No, I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about food.
Think about it, and be honest with yourself. When you arrive at a party, one of the first things on your to-do list is to locate the food table. Are there chips, maybe some salsa and queso? How about birthday cake? And don’t underestimate the popularity of the veggie tray (although I feel like every time I see one of those, everything is gone except for the cauliflower. What do people have against cauliflower??).
So let’s talk about food. Specifically, Italian food. Because it’s the most magical stuff on earth.
The first time I eat a home-cooked meal in Italy, I sit at the table and a heaping pile of pasta is placed before me. I drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the noodles (olive oil goes on pretty much everything here), followed by freshly grated parmesan cheese. I bring a spoonful up to my lips and breathe in before taking a bite.
Ahh. So this is what perfection tastes like.
As soon as the pasta has vanished from my plate, Arianna takes my dish from me and asks if I’m ready for the carne, or meat. Oh. I guess they do courses here. Note to self: don’t fill up on the pasta.
Here are a few examples of the food I’ve come across so far on my trip. For a slideshow with descriptions, click on one of the pictures. Buon appetito.
Torta del compleanno. Bianca’s birthday cake. It has layers of wafers, cream, and chocolate. I’m never buying traditional birthday cake again.
Torta ananas e mantovana. Pineapple cake and tea cake.
Uova strapazzate. Scrambled eggs. This one made me smile.
Zucchine al forno. Baked zucchini.
Zuppa di calamari. Calamari soup.
Tiramisù, a popular Italian dessert with biscotti, creme, and coffee.
Spigola all’acqua pazza. Fish (all’acqua pazza actually translates to “crazy water”).
Rana pescatrice arrosto con patate e olive. Baked fish with potatoes and olives. After eating this one, I came home and told my fiance that my dinner was 3-dimensional. I know, not the brightest thing I’ve ever said. But seriously! Those arms were trying to grab my fork the whole time!
La porchetta. The pork for Bianca’s birthday. The meat is kept int he pork rind. WARNING: this photo may not be appropriate for vegetarians.
Panna cotta ai mirtilli. Panna cotta with blueberries.
Panna cotta con fragole. Panna cotta with strawberries.
Pollo grigliato con pane e insalata mista. Grilled chicken with bread and tossed salad (the salad has mozzarella in it).
Pasta con zucchine. Pasta with zucchini. And, of course, parmesan.
Pomodorini al forno. Stuffed cherry tomatoes that are baked in the oven.
I dolci. The dessert plate for Bianca’s party (but the cake came later).
Insalata di tonno con carciofi, olive, e pomodorino. Tuna salad with artichoke hearts, olives, and tomatoes.
Merluzzo al forno con patate. Baked fish with potatoes.
Mezze maniche con calamari e zucchine. Pasta with calamari and zucchini.
Galantina. This is a meat that they make here. I’ve never seen anything like it, so I thought I’d share.
Spaghetti alle vongole. Spaghetti with mussels. Basically, my favorite food so far.
Silvana cutting the pork for Bianca’s birthday party.
Gnocchi al salmone. Homemade potato pasta with salmon.
A typical breakfast: cereal and biscotti.
I remember my Italian professor at school telling me that I should have a fund just for gelato if I ever go to Italy. He was serious.