and hang sausages, hams, cheek lard and so on, which are the essential decorations that adorn the “spuntino”. Piles of “carasau” bread pile up on picnic tablecloths while cork trays are positioned to accommodate the ever-present lambs.

Previously famous mathematicians have calculated the amount of wine needed to water all this goodness. After obtaining the results of the calculations of the quantities of wine needed, the people in charge of the supply engage in a silent dialogue with an eloquent exchange of glances and decide to a figure ten times higher. For the moment we are not given to know more because the “spuntino” of our guest-infiltrator is still in progress so we apologize to the readers.

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