His naked skin basking in the sunlight, his lithe body bent in a crouch, muscles rippling, jeans hanging just so revealing … We didn’t know his name. We thought of him as Fabio.

(Screeching sound of sudden stop).

Oh! Not that kind of delicious fantasy.

We’re talking food here — more specifically what can happen on an English language menu in foreign lands. I have oft wondered if I could make a living (albeit a very small one) fixing another country’s menus. Whether it be Eggplant Milk in Istanbul (it turned out to be some sort of creamed eggplant) or Pasta with Meet Sauce in Rome.

Which brings us to those delicious fantasies. In Sicily — during my first visit to that country — we ordered an item called “Fantasie di Carciofi“. Carciofi are artichokes. Honestly, I’m not sure why the restaurant gave this particular name to the dish. In context, it likely has meaning to the locals. However, put that phrase through babel.com and you get the appetizer called “Fantasy of Artichokes.” It was, indeed, fantastic. Artichokes three ways: marinated, breaded and sautéed, battered and deep fried.

The “Deliziosi dei Affumicati Pesci con Arancia” became “Delicious of Smoked Fish with Orange.” Yes, it was delicious.

So, too, was that hunk on the roof in the Sicilian village of Cefalù!

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We’re not talking Hansel & Gretel here — I mean real, true breadcrumbs. They are used unexpected ways in so many dishes in Sicilia. Well, at least in the parts of Sicily I’ve visited (admittedly few).

Loving this country! Leaving Roma, a city in which I feel comfortable, and know how and what to order. In Sicilia, it is all new customs, food, and certainly all new types of people.

If you are looking for something Siciliano-style, expect to find anchovies, pistachios, raisins, olives, capers, and, oh those breadcrumbs.

I have had crumbs dusting perfectly grilled cubes of swordfish, coating vegetables and sprinkled on pasta.

I am rushing out to meet my travel companions for the Villa Casale, but here is what we had for dinner. The waiters at Il Duomo in Taormina were kind enough to let us split the dishes up among ourselves.

Sarde a Beccafico — Sicilian style stuffed sardines. The most delicate piece of that homely fish, stuffed with I am not sure what, served with a few jagged squares of roasted potatoes and a little slice or two of roasted red peppers.

Verdure Selvatiche con Crostini di Pane — Sicilian Wild vegetables with croutons. Wild is right. It was the ugliest twist of some deep dark, stalky green with fronds I’ve seen. Scattered with chunks of delicious chewy croutons drenched in fruity olive oil. I *think* the green was wild fennel because it was licoricy and had those fronds. It was sheer ambrosia of the veggie persuasion. You just know they really did forage those greens.

Pasta e Mollica — Pasta with anchovies, olives, capers and those ubiquitous breadcrumbs. Yum. Me.

Oh, by the way, this general comment: if you think you’ve eaten caponata — think again!!!

The mosaics await, gotta run.

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Here I find myself (as in Istanbul) surrounded by new experiences that make me utter “I’ve never blanked anything like this in my life!”

Sicily: a feast for all the senses. I’ve just arrived and am still processing what is and will be in this exotic Italian, but not really Italian, country.

When I left Rome this morning, I was talking with the woman who owns the apartment in Monti where I rent “my” room. We were commiserating about the heavy thunderstorm that had drenched la bella città that morning. “Brutissimo!”‘ we agreed. “Will it rain like this in Sicily?” I asked.

“It’s Africa!” said she. As if no more need be said.

I am in the land of pistachios, mint and dried grapes.

I cannot wait.