I remember, when we were children, this was the saddest moment of all dinners or lunches.
We could not understand why this tray of veggies was brought to the table after the primo and before the secondo. ( Usually in Italy "primi" are pasta or risotti and secondi are meat or fish dishes)
All the veggies were presented nicely but with oil and vinegar on the side, a kind of dip.
But what was the meaning of this plate called pinzimonio?
Adults would say to clean your mouth and make it ready to welcome a different dish.
This can be true but the reality was that they all need a break from eating and an excuse to get up and smoke a cigarette outside. Other people would collect the dirty plates and cutlery and bring new ones. All worked like an efficient factory while we were left at the table with this plate of veggies in front of us.
Definitely, celery and radish were not missing, as some cherry tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, or chicory.
All things that you start appreciating when you become an adult and these dinners become a good chance to catch up with relatives that you don't see in months or just to have a chat with a festive spirit. Anyway, I picked something from that plate as well- never a fussy child and always with my mum's voice in mind: do not leave anything on the plate, do not waste food. Oh yes mum, happy to obey!
Ingredients to make a perfect Pinzimonio
Carrots- cut them in sticks
Celery- cut it in sticks
Extra virgin olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. You can put them together in a bowl or serve them in two different ones.