A full decade ago (ahh!), I was in Italy for a total of four full days, two in Rome and two in Venice. We saw the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, the Roman Forum, rode a gondola, and gazed at the mosaics in the Basilica of San Marco all in that amount of time. It was probably too much, but at the time I thought that I might not ever have another opportunity to travel back to Europe and I wanted to see all the sights that I could. And no matter how rushed you are, the moment you climb that hill and see the Roman Forum is a moment you aren’t likely to forget.
Food, on the other hand, wasn’t really anything that interested me at the time. This is lucky, actually, because I left Europe with -7USD to my name, plus an overdraft fee. We survived by eating only street pizza and gelato. Not that either of us were complaining about the quality of those, either.
Now, I’m, well, a more curious eater than I was during our university years, to put it lightly. I’m also happy to have found people who don’t see my food interests as out of the ordinary and instead encourage me to learn even more.
Last week, my social life, my work life, my book club life, and my own personal reading life all collided into this ball of Italian food and culture. Really, I didn’t plan it that way.
On my own, I’ve been listening to a few Coffee Break Italian podcasts to prep for our trip. I finally read My Brilliant Friend for book club; I indulged in the light read of Under the Tuscan Sun. Our book club cooked accordingly, making for a night of delicious Naples-themed food. Then, I got to tag along as a server/assistant for an Italian cooking class through work.
I had a serious amount of fun for it being “work”. I sipped some wines, all of which were new to me, ate provolone and anchovy crostini, artichokes, endives, spaghetti, oxtail, and chestnut ice cream. All in the same night. And all while hanging out with some of my favorite peeps.
A couple days later, our friend hosted a dinner party (she also happens to be in my book club, woot!)–Italian themed as well. The weather was wonderful, and she has the perfect yard for al fresco dinner parties. As soon as I saw the tables in the backyard, I was thankful to have remembered my camera for the day. Even still, part way through meal, I failed as a photographer, simply eating my secondo (main), contorno (side), dolce (dessert), and digestivo without taking a single photo. That’s right, folks. You only see our starters and our first course below.
What a great week! All of the events, meals, books, and discussions made for a full, fun, and inspiring week. And it’s whet my intellectual and actual appetite for our upcoming actual Italian week.
I wish you all a happy week, Italian or otherwise 🙂