Stuff That Scared Me Silly, Sicily

February 9, 2013

As we tooled around Sicily this week, a theme emerged: scary sights.

Spotted in the Ballaro market in Palermo: goat heads. What is the home cook to do with these? Are they meant for lunch, or…?

Goat heads in Palermo market, copyright Jann Huizenga

Wikipedia says, “In Sicilian witchcraft it is customary to leave a fish head on the door step of one’s enemy to ward off malicious intention. The practice dates back to at least 1308, when Dante referenced it in his epic, the Divine ComedyIn a more serious feud, escalation of hostilities can be signaled by the appearance of a goat head or horse head.”  

Below was the Dantesque vision that greeted us as we entered Mazara del Vallo. I can’t say for sure what it is.

Side of Beef in Sicily, copyright Jann  Huizenga

And in the Mazara fish market, the catch of the day was a creature the size of a very large pizza, with eyes instead of olives, and a laughing mouth.

A fisherman at the fish market in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga


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