When Ravioli was the Enemy

I have a secret I have to admit. Although I now feel like the reigning queen of all things Italian, including food, there was once a time when the idea of something wrapped in a tiny package, stuffed with cheese, and covered in sauce had no appeal to me.

I remember very clearly an evening at the dinner table when I was perhaps four or five years old. On my plate was a serving of ravioli, and there they rested for some time. Because my mom believed in the “you-either-eat-this-or-nothing” philosophy, I had very little choice but to succumb to the pressure of taking a bite of the Italian cheese pillows. I cannot recall what I thought after those initial bites, but I do remember the aftermath: me, isolated in the living room with a grape freeze pop watching as my mother cleaned up what remained of my dinner…on the floor.  Continue reading

Advertisements

An Italian (Dorm) Pantry

Flavia would be proud of my apartment’s pantry.

My love of Italian food is no secret, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that my D.C. kitchen is all but stocked with Italian staple ingredients. Considering items like tomatoes, basil, pasta, and balsamic, one might expect my kitchen to belong to that of an Italian grandma. Continue reading

Charlie and His Diet

My host dog is, or is supposed to be, on a diet. In light of the fact that all he seems to do all day is lie around, it doesn’t surprise me that he has a weight issue. But, as always, there is more attributed to his poor numbers on the scale than just his lack of exercise. The other culprit: Flavia’s delicious dinners.

Perhaps if Flavia was not such a good cook Charlie would be in better shape. But alas, Charlie is only two years old and already he has been advised by his veterinarian to start eating healthier. The problem for Charlie is that he really has no control over what he eats. Though I am sure he has no qualms about enjoying whatever it is in put in his bowl, he has no way of recognizing that the food he is consuming is contributing to his poor health state. How is a dog expected to lose weight when he is constantly being fed food too good for him to refuse? Continue reading

Morphing into Spaghetti

I can remember when I was little and my mother warning me that if I ate too much of one thing, then I would turn into that food item. Oftentimes the warning followed when I gobbled down too many chicken nuggets or too many Oreos. Upon hearing this idea, I would imagine myself morphing into a strange mass of breaded chicken or stumbling up the stairs as a giant chocolate cookie.

If this really were the case, it is likely that after more than three months living abroad  today I would resemble either spaghetti, penne, farfalle, or maybe even orecchiette. In light of my newfound beverage of choice, I might imagine that instead of blood, my veins would also be readily pumping wine.  Continue reading

My Stomach’s Way of Exploring Italy

I have been in a food coma for nearly three months.

Living in Italy is like living in gastronomic heaven. From the Nutella to the cheese and the pasta to the pizza, not a single day has gone by that has left me unsatisfied. The food is perhaps one of the best benefits of Georgetown’s program at Villa le Balze. For students who want their tuition money to include a good meal plan, the villa is the place to study.

Equipped with its own kitchen staff, the villa serves the students and faculty the most genuine and satisfying meals each day. Lunch is a three course, hour-plus experience that affords diners the opportunity to explore the regions of Italy through their stomachs. The meal typically begins with a starch, such as risotto or pasta, made with the best in-season ingredients. When was the last time risotto with speck or pasta con i pomodori secchi (pasta with sundried tomatoes) was on the menu at Leo’s?

To read more, check out the original post for Georgetown’s weekly magazine The Guide.

Where Pasta is King

“In a country called Bengodi…there was a mountain made entirely of grated Parmesan cheese, on which lived people who did nothing but make macaroni and ravioli and cook them in capon broth. And then they threw them down, and the more of them you took, the more you had. And nearby ran a rivulet of white wine whose better was never drunk, and without a drop of water in it.” –Decameron, Day 8, Tale 3

If wine flows through Italians veins, then pasta lines their stomachs; Italians live, breathe, and, of course, eat pasta.  Continue reading

From Flavia’s Kitchen

This week I am kicking off a series devoted to Italian cuisine. One might think that food would be the only thing I would want to write about, but it has been a minimal subject thus far on my blog. Well, with less than four weeks left in Italy, now is the time for me to share all I have learned about the country cuisine’s, including cooking techniques, preparations, and, of course, how it all tastes. In the coming days, one can expect posts about Italian pasta, including a recipe for fatto a mano (handmade), wine, cheese and various other Italian specialties. This week promises to wet everyone’s appetite and to leave readers with mouths wide open and envious of my culinary adventures.

To begin this series on Italian food, I thought it best to begin with a recipe and a recounting of my second foray into Flavia’s kitchen. After more than two months since our last attempt at cooking, Emily and I were anxious to return to our host mother’s favorite room in the house and learn some of her secrets. Though it took some convincing, she finally agreed to give us a cooking class this past weekend. On the menu: supplìContinue reading