Archive for February, 2011

The assignment was to read the Antonia and Ian chapters from this book.  From reading these chapters, I feel like the book was comprised of detailed descriptions about each character enrolled in the cooking class.  I found myself smiling and greatly enjoying these chapters while reading.

There were notes that I wrote down pertaining to Antonia and Ian.  I made note of the characteristics I admired about each of them.  For starters, Antonia was a very free spirited type of lady who believed in the sense of originality.  She left Italy for a “cold shower.”  She wanted to wake up her soul.  She believed that it was good not to know things because this brought about possibilities.   These traits were also expressed in her profession as a kitchen designer.  A client wanted to modernize an old kitchen.  However, Antonia fell in love with its charm and originality at first sight.  The large fireplace reminded her of her grandmother’s kitchen.   After cooking a meal for the client, she convinced them that it would be acceptable to “keep things that are good and true.”

 Surprisingly, Antonia and Ian were socially connected.  They were both joined by a cooking class.  Ian’s mother provided him with these cooking classes because she knew he was a cook.  She was an artist and never really cooked, but she knew what was right for Ian.  He did find a passion for cooking, which was enlightened by the mysterious Chinese restaurant below his apartment.   He learned to eat more slowly in order to unravel the puzzle.  Not only were Antonia and Ian connected through the cooking class; Ian also admired Antonia. They had a linoleum date where they learned about each other.  Ian was the complete opposite compared to Antonia.  He wanted to be certain about everything.  He invited Antonia over for dinner, but he wanted it to be perfect.  He wanted her for the rest of his life, and that is how he cooked.  He prepared a beef bourguignon and a tiramisu.  This was his first time making a tiramisu, which I found rather ironic since his personality was always to be certain.  He was not certain about the tiramisu.  He took a chance for a possibility!

 This was a great read!


Food and Sickness

These two words do not go hand in hand like most of the other blog postings.  I mean, I do not like to think of food and sickness in the same sentence.  That is just not any fun.  I am going to tackle this topic from two different perspectives.  One is going to be about the food I eat when I am sick, and the other is going to be about the sicknesses people face involving food.

 I can remember being sick as a child and staying home from school.  There were traditional foods that my parents prepared for me when I was under the weather.   The most famous entrée was chicken noodle soup.  I never liked the chicken noodle soup very much.  I think that Campbell’s has changed their chicken noodle soup nowadays because I can now tolerate it as a usual meal.  Another food item that I remember having was jello.  My favorite flavor was cherry.  My mom was the one who usually stayed home with me or my brother when we were sick.  If my brother and I had to choose between mom and dad when we were sick, we would probably always choose mom.  Mom was just better at tending to us when we were sick.  However, I can remember my dad staying home with us on a few occasions.  Dad always liked to settle an upset stomach with Sprite and toast.  What a weird combination!  To this day, I can hardly drink Sprite because it reminds me of being sick as a child.  I would like to share one story about my dad taking care of my brother when he was sick.  My mom was out of town on business, and my dad received a call from the school saying that Kyle, my brother, needed to go home.  My dad left work to pick up Kyle.  When he arrived at the nurse’s office, Kyle did not look very sick to Dad.  However, Kyle’s teacher thought he had pink eye.  Dad ended up taking Kyle to the family doctor, but they said that he did not have pink eye – it was a false alarm.  It was no use to take Kyle back to school since it was late in the afternoon, so Dad and Kyle went out to eat at Grandy’s.  Kyle had never been to Grandy’s before this, but he had always loved fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  Dad always concludes this story by saying, “When were walking back to the truck, Kyle looked at me, rubbing his stomach, and said THAT WAS GOOD DAD!”.  So my brother got out of school to have fried chicken and mashed potatoes with my dad because he was sick.  To this day, Kyle still likes to go to Grandy’s.

The other topic that comes to my mind about food and sickness are eating disorders.   A large number of people in the US suffer from eating disorders.  I do not know much about the statistics in other countries.  However, here in the US it is a big problem.  I think that there is too much pressure placed on individuals to look a certain way.  The media exploits this so called perfect image.  I know several girls, personally, who have had eating disorders.  They ended up getting help, which is good because there are numerous health risks associated with eating disorders.   In my opinion, there should be more media attention directed at eating healthy and exercising in order to feel good inside and also look good on the outside.

“La Bella Lingua”

Reading “La Bella Lingua” was very entertaining.  I am going to list a few of the expressions and topics that I found amusing and interesting.

  • “It will be spaghetti that will unite Italy”
  • “When we eat pasta, we ingest a bit of its culture too”
  • Italy’s food and language was compared to cheese on macaroni
  • Origins of risotto alla Milanese dated back to the 14th century – WOW
  • “Measure oil by the finger and flour by the fist”
  • Eating alone is almost too sad to contemplate in Italy
  • Pasta emerged in the Middle Ages
  • There was discussion on how to dress a flame breathing peacock or standing calf –No thanks for me
  • I will have to find the cookbook mentioned “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well”
  • “That’s not just food you are eating, it’s Italy”

Class Discussion Views

Throughout the last few weeks we have watched “Facing Windows” and read “A Semiotics of Judaism …”, “Keeping House”, “Food and Subjectivity in Clara Sereni’s Keeping House”, and other various chapters in our Bible.  As I do these readings I make note of the interesting topics I find. I will share these notes in this class discussion view posting.

