Monday, March 3, 2014


This blog is about language and culture and, as everyone knows, when it comes to the Italian culture, food is of the essence. I can only imagine how many times I will want to write about food here… I have only been here two days and already need to do it some justice.

Wandering the city in search of "il centro", I continuously walk down adorable, narrow streets and look into the windows of unique shops I fear I will never be able to find again. Yesterday I stopped in one of these places to buy some fresh pasta: spinach and cheese ravioli, gnocchi, and some jarred "sugo pomodoro e basilico" from Sicily. On a language-related note, I found it charming that yesterday's standard leave-taking expression was, "buona domenica" (happy Sunday).

My Sunday lunch, before cooking. It didn't last long enough for an after picture. 
The ravioli were as delicious as they looked. I have to admit, however, that I ruined the gnocchi. :( On the walk home, they got completely squished together. I pulled them apart as best I could and put them in the freezer, hoping to restore their sense of independence. Nope… tonight, when I tried to make them for dinner, they had mostly stuck to the paper. The ones I did salvage came out tasting gooey and raw, even though I experimented with cooking times. Sorry, gnocchi! For now, I will stick with (no pun intended) the heartier varieties of homemade pasta. They are much easier to cook!

The food highlight of today was a fabulous salad I made at home. Since I had failed twice to find the center of town, I walked again this afternoon and finally made it, albeit in a very long and winding way. At a veggie market in Piazza della frutta, I bought what turned out to be some very zingy arugula, some other, very fresh, mixed salad greens, cherry tomatoes on the vine that actually tasted like tomatoes, and a sweet and juicy yellow bell pepper (which, I learned, is called a 'peperone'). Such is the inconsistency of my Italian language abilities: I can explain my research project on bilingual writing, but cannot ask for a handful of lettuce. Mamma mia!

In another quick stop at a local supermarket, I bought inexpensive olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Both turned out to be quite good. I can't wait to chop up the carrots I have been craving. This is probably not exactly the food blog you were expecting, eh? What about dessert?!?

Well, I could mention that today on my walk around town I also ate the best. gelato. ever. Now I know how I am going to get fat in Italy. Actually, I selected two very healthy flavors: pear + yogurt, in a "coppetta piccola" (I should also note that I look up every Italian word I write to be sure it is correct, and so far I have misspelled most -darn double consonants!). The gelato was seriously amazing. I wish I could explain how the server scooped it out and swirled both flavors into a beautiful work of art. Next time, photo! With all this good food around, it's a good thing I am always lost. Gotta keep on walking!  

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