This semester went by way too fast. Leaving my everyday routine and favorite spots in Florence is going to be very tough. I will also miss my roommates and small classroom classes that allowed me to think deeper about new topics and share my opinion more.
To be honest, I have enough elective credits but need to finish classes for my major. Therefore, Foodways does not push me closer to graduating but I am grateful I had a chance to take a class so different from my business classes. Foodways taught me that it is okay to interrupt a book, article or movie differently from my peers. In my business classes, there is usually only one right answer. It was like a breath of fresh air to be able to speak our minds. Sometimes the major of the class would see the article as similar while a few others could connect to the article on a different level. I found it interesting reading about how Italian immigrants left for America and their dishes slowly changed.
One of my favorite discussions that came up multiple times throughout class was: What is seen as cultural correct or authentic here in Florence? I learned during the first couple days that you will not see people carrying around to-go large coffees. Foodways pointed out other differences as well like spaghetti and meatballs do not exist here but they remain on every Italian-American menu in the US. I noticed that I applied what I learned in class to my everyday eating experiences here. For example, it is rude to ask for a to-go bag at restaurants since it interpreted as you did not like your meal. As most of us figured out pretty quickly, the portion sizes are smaller and more filling. I believe most authentic Italian food is made out of real and fresh ingredients. I’ve noticed that my fruit and vegetables mold faster here but that is better. This means there are fewer chemical preservatives.
Our professors, Laurie Beth and Michael, went out of their way to make us students feel comfortable in Florence the first couple weeks. The dinners they provided each week felt like a family dinner back home. As one of the Foodways requirements, I was granted the opportunity to cook with them both. I learned a lot of food and realized how inexperienced I was in the cooking department. The entire four hours of cooking, I questioned what each step meant and why it was important. Now I know how to make dough, cake, tiramisu, and many more Italian dishes. Below is a picture of me kneading dough for a student dinner that night.
I already have shared so many interesting details from Foodways in class and out of class experiences with my family and friends. When my family came to visit, I told them about all the ‘rules’ and ‘norms’ around food in Italian and I think they were frustrated. Why would they eat at 9 p.m. when they are used to eating at 5 p.m.? I realized is important to allow other figure some cultural differences on their own. I reminded myself that did not have a semester abroad and a Foodways class to teach them. Looking back, I should have sent them this amazing blog around Italian food basics. https://dianazahuranec.com/2015/12/13/the-basic-rules-of-italian-food/