I had been living in Italy for a while, and on one occasion, during a trip to Sicily, I saw a dish on the menu that I’d been meaning to try. There it was — cavallo — Italian for horse. I placed the order, opened my palette with a caprese salad, and awaited this taboo of a culinary tradition. Between the men eyeing us rather than their women, and the legitimate gun-toting mafioso at my right, the entire dining experience was really something of an Italian farce. Once ready, the dish was placed before me: a la carte and overcooked by the looks of it. I had it in the form of a steak. It was gamey but delicious — not something life-changing, but well worth the bribing rights.

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