Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sardinia Journal IV: Shepherding

Photograph of Sardinian Ricotta Dessert by Hallie Cohen

If you want to meet a shepherd who also likes Edward Hopper because of his light, you will have to journey to Sardinia. At one point the Mediterranean was a smaller, though not less turbulent world, and the tradition of shepherding comes from ancient Palestine, amongst other places. The Adoration of the Shepherds of course derives from the Nativity. Talking about art and shepherding Giotto was a shepherd. Shepherds not only herd goats and sheep, but some like Salvatore Porcu, the shepherd from Bosa with the interest in Hopper, turn their spiritual leanings into the art of making cheese. For instance Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk. The process of making such cheeses is an ancient skill.  Ricotta means twice cooked. Antonio Gramsci the Marxist philosopher who was born on Sardinia would probably have admired shepherd’s work since it’s one in which the worker experiences little of the alienation that results from division of labor and economy of scale, two principal tenets of capitalism that Marx indicted in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of l844. Come to Sardinia if you want a brief respite from the industrial revolution and the world of processed cheese.

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