"Mangiar Casalasco" by Mario Saporito (Gastronomist and freelance journalist)
In the museums of rural culture, it will be necessary to create a section dedicated to gastronomy, witnessing a costume that, if not completely lost, suffers unavoidable adjustments and compromises. Like all cooking traditions taking roots in the "rural" world, also the cooking tradition characterizing Casalmaggiore includes very simple and essential dishes, easy to prepare with the local products. For instance, rolled-out dough plays an essential role, like in all the rural areas where eggs and flour are abundant. The local traditional menu does not include appetizers, for a realistic assessment and enhancement of what will come after them. However, there is a ritual which still has many observants: it is the so-called "bevr'in vin", that could be translated with "drink broth in wine". It warms up in winter and makes you sweat in summer. Anyway, it introduces the meal. One of the classical solutions is the sorbir di marubini, the traditional stuffed pasta: a soup bowl of marubini with wine.
If we consider first dishes, "riso con la tridura" is a dish for important occasions based on rice, very simple; rice with pumpkin, risotto with frogs or with luartis are also worth a mention. Or the so-called "Straciamus", maltagliati with beans and "Blisgon", pumpkin tortelli. If in the area of Casalmaggiore there are many first dishes, homemade second dishes are a few and have become common at the table of many country hamlets. Just to mention a few: she-ass casserole cooked with vegetables, cotechino, chicken filled with mostarda, duck, and the so-called "oca di Natale", the legendary filled and roasted meat. Also the passion for fishing is still alive in our territory. Our canals are full of bullhead catfish, very appreciated by exacting palates.
But also pumpkinseed, tench, bleak, and eel. These fish deserve a kind welcome on our table and... free your imagination! Fried catfish, boiled catfish with peas, roasted tench, risotto with tench, roasted filled carp. A specialties, whose origins are very ancient, is "Luadej di Casalmaggiore". "Luadej" (meaning "leavened") are long and oiled focacce, ideal to eat with cold cuts, cheese, and eat with red wine, possibly sparkling.