Sergio Rossi remembers..


Between pancakes and anarchist songs
Elbano Benassi
When I en-tered Elbano Benassi's re-staurant for the first time I was a Wteenager, bony, ungainly and a communist. At a stone's throw from that sparsely furnished room, the ovens of the last Portoferraio industrial resistance, Cementeria, continued to burn. Emerging from the kitchen room, the former ferajese left wing mayor greeted me and "introduced" me to his clientele: "This - he said with a hand on my shoulders - is ready for the revolution of the proletariat, not like you "relative comrade!" It was clear that he made fun of me as much as the socialist "Dodo", Domenico Paolo Amorosi to whom he addressed. Dodo laughed and I was very embarrassed. In that place where you ate rough but good and spent little, I came back many times, certainly fascinated by the chestnut flour fritters with ricotta and stuffed squid, but above all by the human fauna I met: him with his speech halfway between the popular and the polished, Vittorio, an anarchist painter with a black bow "alla Gori", Ermanno Scardigli, who greeted me pinching my cheek and shouted "What a cute child!" as if I were three years old. Occasionally it happened that the duo Elbano-Ermanno conceded at the end of the evening to playing the guitar, the first and singing, the second, in a repertoire of stunning popular music: anarchic songs and licentious winking nursery rhymes. On those occasions I started taking notes, then also recording. Subjecting that material to those who knew much more about me than ethnomusicology, receiving the confirmation, that place was also a treasure trove of popular culture, some of their "testimonies" were not known, never been recorded. And one day I convinced a real television crew, under the orders of Michele
Conforti (director at Rai, the National TV), to come and document everything.

Marcello d'Arco
La bettola del Sindaco
Aneddoti tratti da " Lo scoglio"
È quasi mezzanotte, si sta sparecchiando. Quando il locale è ormai vuoto entrano due coppie di fiorentini: "Signor Benassi, ci scusi è forse troppo tardi?.." lui sospira e dice: "Mettetevi a sedè, vi dovete accontentà". Nel cucinino ci sono rimaste quattro uova lesse, dieci acciughe e un pezzetto di salame piccante. Mette tutto nel frullatore ed ecco la pasta in tavola. "Complimenti signor Elbano, sono favolosi, come si chiamano?" E qui altro colpo di genio "Spaghetti alla Ho Chi Minh"

Penne in barca, pasticcio di pesce, spaghetti totano e funghi, alla murena, alle acciughe,
cavolo nero e acciughe, bordatino. Spaghetti alla sessuale. "Scusi, Elbano, cosa sono?" Chiedono con malizia le signore (indigene o foreste, popolane o di alto bordo che siano) e lui, sghignazzando sotto i baffi, risponde: "Una sorpresa, basta assaggiare".