You know how people talk about a particular “family recipe” that’s been passed down through the generations and how it’s the best thing ever, has a secret ingredient and no other cook can come close to re-creating it? Think Indian curries, Italian ragus and Asian soups – I have friends who cook such dishes using “family recipes” passed down from their parents and grandparents, and they do so with a sense of pride. But what if, like me, that “family recipe” that’s passed on is a Sicilian delicacy known as Zuzu (pronounced Zu- Zu). Ever heard of it? Didn’t think so.
Zuzu is a terrine like dish made up of jellied pig bits. My Dad still makes it on special occasions and the smell is unmistakeable. Just to give you an idea of where I’m coming from – here’s the rough guide to his recipe. Get a pig’s head including the tongue but excluding the eyes, 4 pig’s feet and some lean pork and boil it up for 8 hours with some vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Strain and then set in gelatine. Serve for breakfast. Yep, early morning is when this Sicilian delicacy used to come out at our house (as a child, all I wanted was a bowl of cocoa pops) and I would watch as my Dad cut a slice of the smelly terrine with a blunt knife and then use that knife to cut the slice up into small cubes and then use that knife to transfer each cube to his mouth. Actually, this is the way he still eats it today – only difference is – my adult self happily sits beside him eating cocoa pops.
I should say, there are of course other things in the Patane Family Recipe Book – pork sausages, arancini and chocolate banana tart just to name a few – that I do cook at home and plan on passing down to my children. At breakfast time though, when they complain about having to eat boring cereal, I tell them their Grandfather would love to make them some Zuzu instead. They eat the cereal.
Oh, and if anyone wants the recipe for Dad’s Piggy Jelly let me know – he’d be happy to pass it on to someone!
PS I don’t have a photo of ZU ZU as it in no way photographs well….