Saturday, 9 July 2011

Italian desserts and criminal minds

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

This is from Peter Clemenza in The Godfather, of course. I have seen the movie millions of times, but I never had once in my life cannoli. I did try to find them, sadly when they were on the dessert menu of Pizza Express they had been sold out. This is the kind of totally decadent dessert I usually crave for. And it is associated with one of my favourite movies, so just for this I want to try it.

I have been blogging recently about tiramisù and I guess Italian desserts are on my mind, but also the association we make with sugar and sugaree stuff and criminality. In The Godfather trilogy, it is obvious: when smeone eats or buys an orange, murder is being planned or about to be committed. Cannoli are associated with not one, but two murders in the saga: Paulie Gatto's and Don Altobello's, who gets poisoned by them. In another classic, Amadeus, Salieri, a jealious Italian composer who sends Mozart to his death even though he believes he is the Son of God (adding blasphemy and deicide to murder), is also depicted as having a sweet tooth, and a patriotic one at that, being particularly fond and proud of the speicalties of his homeland.

I think there is a reason for this association. There are two kinds of villains which I find particularly interesting: the puritan and the gluttonous. The puritan is dehumanised and his ethics close to fanaticism and the gluttonous displays appetites that are being the realm of food. They have the destructive hunger of ogres. I will blog a bit more about crime fiction in the next few days. Until then, I leave you with the classic murder scene and the immortal line.


The Artful Gypsy aka Wendy the Very Good Witch said...

First off....I LOVE the Godfather Trilogy. One and Two mostly....Three I'll take just because it completes it, but I liked the first two best. And secondly...I love me some Cannoli. BUT...(and there is always a 'but' with me)....not just ANY Cannoli. I am a very picky girl. The only Cannoli I have found that I just adore is an Italian Bakery in the North End (Little Italian section) of Boston, Mass. The bakery is called Mikes, and there is a non-stop line out the door every single time we've been there.

But the very best Cannoli is made with mascarpone cheese, then completely enrobed in a shell of dark chocolate with little tiny chocolate chips adorning the stuffed ends! OMG...these are TO DIE FOR! Ha...maybe there's your link to the desserts and the movies! Anyway...if you ever go to Boston, go to Mikes and get those. In fact I am dieting right now through October, just so I can pig out on those when we go to New England this Fall. I always buy a box of them, and carry them with me all week in a cooler and eat one every morning for breakfast, yum...ha!

Can you tell I really liked this post?! Ha! ;o)

suzanne said...

I, too, love the Godfather. It's one of my favourite movies, but I feel they should have stopped after the first.

As for cannoli, it's never been a favourite. Maybe it's just those I've had, but I've found them (and I can't believe I'm writing this!) too sweet and creamy for my taste. They remind me of eclairs, which I despise. I'll take gelato as my Italian dessert of choice. :)

Looking forward to your crime fiction posts. I'm away on vacation next week, so I'll have some catch-up reading to do when I return.

PJ said...

As-tu remarqué que Salieri est à la fois puritain et glouton?

Guillaume said...

@Wendy-I prefer 1 and 2 myself, 3 is much, much weaker, sometimes irritatingly so. And have you noticed that Halloween also associates sinister and sweet things?
@Halloween Spirit-The Godfather II was really great though, just as good as the first one, in some ways even superior. I want to try cannoli just for that shooting scene.
@PJ-Oui, j'ai remarqué.

The Artful Gypsy aka Wendy the Very Good Witch said...

Yeah...I agree. I am happy to just stop after 2 and call it done...ha! But I really love both of them! And of course you're right....Hallowe'en is definitely Sinister and Sweet indeed! Can't wait for it to get here!