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The scottona and the frigidity

The scottona and the frigidity

Over the years, I have often been surprised during my conversations with producers. Two ingredients that have never been lacking are certainly amusement and dismay, especially while listening to stories about food products.

How many things can be discovered by having a chat behind a freshly prepared dish. The stories I prefer are linked to the territory, popular culture, agriculture: dedicated to simple people.

One of the stories that struck me the most is the one about the scottona. Today we all recognise it as an excellent cow that has never given birth, but once upon a time it was nothing more than a 'defective' animal, unable to carry a pregnancy. As I looked into the matter, I discovered that there is a distinction between 'cold meat' and 'hot meat': the former distinguishes older animals, which offer a less tender and therefore less valuable product; the latter is obtained from young cattle in heat, therefore not yet pregnant. This is where the term 'scottona' (scottare= to heat) comes from, i.e. meat from a hot animal in heat. 

There is a kind of bitterness in this story; the name seems a mocking consolation, a gentler way of describing a bovine lacking in some quality. Not fertile. We could easily have called her 'frigid'. But we preferred a more sympathetic way of reminding ourselves that a product of the highest quality was born from an initial problematic situation.

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