“In the cuisine of modern Rome quinto quarto (literally the “fifth quarter”) is the offal of butchered animals. The name makes sense on more than one level: because offal amounts to about a fourth of the weight of the carcass; because the importance of offal in Roman cooking is at least as great as any of the outer quarters, fore and hind; and because in the past slaughterhouse workers were partly paid in kind with a share of the offal.

Until modern time the division of the cattle in Rome was made following this simple scheme: the first “quarto” was dedicated to be sold to the Nobles, the second one was for the clergy, the third one for the Bourgeoisie and eventually the fourth “quarto” was for the soldiers. The proletariat could afford only the entrails.”

– Quinto quarto – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Well, whaddya know.  Just the other day, I was discussing adventurous dining and my fruitless attempts to acquire duck hearts for a dish I was looking to prepare (September 22, 2012: Heart of Duckness).  Five days later, I’m sitting down to one of my most unique meals of 2012. Last night, Campagnolo Roma hosted their annual Quinto Quarto dinner with Chefs Ted Anders and Nathan Lowey serving up a Roman style feast highlighting “the odd bits”.     The menu…

The dinner was served “family style”, so Akemi and I ended up sharing a table with three other diners, some friendly fellow foodies (two of who happened to be big Stargate fans).  The meal started with the antipasto:

Arancine al sugo (risotto balls stuffed with fifth quarter sugo) and  stioghiola alla griglia (charred intestines).

Akemi quite enjoyed the former (Of course.  She’s Japanese!).  The charred intestines I thought lacked the headlined charring and were possessed of an underlying gaminess that I, well, didn’t love.

Vasteddo piccolo (spleen sliders).

Similar in flavor to liver but, I found, far less intense.  Also, somewhat chewier, but served slider-style, these small bites were utterly delicious.  I ended up eating four in all.

Rounding out the antipasti was some very good sfincione con nduja (sicilian flatbread seasoned with soft liver sausage).  Akemi and I were never actually served this dish but our table mates had been given a plate and they were more than happy to sure (Ah, the perils of family-style dining). 

spaghetti con le cuore de salmone
nass river salmon hearts, garlic confit, saffron

Now THIS dish was the highlight of the night.  The pasta was a perfectly prepared al dente, the accompanying sugo sweet and smokey from the shaved salmon hearts.

A whole salmon heart we brought back home as a keepsake – and, later that night, dog snack.
polpette quinto quarto
pork meatballs with everything, lemon zest, mint

The “everything” included heart, liver, and kidney.  If you had served up these meatballs to someone like, say, my unadventurous buddy Carl, and not told them what they were eating, they would probably declare them the best meatballs they’d ever eaten.  And they were: incredibly moist and utterly delicious.

il caponata bianca
vinegared celery, eggplant, pine nuts

I’ve never been a big fan of anything marinated but thought this was a nice change of pace for the meal.  Akemi particularly enjoyed the pickled celery.

pomodoro misto e orecchio fritto
milan’s tomatoes, crispy pig’s ear, basil

Also a nice little detour.  The crispy pig’s ears offered a nice, crispy textural contrast.  That being said, I still prefer them sliced thicker and served with salsa verde like Refuel used to do back in the day (and I believe Fat Dragon still may do).

cassata siciliana
marzipan, ricotta & pig’s brain cream, marsala

Yes, the inclusion of pig brain gave me pause as well.  I’m not a huge fan of brain (I’m not a fan of its metallic aftertaste), but it was inoffensive here.  So inoffensive, in fact, that it felt a little unnecessary but for the simple fact that it maintained the dining theme and, hey, diners could tell their friend that they’d had a pig brain dessert – and liked it.  Which I did.

Dining opportunities like this one are a rarity and, while I’m sure that’s a-okay for many more conservative diners, I, for one, would like to see more of these daring dining events.

A huge thanks for a job well done to Ted, Nathan, and the gang at Campagnolo Roma.

This morning, Paul swung by and we worked through the day -stopping only for tacos – to finally finish that outline.  Well, more or less.  More in terms of structure and less in terms of detail, but I’m sure all the minutiae will work itself out in the next couple days when I get it all down on (virtual) paper.  It’s a pilot for a fantasy series and, while I have high hopes it will go to series, I’m being realistic as well.  In this business, everything is a longshot.  It and the potential Dark Matter series are purely speculative at this point and, even if they do come to fruition, production wouldn’t get underway until well into 2013.  This is why I’m not giving up my day job (a.k.a. focusing on winning the lottery).

Paul gives the outline a thumbs up.

Continuing our trip down Stargate Atlantis memory lane…


According to the trailer that the network ran for this episode: “You won’t believe the last five minutes”.  These words were uttered as viewers were shown the deceased but very much alive-looking Carson Beckett looking up as someone says: “Carson!”.  My question was: “Why won’t they believe the last five minutes.  You’ve already ruined it for them.”  It was reminiscent of the network trailer for SG-1’s The Curse that showed Osiris, eyes glowing, blasting members of the team – effectively ruining our end of episode reveal.  Which was, in turn, reminiscent of the TV Guide blurb for SG-1’s Solitudes: “Jack and Sam are stranded in the Antarctic”, an episode in which Jack and Sam believe they’ve been stranded off-world until they discover they’re actually been on Earth all along.  In the Antarctic!  Surprised?  No?

