Monday, February 15, 2010

Monkish Monday

It was wonderful to come home. And I do mean home. I am in shock - of the best kind - from how quickly I got comfortable in this city. The lifestyle feels so natural to me. I am really in a wonderful place.

The alarm went off way too soon this morning. I stayed up a bit later than I had hoped because I was facilitating my Food & Culture class's discussion today. Basically, I read the articles we were assigned and I come up with discussion questions for the class. The articles I read were absolutely fascinating, and I was rather excited to discuss them. One was about Florentine women's body image and how Italians view food, and how it is involved in the female identity. It was....exactly what I wanted to write my thesis on. Like, exactly. Frustrating. Que sera. The other article was a study of U.S. college students and how their eating behavior reflects the food rules of American culture - again, completely fascinating. I am hooked on this class.

Because this class is so important to me, I was a bit nervous about the facilitation this morning. I have done it before, in an English class at Converse, and it did not go well. That didn't help my confidence level. But, I definitely think my breakfast did:
Pink lady apple slices with oats and the yummiest vanilla yogurt EVER. Seriously, why are European brands of everything so much tastier?

I went to the grocery store today to restock, but they were all out. I was rather upset :( But the strawberry is pretty good too. 
Only I could talk about yogurt for this amount of time. Moving on.

The faciliation went great! My professor said I did a really good job and she was very impressed with my insights and analysis. I told her how much I loved the class and especially the articles I read, and she is going to bring me the book written by the woman whose articles I loved. I'm pretty excited! Oh MAN I am a geek.
We also learned about basil and tomatoes today. Remember that "virtual menu" I told you about? Our class created the menu for a full-course Italian meal and each student in the class is researching a particular ingredient and presenting on the historical, social, economical, etc. impact of that particular food. I LOVE food history. It is absolutely amazing how something we so often take for granted has such an intense history and impact on the world. I love it!
P.S. - The ingredient I'm presenting on is chocolate. You don't even KNOW how excited I am.

My music class today started with a field trip. We met in Piazza San Marco, a block away from my apartment, at the *drumroll please*...Museo di San Marco. It is a former monastery that has been restored. We're starting in on the Renaissance and monasteries were basically where music was written in the 13th, 14th, 15th centuries. Three cheers for monks! 
Yes, I live a block away from this. :)

A beautiful green paradise inside.
Lots of paintings by Fra Angelico!

One of the main reasons she brought us here was to see the illuminated manuscripts, which are books of music notated and then elaborately decorated by the monks. Did you know they were the major musical producers of the time? Poets, composers, and devoted to their faith - true Renaissance men!
The colors used to paint the manuscripts

I just stood and stared at them. They reminded me of the book at the very beginning of Sleeping Beauty (yes, the Disney movie - it's the best ever. Says me.)! The detail was incredible. Just so beautiful!
Monks' cells

This was in the floor - it went about 3 layers down. See the Jesus painting? Ha, the Italian monks invented the first "Where's Waldo?"! GENIUS.

I know I have said it before (like at the beginning of this post...), but this city is just such an amazing place to live.

I am trying very hard to solidify this blog as a "food blog." They are what got me into the blog world and it's really what I love to talk about and discuss. It's such an interesting part of our culture, much because of its status as a necessity for life which leads to it being taken for granted. So, I hope you don't mind seeing my meals. I know that now they're not exactly exciting, but that's why I'm taking my cooking class! I'd also add that because I am so passionate about food, I feel it's a major part of my experience here in Florence. So get used to seeing it! 
That said, here is dinner:
Salad topped with sauteed zucchini and garlic with tomatoes, cannellini beans, pecorino and balsamic. With some fresh wheat(ish) bread to round it out!

I'm really enjoying the book for my cooking class, because it makes so much sense to me - eat fresh foods, learn how to balance the nutrients so your body can absorb them optimally, and it will inevitably taste good. So true. 

Ok, I have been blogging for a really long time and now I have to actually do some homework (blah). I don't feel like these recent posts were up to my usual standards, but they can't all be perfect. And neither can I. Too bad it's never quite that simple.

Ciao a tutti!


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