Polenta sounds like the Italian for boiling hot, 'bollente'. But this thick, scalding dish kept people alive in many regions of Italy during the winter.
When we visited the Monte Amiata region of Tuscany, we were told that a herring was often dipped into the cooked polenta to provide a touch of flavour. That's a good as it got.
Today, many shops and supermarkets sell pre-prepared polenta which can be simply heated up with hot water in seconds, and its not too bad at all. Nevertheless, the real thing needs hours of cooking over an open fire using an iron cauldron and a hefty wooden spoon. Or a simple mechanical device such as the one in our photo above taken in a restaurant near Cormons.
So, whether you are in Colorado, Canberra or Croydon try this: