Tex-Mex Night in Italy

I’d like to think all the guys down at the celle liked me - either that or their interest was piqued by the Texan with knee-high cowboy boots and a ragged-out topper. By day two of my staging with Dario Cecchini, I was becoming accustomed to being referred to as either, “Chuck Norris” or “Walker Texas Ranger.”

Apparently, Italians are a bit behind on American television and pop culture. Walker Texas Ranger is the hot show in Panzano.


My hat was often used as a prop for the Italians enjoyment.

My hat was often used as a prop for the Italians enjoyment.

Riccardo (Dario’s number two man) went as far as playing the "Walker Texas Ranger" theme song at the celle while we worked – even those who couldn’t speak English sang along. He talked many times about cooking Tex-Mex food for me and so on my first off day, Riccardo threw a Tex-Mex party at his house.

When I arrived, we all joined in preparing the food for the evening: guacamole, pico de gallo, roasted pork, and chicken wings.

I know what all you Texans are thinking right now – THAT AIN’T TEX-MEX!

But in our defense, it’s pretty difficult to find the necessary ingredients for an authentic Tex-Mex meal over here. Cilantro is non-existent and tortillas the same.   However, after being away from home and missing Lola’s tacos for almost a month, I was ready to kill a bowl of guacamole.

The rest of our friends from Dario’s celle began to pile in and we had one hell of a time. My buddy Daniele even dressed up for the occasion. He donned a dinner-plate sized Harley Davidson belt buckle, roach-killer boots, and a Toby Keith cowboy hat. However, I could tell he had his eye on mine and was looking for a trade.

Eventually, it would come down to a poker game, but that is for another post.

Two killer pair of boots!

Two killer pair of boots!

The finished fare included chicken wings, a variety of grilled vegetables, and pulled pork tacos - yes, Riccardo miraculously scrounged up some flour tortillas in the middle of the Italian countryside. Topped with a dollop of guacamole, those pulled pork tacos made me reminisce of home and authentic Tex-Mex food.

I will admit I had a momentary pang of  homesickness from it all.

I was amazed at the enormous amount of hospitality shown to me by my new Italian friends. They had only known me for a short time, but I found myself in their homes, eating, drinking, and laughing like one of them. For this, I am grateful and will always cherish their hospitality and friendship.

Daniele and Riccardo are already planning a trip to Texas if and when I open my own butcher shop. I promised them that if they came, I would make sure they got a true Texas topper on their head and some boots on their feet.