Cacciatore Etymology and Vegetarians

I’m the type of person who’s bemused at vegetarians more than anything else. “To each their own” is the mantra I try to live by, even if “their own” means looking down at others who don’t ascribe to their philosophical beliefs about food.

But sometimes…sometimes they make me laugh out loud.

Take the simple idea of “cacciatore”. Most of us have a basic idea of what cacciatore means in the culinary sense. A meat of some sort, braised in a tomato sauce, mixed with variations of mushrooms, onions, various herbs and wine.

The word itself is a different matter. “Cacciatore” translates into “hunter”, meaning that when a dish is served cacciatore, it’s served in the “Hunters style”. Pollo Cacciatore (sometimes seen as pollo alla cacciatore) translates rougly to Hunters style Chicken. Coniglio Cacciatore means approximately “Hunters style rabbit”. You get the picture.

Presumably, the dish was served to game hunters in Italy, on those cold, brisk autumn days. After a day of being in the damp forest, shooting at local pheasants, boars, or other wild game, the hunters would sit down to a meal that would warm them up.

Which leads me to the following discoveries on the web…ladies and gentleman, I give to you…Tofu Cacciatore.

Hunters style tofu?? My mind reels at the incongruity. I’m sure that after a day of hunting in the forests of Umbria or Lombardy, many an Italian hunter, chilled from the damp November air, longed for a plate full of…bean curd.


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