I realize it has been a while since we last met. You’ve heard my rantings of this crazy and hectic life, which I’m sure you just as well relate to at times… Thanks for sticking through.
However, this time, I’ve a different story to tell you. One week ago today, I arrived in Rome for the first time! These previous seven days have been the start of probably the grandest adventure in my life thus far: a semester spent in Italia. I am here, in a small town north of Rome, for the next four months. To experience culture. Learn Italian. Eat the most comforting food in the world. Peer into the depths art and antiquity. Take a step toward learning more about myself and about others. And countless other reasons I have yet to discover.
In the past week, my taste buds have already indulged in food unlike anything they’ve known. The first night, I ate bruschetta made with vibrantly red tomatoes and crusty bread, pizza with various toppings like zucchini and authentic pepperoni, and the smoothest, purest gelato that looked like plain old vanilla but released a whole new world of expansive flavor upon touching my mouth. I’ve had a nutella-stuffed donut at nearly midnight, countless squares of pizza, fruit tarts and cookies, and fluffy, creamy cappuccinos costing only a euro. I’ve witnessed the creation of authentic gelato after tasting the classic pistachio flavor, which is as wonderful as people claim.
Last night, friends and I treated ourselves to a more expensive dinner at “La Spaghetteria,” which since 1984 has held the Guinness World Record for the widest selection of sauces at a restaurant. As we flipped through page after page of listings, it was nearly impossible to choose. I settled on a variation of my favorite, however: crema di latte, pomodoro, pancetta, prosciutto, e vodka, for all you Italian-readers. AKA cream, tomatoes, vodka, and Italian ham. All mixed together, sticking perfectly to slightly fatter spaghetti noodles. It was neither overly soupy nor scantily coated. Just enough to produce a hearty harmony of flavors.
Let me tell you, I didn’t use to be this way. Growing up, my palate was accustomed to sitting at the table with its arms folded tightly across its chest, unwilling to consume most normal and delicious foods. Why it was so stubborn, I have no idea. I would take the cheese off pizza (now the most embarrassing and horrid thought to me), demand that my bread be toasted and peanut butter be thickly layered (which I admit, I still require) for PB&J, and refuse mashed potatoes and cheeseburgers. Everything had to be perfect, and I deeply thank my family and friends for having the patience and grace to not abandon me.
I am thankful to know and say that I have come far since those days. Food is an elemental part of culture and people and physicality, and to not experience its vastness is to turn my back on such a joyful part of life.
These things said and shown, I want to direct you someplace else. I have created another blog solely for this time spent in Italy. Because it is so difficult to manage two sites (you’ve seen how slow I can be on even one), I will be posting mainly on the newer space. Though it isn’t solely focused on food- more on honest stories of my time here- I can guarantee that the topic will appear more than frequently.
With that, I invite you skip on over and join me in experiencing and eating my way through Italy! The link can be found both below and on the “connect” tab above.
Ciao for now!