Tuesday, August 16, 2011

He that byteth his nose off, shameth his face

"Don't cut off your nose to spite your face" is a warning not to pursue revenge in such a way as to damage yourself more than the object of your anger.

My husband will be the first to admit the he will knowingly and willfully cut off his nose to spite his face. 

Hmmmm . . . I wonder where this phrase came from . . .

There is some indication, however unverified, that this phrase originated in the 9th century with the legend of nuns disfiguring themselves in order to protect their virginity.   In the late 9th century, Viking pirates invaded Scotland.  Their reputation of raping and pillaging preceded them.  As the raiders neared the monastery of Coldingham, the Mother Superior gathered her nuns together and encouraged them to mutilate their features, so that the Vikings would leave them unmolested.  Leading by example, she cut off her nose and upper lip and the others followed suit.  The Viking raiders were so disgusted that they burned the entire building to the ground.

Several hundred years later in history . . . Henry IV, king of England and France, wanted to burn Paris because of France’s general low opinion of him and objection to his rule.  Supposedly a subject of the royal court, in an attempt to deter him from destroying the city, told him to do that would be to “cut off his nose to spite his face”.   It’s interesting to note that when the English kings lost France they were exiled to a bunch of dreary, damp islands off the coast of Europe.

However, the phrase seems to have taken on a more literal translation involving the plastic surgery of certain unnamed, though pictorialized,  celebrities.


Sausage, Peppers and Onions

  • 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Pound Italian Sausage
  • 2 Bell Peppers, Sliced
  • 2 Yellow Onions, Sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Cooking Sherry
  • 1 (15-Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes
  • Provolone Cheese
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, Optional
  • 4 To 6 Fresh Italian Sandwich Rolls, Optional

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.

Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the sherry, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.

Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Serve in bowls. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise. Hollow out the bread from the bottom side of each roll, being careful not to puncture the crust. Fill the bottom half of the roll with sausage mixture. Top with cheese and serve sandwiches immediately.

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