At the SGA season 3 wrap party, I informed a glum Paul McGillion that I had a great idea to bring Carson back.  It involved cloning, Michael, and a shocking and unexpected appearance by the beloved Scot.  Well, in the end, cloning and Michael anyway.

The placeholder title for this episode was “Rise of the Googlions”.  Why? Because that’s the title fellow Executive Producer/writer Carl Binder suggested and it stuck.  From a former blog entry: “Oh, dear. This is what happens when you hang on to a gag title a little too long. Sooner or later, it makes it onto the schedule, the Art Department starts using it in their design updates, and producer John N. Smith can be heard uttering the words: ‘We should check out that location. We might be up there for Googlions.’ For all of you who have been racking your brains trying to come up with the hidden meaning behind the ‘Rise of the Googlions’ title, allow me to reveal it for you. … ‘Rise of the Googlions’ was nothing more than an inane title Carl came up with off the top of his head. To all those who wasted any amount of time searching the Internet for clues about the googlions, blame Mr. Binder who unwittingly sent you all out on a wild goose chase.”

28 thoughts on “September 27, 2012: Quinto Quarto dinner! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! Kindred I!

  1. Those foodstuffs definitely look… challenging. I would probably at least try most of it, except perhaps the brain – the “thought” of which isn’t entirely appetizing.

    Paul’s bike looks great! That is one nice cruiser.

    Luckily, being in Canada I didn’t have to endure a certain US network’s promos for any of SG. As you know, here Atlantis was on The Movie Network which was commercial free and if I recall had pretty generic promos. So fortunately all the intended surprises actually were. And Space Channel’s promos were always seemed to be very respectful of the viewers and of the intentions of the shows’ drama.

  2. There are some things everyone should try at least once in their lives. From the looks of it, you are taking on about 200 people’s share of one of them, sampling exotic food. Did I say 200? Definitely much higher, and you hopefully have another 30 or 50 years to rack up a higher score. Thanks for the lovely pics. Wouldn’t have minded trying some of them myself, though not all sounded appetizing.
    Yea, the Siffy network definitely goofed. still, it was good to get our Scotsman back, even as a clone. And lots of action. But now someone somewhere has to come up with a story explaining googlions. It’s just too good a word to not be used.

  3. ok, its official, I am in the unadventurous category, spleen and brain are not in my recipe book, but I do enjoy reading your reviews.
    ~ I loved Solitudes and was not happy when they leaked the ending, same as with Carson, and so glad you all found a way to bring him back for a little while.
    Good luck with the writing, hope all the food helped the process..

  4. I’ve always thought that all the StarGate sets, props, costumes, makeup, CGI, acting, writing and well… everything…, were really awesome. 🙂

  5. I can’t bring up the courage to even try eating fish eyes, not to mention heart, etc. Liver, I can manage in small portions, but kidney and brains… no thanks. Pig’s ear might be worth a try some day though.

    I wish the little descriptive blurbs/ trailers wouldn’t be such story spoilers, but hey, when you won’t get the chance to see the episode, you can find out all about the story from the blurb/ trailer. It’s a win if you want the condensed version.

    Nice to know about the googlions. Imagine McKay, Carter or one of the other fast talking characters saying a tongue twister that involved the word in it. That would be worth hearing. I can’t think of a tongue twister involving the word yet. I think I might need a dictionary to find enough words starting with the letter ‘g’ first. Maybe someone else can come up with one?

  6. Just wondering, Joe, have you ever actually offered something weird to Carl and not told him what it was until later?

    Speaking of Carl, Martin Gero offered on Twitter that Carl is doing some writing for his show, The L.A Complex. Glad to hear that you guys are keeping our favorite German busy.


  7. Joseph Mallozzi’s Weblog: Fun and educational!

    I’d give any food presented to me a try. While I might not home in on the offal choices on a menu, if I don’t have any choice I’ll eat what is given to me. I agree about the brains, though. The metallic taste is very off-putting.

    Thankfully(!?) I’ve invariably lived in countries with either no Stargate broadcasts or many months, sometimes years, delayed broadcasts so by the time the network has a chance to spoil the episode for me I’ll have already seen it by “alternative” means.

  8. Stargate Mailbag Question:

    Hey, Joe!

    I was wondering, if SGU had continued do you think the crew of the Destiny would have ever come across any Asgard? And if so, would it have been the cloned version of Asgard or the taller pre-clone original Asgard species?

  9. @ Patricia Stewart-Bertrand

    “Joe, have you ever actually offered something weird to Carl and not told him what it was until later?”

    Yes, Joe offered Carl a writing job on the Transporter series ..does that count?

