Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And so it begins...

On my second day in Italy...

I woke up at a decent hour 9:30 (still working on that body clock) and began a very adventurous and long day. My day began with Roberto, the father of the family I am staying with. He speaks the least English of the family, but has a great sense of humor through the language barrier.

We began our day with a traditional Italian breakfast at the nearby caffe. Honestly, the best cappuccino and pastry I have ever had. He was kind enough to even buy my breakfast, such a sweet man. After we finished eating and drinking at the bar we headed on to the market.

The market was similar to our Kroger, but Italian style of course. The produce was a rainbow of colors, I especially enjoyed taking in the purple artichokes and bright red tomatoes. Interestingly, they weigh the produce and get a price sticker in the produce section as opposed to our entering the PLU code once we are in the check out line. We went through the family's grocery list, helping one another find a variety of items. The cheese section was amazing as well as the bakery where smells took over your ability to resist impulse purchases. It was all quite amusing though as I stood in the Italian grocery listening to Aerosmith's "I don't want to close my eyes". All in all it was a great experience seeing how they function on day to day basis, and it is just like us, but in a different language and with better food.

Living with the family has definitely giving me more of an opportunity to discover Italian culture. Once we arrived home and unloaded the groceries. Marzia began to prepare (never cook) something to eat. I stood watching in the kitchen and then handed over what seemed to be her liquid gold, peanut butter. She rejoiced and completely changed the menu to bread and fruit with peanut butter. Apparently I should have brought a case, not just one jar.

Nino and Irina came to pick me up for my first day of work. Terrie, the other intern was kind enough to show me around and give me several pointers. It was a lot to take in the first day. Then we began prep. We made dough for small quiches that were filled with a spinach and ricotta mixture. Then we prepped vegetables that would later be used in other quiches. We cut peppers, onions, carrots, zucchini, and eggplant into small cubes that Nino sauteed. Then I helped Marzia with the pasta. She said that in Italy you make it thin enough so you can read a newspaper through it. We helped set out things and clean up as Nino needed. I also helped with the caramel sauce and scalloped potatoes. Although the restaurant is not really busy, there is a lot f prep work that goes into each dish. They are also preparing for a 40 person party in 2 days.

I know I have a ways to go in feeling comfortable in the kitchen, but I think I am off to a pretty good start. Let's just hope I survive day #2.

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