First off, “A Semiotics of Judaism …” was the prelude to “Facing Windows”. One surprising fact from this reading was the knowledge base of the Italian curriculum.  I was shocked to find out that Italian students are not taught a lot about the Jewish experience in World War II.   This was hard for me to believe because growing up here in the US I learned about realties of World War II year after year in each history class.  This topic was also a common writing prompt and topic of reading in most of my English classes.  It is as if Italians learn about history, but not their own history.  This article was very helpful with being able to follow the movie “Facing Windows”.  I feel like I picked up on a few more insights, since I read this article prior to the viewing.   

I greatly enjoyed “Facing Windows”.  There was mystery, history, drama, seduction, culture and even food embedded in the plot.  I admired Giovanna’s growth throughout the movie.  She started by trying to get rid of Davide because of his situation, but however by the end of the movie she had consumed a piece of Davide that would stay with her forever.  She gave her husband a second chance, which I feel was a great decision.  She also decided that she was going to spend the rest of her life doing what she loved, cooking.  As I mentioned earlier, I was surprised by Giovanna’s lack of knowledge about the concentration camps.  The seriousness of trauma still following Davide was evident throughout the entire movie.  One scene in particular caught my attention.  Davide would not wear the sweater that Giovanna gave him, while his other clothes were being washed, because the gray color reminded him of the concentration camps.  These lessons which were learned by Giovanna were life changing because they allowed her to find herself and enabled here to be able to better educate her children about the history. A few cultural traits I noticed in the movie included how Giovanna always went to run errands with her friend.  It seemed like there was a lot more companionship and less individual tasks.  Also, I noticed a lot of smoking in this movie.  Is the view on smoking different in Italy compared to here in the US?

Keeping House” was sort of a hard book to follow because there was not a definite sequence of events or timeline.  One chapter was about the narrator’s childhood and then the other was about her own family as an adult.  The unique part of the book was the narrative inclusion of recipes with each chapter.  It was not only the writing in each chapter telling the story, but also the recipes provided.  The narrator shared about losing her mom at a young age and her struggle with her father throughout her life.  She escaped her worries, feelings, and desires by confiding in food preparation.  She stated that food is her form of caring.  Another quote that I noted was, “I can reconstruct a flavor, not copy a recipe.  This shows the desire and originality of the narrator.  As I was reading the book, I took note of the characters and events in order to follow the story.  However after reading “Food and Subjectivity in Clara Sereni’s Keeping House”, I was able to understand more of the points of the story.  For instance, the narrator finds her independence by cooking to prove her ability to nourish herself.  One other topic discussed in this article was the boundaries in her life.  She longed for boundaries because she never had any due to the loss of her mother.  Throughout her growth she discovered on her own how to be independent and separate the relationship with her mother.  These hidden tactics were harder for me to fully understand, but I did enjoy reading through the recipes.  My favorite recipe was the Savory Meatballs.  While reading it caught my attention so much that I even wrote down the page number.

The risotto chapter in the Bible was appealing to me because it started off by saying that risotto preparation is relaxed.  Also a few more or a few less minutes on the burner will not ruin the risotto.  It seems like a simple dish. This is the type of preparation that I need.  I have never had risotto, so I will have to try it.  Risotto sounds like the Italian recipe for dummies compared to intensiveness of the other recipes I have seen.

My boyfriend and I celebrated Valentine’s Day this past Saturday because we will not be together on Monday.  He graduated from Purdue last December, and now he lives and works in Alabama.  Both of us being in different places makes it hard to celebrate holidays on the designated dates, but we are making it work.  We just have transitional holidays.  We went out to dinner at Olive Garden on Saturday evening.  Over the meal we were talking about my Italian class.  We both decided that we will have to plan a trip to Italy sometime in the future.  I cannot wait! Italy has been added to my bucket list! 🙂

Happy Nutella Day!

Emily and I celebrated Nutella Day with these nutella no-bake cookies, courtesy of her.  They made studying thermodynamics more enjoyable. 🙂

Food and love go hand in hand.  This topic can be thought of from many different viewpoints.  For instance, people love food and even show their love through food.  These will be the main topics throughout this posting.

First:  people love food.  Personally, I will not say that I am the type of person who craves food every waking moment of the day.  I generally eat when it is time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Simply, I eat when it is “time to eat”.  I really do not get hunger cravings.  At the same time, I am the type of person who gets in a routine and does not mind the repetition of the same routine.  From reading my food blog, you might notice that I do not have a lot of variation in my diet throughout the week.  One reason for this is because I do not have a lot of time to dedicate to preparing food, and I am only preparing food for myself.  When I make something there are always leftovers for the next few days.  However, while making this point I will say that I do have a love for food.  What are the foods that I love?  I love home cooking.   Some specific foods that come to my mind are barbequed pulled pork, fresh salads, and any type of dessert (not store bought).  I love the taste of food freshly prepared, not something that has sat on the shelf for a week.  Eating something fresh adds to the love of the food.

Second:  people show their love though food.  This statement makes a lot of sense.  When there is a special occasion that needs to be celebrated, people go out for a meal or make a meal themselves.  When people visit a friend or family member’s home, as a token of appreciation, they bring food.   When there is a death, people show their remorse with food.  When people want to help out others, they donate food.  Food is a necessity in all of our lives.  It is something that all of us, no matter race, religion, or ethnicities have in common.  Food unites everyone with love.