Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Going Multi-sensory

Buona sera! Come stai? Sto piu bene d'ieri - molto meno blah.

P.S. - It is my goal that by the end of my semester, I can write an entire blog post in italiano. Be prepared.

Today was significantly more productive than yesterday. Although I'm relatively certain that most of my Italian class doesn't like me because I'm a "know-it-all" which I reply "Vattene!" (and they wouldn't even know what that means, anyway.)

It was a beautiful morning and I couldn't help whipping out my camera on my way to class:
Just a 574-year old architectural and artistic masterpiece. No big.

I got to test out my new oat bowl, and I would say it was a very successful trial-run:

Yogurt-Oat Parfait:
Layer yogurt-banana slices-oatmeal twice. Decorate top as desired. Mangia!

I also made my first attempt at a poached egg. It, a failure, but I really just wanted to do it to see what mistake(s) I made and therefore how to improve next time. I'll keep you updated on my poaching skill. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat.

Ventured to San Lorenzo/Mercato Centrale today. Not only is it the best palce ever to buy fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, and the best balsamic vinegar EVER, many of the vendors only speak Italian. I feel so let down when I walk into a store and they immediately start speaking English to me. I gotta try to learn people! Mercato Centrale is also one of the most colorful places in Firenze:
Dried fruit & nuts GALORE!
Check out those tomatoes in the middle - they look like pumpkins!
Love me some fresh fruit.
LOTS of meat vendors. LOTS of dead animal flesh. Not so much a fan.
Mmm, cow stomach...

Quite a successful trip. I walked out with some tomatoes, spinach and arugula, almonds, and a couple apples. I also bought this sweatshirt outside:

Pretty sweet! That's the Florentine coat-of-arms symbol on the front. Yes, I am wearing it right now. It's very soft and cuddly. Just the way I like it. (That's what she said?)

I was a serious bottomless pit today. I could NOT get full until dinner. But I tried--btw, pecorino makes an excellent grilled cheese. Try it NOW. Thank me later.
My problem really is that I try to have little things that will tide me over, but they never fill me quite enough, and so I have another small little something, and the cycle continues. Quite frustrating in retrospect. But that's how you learn, no?

Of the several munchies I consumed, these were particularly tasty:
German crackers, part of my revenge-on-Venice loot from the hotel. They are kind of a cross between Ak-Maks and Wasa crackers, and somehow remind me of potato chips. In the words of Rachel Ray, Yum-O!

Have you ever tasted chocolate? No, I mean really tasted it. My favorite way to eat chocolate - and really anything, come to think of it - is to turn it into a multi-sensory experience. You eat with your eyes and nose before your mouth! Really, one of my favorite things about Italian culture is their respect for food and eating as a kind of ceremonious event, something that nourishes your body and your mind. Try this sometime: before scarfing down a meal in 5 minutes so you can be out the door, in your car and on to the next tick on the to-do list, sit down. Look at the food in front of you - the shapes, the colors. Notice the different smells, how they combine and complement each other. When you taste it, focus on the different feels and flavors. Appreciate it.

Maybe you read that and said "Oy. This girl is off her rocker. What happened?!" Between being immersed in this culture, taking two classes that focus on food - especially the social and symbolic aspects of it, and getting deeper into my own passion for the subject, the way I look at food/eating is changing completely and much for the better. It is such an endlessly interesting subject! And one so frequently taken for granted. So, expect more talk about it!

All that, to show you this:

I discovered Ritter chocolate on my first trip to Germany, and could only find it in Europe until recently - randomly, Target and WalMart sell them! It is basically really good chocolate with different fillings - nougat, yogurt, marzipan, biscuit, nuts, etc. If you ever see them, give them a try - they are an amazing fix when you need some higher quality chocolate than, say, a Reese's cup or some Hershey Kisses (not that there is anything wrong with those - I've eaten plenty of those too in times of need!!)

I at long last filled the black hole formerly known as my stomach with dinner:

My take on pasta e fagioli
Spelt penne with cannellini beans, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and spinach.
I really loved the spelt pasta - great texture. A little less grainy than whole wheat pasta, I think. Quinoa pasta is another great option, and perfect for those who want to go whole grain but can't stand the texture of wheat pasta. I highly recommend trying both!

Probably should consider doing some homework. I have my first Italian quiz tomorrow morning, but I'm not particularly concerned. Also have my cooking class tomorrow, YAY! Stay tuned for pics!



  1. That "That's what she said" is just inappropriate. This is a blog for god's sake! Children are reading! I would take your advice, and attempt to make eating a "multisensory experience", but I find that it is just easier to notice the shapes and colors while you are eating it and/or before it gets to you. Or just not pay any attention to it at all. Mostly the latter.

  2. Remember Beardface is a 16 year old male- they have an entirely different relationship with food. The sweatshirt is cool. Like the logo and it does look warm. I will skip the post in Italian thank you!

  3. I hope you realize that if you advertise your choolate in such appealing terms I am likely to steal it. This is just a warning.

    Also, I am going to buy a sweatshirt now, too. Damn you.