Jennifer Hall Temple Rome

How Do You Say “Pie Crust” In Italian?

This week in Rome, things are beginning to look more Autumnal. It’s cool enough to wear jeans and sometimes even a sweater, so with this changing of the season I think all of us are beginning to feel just a little homesick. I’ll admit, this is my favorite time of year in Pennsylvania; changing leaves, scarves, pumpkin carving, everything. So at my apartment we’re all banding together to keep the blues away and enjoy our new Autumn experience in Rome! On Thursday night Winnie made a big family dinner of chicken and potatoes, and Kenny and James brought over wine.

Earlier that day I made some big changes in my little studio. I’m trying to bring some life into it with pictures of home and some new members of the family, everyone meet Petunia and Vernon!

For those of you Harry Potter fans out there, you should get the reference. I originally just had the pink one and named her Petunia (I don’t know if she actually is a Petunia, but that doesn’t matter) then James came up with Vernon for the sunflower.

This is the view from my Studio (yes! That’s the Tiber!!!) Currently I’m working on a large landscape painting of this scene.

I’m not quite sure why I decided to treat my plants like pets, but I think they’re going to like it in their new home! My Gma would be so proud of my green thumb, I’ve had them for 4 whole days and they’re still alive. I bought them from this woman by the subway stop who sells her plants out of some kind of golf cart looking contraption. After paying for my flowers (totally in Italian) I began talking to myself quietly as I organized myself to head home (typical). But the woman remarked kindly “Wow, you speak very good English.”… I’m not sure whether to call this a fail or a win. But I got flowers out of it so WIN!

On the way home from the studio that night I made a spur of the moment decision to stop in the specialty food store by the Piazza del Popolo on the Via Flaminia. There were shelves piled high with loose leaf teas, Mexican spices, and Tobasco. It never occurred to me that in Italy this is considered foreign food. Suddenly it felt as if time had stopped. I spotted the one thing that I missed most about Pennsylvanian Autumn… Pumpkin. Canned pumpkin specifically. It also happened to be 4.90 Euro a can. Irrelevant, I bought two.

So Today is Friday, and all of my room mates are off on class excursions all over Italy. So Kenny and I decided to go an adventure and try to make pumpkin pie. Something I’ve never done before and would have been hard enough in the States, where everything is written in English and I’d have my Gma there to help me.

Here are some of the things we could absolutely NOT find in the grocery store that may have been helpful for making pumpkin pie:

  • measuring cups
  • pie crust
  • brown sugar

… just to name a few. Also the things we could find were all written in Italian…. sigh. This would clearly be interesting.

Well we couldn’t find pie crust or graham crackers. So I decided to get a tin of butter cookies, crush them up and try and make a crust with those, butter, and cinnamon.

Resourceful. That’s me.

Not bad! Gma would be proud.

I’m pretty much the Irish Paula Deen living the life of Giada De Laurentis (for all you fellow food network nerds.)

So we also could not for the life of us find sweetened condensed milk (although Kenny did find baby formula) so we substituted it with what we think is probably heavy cream… or some kind of dairy product. Also there are NO measuring cups to be found… Italians aren’t that big on accuracy. So I winged it.


Kenny told me he thinks it is very very good, 🙂 and when my roomies get home I’ll see what they think. I think I pretty much nailed it, it’s not as sweet as I’m used to but I do have another can of pumpkin I might try it again with a little more sugar. But I think I actually have the potential for a much more lucrative career as a pie making trophy wife than an artist… I’ll keep that in mind.

As far as traveling around Rome, this week my Figure Modeling class took a trip to the Italian Olympic Stadium.

My sister (track star) would be so jealous!

This is the Roma soccer stadium!

You can probably understand why we came here for figure modeling.

So these statues were all carved out of white marble to represent all of the summer Olympic sports. I’m not sure what sport this man plays but while staring at him I could only imagine a dialogue something like this:

OLYMPIAN: “Oh, you walked 13 miles around the Aurelian wall? That’s cute. I ran that everyday on the way to the gym to train for the OLYMPICS.”

… hard core.

Tonight we’re all going out on the town and hopefully we’ll actually make it to the Coliseum since I have almost been here a month and still haven’t seen it, I hear it’s pretty ciao.




  1. Yep, your Gma sure is proud! Even Giada would be impressed by the butter cookie crust!! Way to improvise! Another great blog!! If you can’t make a living as an artist, you could always be a writer!

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