A bowl of polenta
How Italians Added Flavor To Plain Polenta During World War II
The Italian version of porridge is polenta, which became a staple meal in Italy during World War II since it was cheap and easy to store. Having to eat polenta so often got boring.
Polenta has a subtle sweet taste and a natural corn flavor, but it's plain overall. To infuse more flavor, Italians would rub their bites of polenta against a dried herring.
This way of eating polenta is called "pica sö," which refers to the rubbing action. This method gave the illusion of a salty seafood taste without using the fish meat.