Our guys from southern Italy, the ‘Ndrangheta Mafia, are starting over. This time, I got arrested for trafficking hundreds of dormice.

BBC – Police raiding a cannabis farm in southern Italy seized a supply of 235 frozen dormouse – believed to be a Mafia delicacy.

After discovering more than 700 cannabis plants, police searched the outbuildings and found dormice cages and freezers full of carcasses.

Three people at the site were arrested.

Wildlife groups say baked dormice are served to honor high-ranking gangsters at banquets hosted by the powerful Calabrian mafia clan ‘Ndrangheta.

Poachers illegally trap the largely nocturnal protected species in the woods of the Aspromonte hills and sell them to mobsters and restaurants, according to the Italian wildlife organization Lipu.

Police said the dormice were discovered on Saturday after a search of the Reggio Calabria farmhouse was extended to the ruins and other nearby properties.

The bosses of the ‘Ndrangheta – godfathers and chieftains alike – are said to make their most important decisions in front of a plate of dormice, Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera reported.

I came across this story and didn’t think about it at first. Then later that day Coley sent it to me and at first I was like “thank you boss. You’re right, people eat real Italian mafia stuff” (no pun intended but intentional) but I started to think, man, him and most normal people must think Italians are crazy.

I mean, look at these little guys!

Fabrice Moglia. Getty Images.

Who on Earth would look at these cute, tiny little creatures and think “I want to eat this”?

First of all, the Romans. Who is it.

Source – THE ANCIENT ROMANS Ate strange foods, ranging from the belly of the sow to dormice, known as glires in Latin. The astute Italians prepared their mouth rodents by sticking them in a special container called a glirarium or vivarium in doliis (habitats of animals enclosed in jars); it was designed to be a temporary home – an Airbnb rodent – where the animal could burrow.

The dormouse has become a food for the upper classes.

To fatten dormice, “in such a jar, we place acorns, walnuts or chestnuts; and when a lid is placed on the jars, they grow fat in the dark. It made sense, since all the dormice could really do in this tight habitat was eat, run around, and sleep.

Once the dormice were deemed chubby enough, they were killed and prepared for banquets.

A number of ancient Roman recipes and descriptors of dormice dishes still survive. In a famous banquet scene, the Satyricon, one of the earliest novels of ancient Rome, hosted by the nouveau riche Trimalchio, “dormice seasoned with honey and poppy seeds” were served as an appetizer.

And now, due to a crazy feeling of having to keep the tradition alive, the guys from the ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful mafia in Italy, and the world now, in Calabria are still doing like the Romans.

You may remember the ‘Ndrangheta Mafia in January, when one of the biggest crackdowns of all time was carried out to thwart their business.

The job of finding, raising, fattening, killing, and then preparing these tiny little dormice, which hardly raise any meat, defeats the purpose here, right?

And we’re not talking about something that tastes like truffles, either.

Full disclosure, I’ve already had dormice. I didn’t realize it until after, but I was at a real fat ball wedding and they were clearly trying too hard, so they served dormice for appetizers. They were stuffed with pork, pine nuts and fennel and tasted like rabbit. Nothing in particular. When I found out they were mice, I wanted to throw up.

Gangsters in Italy see them not just as a delicacy, but as a way of doing things the way they have done for millennia.

The creatures are protected by law, but poachers stalk the tiny mice in the Aspromonte hills to sell them to gangsters and restaurants. Like horse meat in Connecticut (another really fucked up thing Italians eat), you can ask around if you know people and get them at some restaurants if they have any in stock, and trust yourself.

While mafia films may portray shady deals made over whiskey and cigars, its dormice serving as a traditional meal at the base of the criminal underworld culture. Eating them is a sign of respect for the organization, according to The Republic.

“Investigations have shown that they are common at ‘Ndrangheta banquets and are put on the table when agreements need to be made or peace pacts between clans are to be made,” Ciro Troiano, a expert from the Italian animal welfare society Lav.

They currently have 300 of this mafia’s key members on trial, as well as politicians and businessmen from across Europe, but the ‘Ndrangheta continues to hang around. Something tells me that the polizia should be less concerned with mice and more concerned with finding and rounding up hit men like “The People Slayer”.

ps – here is a recipe if you want to try

pps – these two blogs cover pretty much everything that has been known about this lawsuit so far. I’m still waiting for more news to come out but the Italian press only cares about football and supermodels. So it was difficult to keep an eye. I actually recorded a podcast with the one and only Jeff Nadu for his crowd podcast over the summer. We talked for about an hour and he asked me all about Calabria, and how things are there, how powerful the ‘ndrangheta really is and a whole bunch of other things. It was actually a great time and I thought it would be really informative and interesting to listen to. One week turned into three. Which turned into two months to tell me he would post it when they had room for such a long interview on an upcoming episode. Finally, about two weeks ago, I reached out to him and said, “Hey, I guess our interview wasn’t taped and that’s why you never published it?” To which he replied, “Yeah, I told you that awhile ago, didn’t I? Let’s re-record it.” MDR. I must love Big Man on campus. I can’t wait for it and fight against Jerry at rough and rowdy December 10 –

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