  10. There’s a reason offal sounds a lot like awful. Not a fan of “parts”.

    I’m from an Appalachian town, so yes, I have been forced to sample some offal in the past. Granted, like Carl, if I didn’t know something was in a dish, I might eat and enjoy it. However, it’s fun to vicariously experience your extreme dining adventures, Joe.

    Or is it training for The Amazing Race?

    Yes, I haven’t commented in a while, but I do read the entries every day. Fall is the busiest time of year for our family. Football season = band season. Plus, much as I hate to admit it, my older one is a Senior this year.

    Always great to see updates on the doggies. Very sad to hear of Anne Teldy’s passing.

    Wish you and Paul much success on your projects.

  11. I would probably try everything on the menu, except for the intestines (they looked unappetizing and too much like worms), as well as the pig’s brain. I’ve had cow’s brain before, and agree with you about the metallic aftertaste. I don’t think I’ll ever try animal brains again…. just to avoid degenerative neurologic disorders like Creutzfeld-Jakob and the like.

  12. I have no desire to eat any kind of brain, liver, or kidney. Feel free to take my share. I’m glad you both had a good time.

    Kindred: Although the show was well written, I didn’t care for the whole “Michael and the baby” storyline. There was just something too sinister about the whole thing. I can’t stand watching animals or children be hurt. Michael was definitely going to do something terrible to the baby. I was glad when the storyline was finished but I always enjoy seeing Connor Trinneer and Christopher Heyerdahl. Was Michael’s wraith makeup scaled back? He seemed to get more “human” looking.

    Mr. Paul looks sexy on that bike!

  13. I think there will be a lot more offerings of offal food (pun intended) after Chris Consentino’s Top Chef Masters win. ; )

  14. Oh my…I am so NOT a foodie! Maybe the years of raising children and cooking got a family made my taste set more in a middle range of food adventures. I had snails in New Orleans and clams with bellies on Martha’s Vineyard…but I have only gone as far as eating a cow’s tongue at college when it comes to parts…ewwwwww

    I believe reading your blog has been adventure enough for me. 😜

  15. I love calf liver but that is it on the gross body parts menu.

    I could not believe how SyFy ruined the big surprise. I remember my mouth just dropped open when I heard that on the previews. Knuckleheads! What were they thinking? Did Rachel’s pregnancy lead to the Michael-wants-the-baby story, or did you plan on something like that all along? Teyla’s dreams were interesting.

  16. G’day Joe

    I might some of those, the meatballs sound ok. Do not want the intestines though.

    Vicky, my daughter with the two broken arms, had a check up yesterday at the hospital and looks good so far. Doctor was happy. Back next week for another visit.
    She is going to the toilet by herself, which is very good and feeding herself. Back to school on Monday for her for half days anyway as arms get sore.

    For those interested on how she did it. Vicky was on a sleep over and they went to the park by themselves. Vicky was swinging on a rope swing with a stick through the rope and it is on a slope and Vicky let go, accidentally and fell onto her front. She tried to break her fall using her arms tucked under her chest. So she broke her fall alright, by breaking her arms. Kids gotta love em. They had to walk back to the friends house and her Mother drove Vicky to the hospital.

  17. I`ve always found that there was an unresolved tension/connection Michael and Teyla. I don’t think that it would have been too hard to bring those two together at all. I wish that there would have been more of Connor Trinneer. That said, there was one episode that Ronan gave Teyla such a loving look – don’t know whether that was by accident or design, but there you go, another couple. I saw that same tension between Sheppard and Weir… I don’t think that it would have been hard to make any of the mentioned character combinations couples.

    I miss that show, as well as SG1 and Universe. There definitely is a huge hole in space-centred shows, including Star Trek. Bring-em all back, I say.

  18. Joe watch marketplace at 8 on CBC. It’s about dog food from china again. Awful!

  19. “P.S. That dinner looks offal.” That made me laugh.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your meal. My biggest adventures into strange foods were calamari and caviar, not together, separate occasions.

  20. Joe, some of the things mentioned above I could really enjoy. Having lived in the rural part of a lesser developed country, I can say for certain they don’t let any thing go to waste. Crispy Pork ear is a common ingredient in may Thai dishes. The provence I lived in is famous for its brand of BBQ pork and a form of round cake. I would say that Isaan cooking might have more of the lesser bits in the dishes I think due in part to its historical poverty. While eating a bowl of soup my good friend chastise me for picking out the chicken guts, as I was not fond of them, not that I could not eat them. They do not have much flavor.

    Kindred was a interesting episode. I belief it was the only one directed by Peter Woerst for SGA. I enjoyed his commentaries as I have learned much from his knowledge as DoP. I have improved my own understanding of photography and helped improve my picture taking. I really like the opening dream sequences. The bed was reminiscent of the Seer, and the background lighting was fantastic. Being all natural “timing is everything.” Oh one non sequitur, you were talking about the eating habits of some of the actors. Could you elaborate? Who would NOT or would attempt to taste the above samplings?

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