La Casa del Cazu Marzu

Joseph Geagan and Jessi Reaves
September 19 - October 19, 2014
Opening reception: Friday, September 19, 6-8 pm

New York - 138 Eldridge Street



3 June 19__

Liscia di Vacca, Sardegna

At dawn, I woke with a start. For a brief moment I had no recollection of where on earth I was. As I gripped to the edge of a strange little bed and looked around at the monastic room I found myself in, pieces began to come back to me. I’d hitched a ride on Freddy and Sylvia’s boat the night before to Sardegna, “the Beach of Cows” as it translated from the local dialect, and I’d had one too many glasses of grappa on the ride. I’d let a small casa near the bay, and was planning on spending the ensuing week bathing in the sun and in Sardegna’s famously soft salty water.

After I’d beaten my morning stupor with a bit of espresso found in the cupboard, I stepped out onto my little porch. I could see the glimmering of the bay through the bramble patches that bordered the small dirt path leading down to the little beach. Two older women were making their way up the path towards me. To my astonishment I saw they were both wearing high heels. As they came near I yodeled out a friendly “Buongiorno!” They stopped dead in their path, gave each other a knowing and prolonged look, and then to me the one in the sparkling stilettos returned “Buongiorno Signore!” One of the women, clearly sisters, came up to the edge of my porch, looked me dead in the eye and said with a charming Italian accent, “You must come for lunch, handsome young men are a very rare these days,” the “r” in rare rolling off her tongue. She told me they lived just a kilometer up the trail and that there would be a little gate with a sign reading “La Casa del Casu Marzu.”

I arrived at La Casa del Casu Marzu just past noon, my stomach rumbling with anticipation. At the door of the house stood the two aging sisters and, not having done so earlier, we introduced ourselves. The ladies, Simonetta and Anna Cristina Lagrima told me they’d lived in this house most of their lives. Upon entering the Casa, my breath was taken away as every surface, wall and floor was covered in objets d’art: paintings, drawings, sculpture, furniture and bibelots of every sort. As I sat and sipped my wine the sisters regaled me with the stories of their travels and adventures they’d accumulated while acquiring these works that filled their lives. My eye drifted from piece to piece, the swirl of colors and forms seemed to melt and mold together. My stomach started up suddenly with a giant rumble, which sent Simonetta immediately off into another room, returning with a giant round of cheese and some bread. “This,” she whispered in my ear as she set it on the table, “is a specialità of the region.” I noticed small white forms jumping off the oozing yellow mass, and my eyes met Anna Cristina’s with alarm, which sent them both into a fit of laughter. “It’s Casu marzu, the flies are what make it divine.”