As the semester draws towards the end (wait…WHAT????), I of course want to talk about the amazing food that I have experienced while abroad, both in Italy and in foreign places (aka Spain…which is the only other country I’ve traveled to while here). Before I get into the scrumdiddlyumptious (why yes , I did look up how to spell it) cuisine provided by professionals, I figured I’d first start with the negative sides of Italian food. Hard to believe they exist right? Well believe me, they do although I’m not complaining….
1) PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME, PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME….is about as foreign in Italy as an obnoxious American wearing shorts and flip-flops on the subway in March. I may do that soon…don’t worry. But yes, sad to say, peanut butter, the mother-load of all foods and goodness in the United States, is not a part of the Italian diet. You can technically get a little jar of it for about 4 euro (just short of seven dollars), but it’s just not as good and is very overpriced. But don’t worry…PB and J has been quickly replaced by Nutella and Honey.
2) “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s,” they say, but there is: when you DON’T get to eat it at all. Candy does exist here, fear not, but Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are also a completely foreign concept. This wouldn’t be awful except for the fact that it is my absolute favorite candy.
Thankfully, my friend’s mom brought me a whole bag of Pieces when she came to visit. I scarfed them down in about 2.5 seconds. Just kidding, but really it was a huge bag and I finished it over the course of two days. Va bene. We also had a very special treat during the Jam Session, when Gianni (one of our program directors) brought us Peanut Butter Cups. Needless to say, we went nuts. Literally.
3) Beer….is overpriced. Not quite as good, and overpriced. An average to cheap beer costs about 5 euro (7 dollars), and a normal beer costs 7 euro (about 9 dollars). The cheapest I’ve had is a Peroni (which is excellent for being an Italian beer), and that costs 3 euro (a bit less than 5 dollars). While I do not at all miss Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors Light or Natty Light (sorry Penn State friends), I do miss my Blue Moon and Rolling Rock. However, I really cannot complain about this because the cheapest wine is still good and costs 60 cents per liter; That’s cheaper than water here.
4) McDonald’s….yes, yes I know…I had it here. If I were only here on vacation or a class trip I would refuse, but since I am living here I’ve gotten it a few times. It’s definitely still the cheapest and most filling food you can get to go. The few times I’ve gotten McDonald’s it has been juicy, greasy, and good as ever. However, one incident last weekend changed all that. After church last Sunday morning I had a cheeseburger and fries. I was feeling highly ambitious that day, and had planned on knocking out half of both papers that I had due that week. But after two hours, I found myself sitting in the computer lab and feeling absolutely sick to my stomach. Things only got worse as the day progressed, and by the time I went home I was doubled over and sweating. I can’t imagine what pregnancy is like (ok that was insensitive, sorry Natalie Portman). After lying down and watching a movie for two hours, “ho fatto i gattini.” This is the Italian way of saying “I threw up.” The literal translation is “i had kittens.”
These minor speed bumps are worth mentioning merely for memory’s sake, but pale in comparison to the amount of mouth-watering food I’ve had here. Prepare to be dazzled.