This is one of those posts that Google will hate. You know it, because it will be short and sweet. Google has taken a stand on shortness, it’s not good. To be serious you need length. Some day, this page will be so far down in google ranking that I will sit with my head in my hands for hours.
In any case, I’ve spent the last few days thinking of hands and fingers. Finger fatness. And yes, even finger length. It all started with sculptor Pinuccio Sciola, the Man Who Makes Rocks Sing, who, when I met him 4 years ago, had taken to sculpting (roughtly) the kind of (rough) hands you see on Sardinian shepherds. Big, sausage-fingered, old baseball mitt hands. He pulled one out of the pile and showed me, then began to chuckle. The hands he created amused him. He compared them to his own. He chuckled even harder at the thought.
So, here is Pinuccio and one of his hands.
Recently, we were on a trip to discover how to help the shepherds of Puglia. Puglian shepherds seemed to have the same hands. Maybe the clan came from Sardinia. Lots of shepherds did find their way to the mainland. It’s a fair bet that the folks making your Tuscan formaggio pecorino came from Sardinia.
Here is a matched pair of Pulia’s finest shepherd hands:
What got me thinking about this the apparent correlation between hands and the kind of work one does came about after watching chef Francesco Ferretti. His hands are like many chefs hands I’ve watched with fascination as they’ve crafted raw ingredients into food and even art sometimes. They are not shepherd’s hands. They are something else.
Here is Francesco cutting the dough to make pici, an eggless pasta associated with bread-crumb based sauces, real cucina povera stuff.
So I look at my short stubby fingers. They tend very much toward those of shepherds. There’s not a hint of the chef’s artistically curled digits with their associated deftness.
I better find some sheep. Soon. Serious sheep. They will be long in body and seriously strong in mind. I shall Google them.