In the past, the poorest segment of the population had to be satisfied with bread (the “grescia” or “micun”) or with “polenta”, served with various and mainly vegetarian dips made from onions, garlic and herbs: the “bagnet verd” with parsley; “bagna del Povr’om”, with broth, bread, vinegar, shallots and spring onion; “dj salsa avije” (bee), with chopped walnuts and mustard dissolved in honey and broth; “cugnà”, grape sauce made with cooked must long with nuts, fich, pears and hazelnuts. But the most famous of dips was (and still it is) the “bagna cauda”, much richer, the recipe has not changed over time: a dish of the festival, very friendly, which is accompanied with plenty of wine and tasty vegetables.
In the taverns of the markets and in the inns of mail, frequented by carters, horsemen, cattlemen and livestock merchants (less poor peasants), it was the ox meat and pork the protagonists of many dishes commonly served as: tripe, paws (“batciuà”), chickpeas with head, ox tail (now cooked with Barbera). Or cooked salami, with a delicate and soft dough made with poor scraps of pork and lard, or head box, made with tongues and pig snouts.
For the bricklayers, however, the main dishes were the stew and the “polenta” dish topped with bruss: a cream derived from the fermentation of advanced cheese.
Always in the taverns he was also born the famous Piedmontese soused, a very special way to make it better and keep some edible freshwater fish (such as carp, tench, eels), the tasty meat but very liscosa. The recipe for carp, which is to fry and put in vinegar and sage food, was so successful that it was also applied to eggs, zucchini and meatballs, garlic and mint.
Many of these recipes have survived and remain legacy of tradition. The appetizers are endless, hot and cold, cooked or uncooked, and include meats, fish, vegetables, cheese, processed separately or combined with imagination and wisdom: the salad of raw meat of the typical cattle breed “Piedmont” (finely chopped with a knife and seasoned with just olive oil, salt and lemon), anchovies in green, vitello tonnato, the Russian vegetable salad in mayonnaise, the flame burned peppers, the zucchini flowers stuffed, the many pies, to name a few .
Among the main courses and so-called unique dishes, certainly worth mentioning the agnolotti (both the traditional square, that ‘plin’), tajarin (fine noodles rich in eggs seasoned with various sauces), “risotto del Casale”, the paste and beans, “panada”, rice with mushrooms and the red wine, vegetable minestrone, “polenta” with fried cod or “loan”.
Among the latter, in addition to the oldest already mentioned, excel “fritto misto” (brain, sweetbreads, liver, veal chop, apple, “amaretto”, meal, sausage, mushrooms), boiled meat (with various cuts of Piedmontese beef including the head plus the hen), the pocket or stuffed top, the mangy omelette (with salami and herbs), that of frogs and that of lavertin (hop tops), as well as the stuffed turkey neck.