Sunday, August 31, 2008

Italy, Day 6, 6/20/2008

Special guest post!

As Toby was suffering from his regular vacation illness (it first struck in New Orleans, then Prague and Munich, and now Italy), I faced our first homecooked Italian meal alone. We went to Sulmona to visit Fabrizio, a very distant cousin of mine, and arrived to find he was stuck in America. Even from America, though, he arranged our hotel room and generously footed the bill! Luckily there were other relatives to show us around. His sister Elisabetta invited us over for dinner cooked by their mother Lucia. Lucia is quite the cook (well, maybe just an average Italian one given my experience with the Italian cuisine).

Upon stepping foot in their apartment, I was reminded of the Italian custom of harassment (it’s at least a custom for the old Italian women I've met in Sulmona). They (mostly Lucia, and only in Italian) repeatedly harassed me for not knowing Italian (‘why hasn’t your mother taught you, even though you’ve been an ocean away struggling with the Hungarian language?’), for the ridiculousness of the English language (as it’s clearly my fault it’s written one way and spoken another), for my brother’s apparent lack of interest in Italy (which was evident to Lucia, though not to me, from the fact that he wasn’t traveling with me), and even for my father’s failure to master Italian. But I was most frequently harassed for not eating enough. Granted, it’s wonderful food, but there’s a limit to how much your body can take. So, while they pressured me to eat more, I tried to figure out how to avoid joining Toby on the sick bed.

Despite the ridicule, the meal was quite pleasant. We first had gato di patate (which is not ‘cat of potato’ as I first interpreted, but the French gateau, not that I’m familiar with that). It was like a fritatta, but, to my knowledge, eggless. It had a base of potatoes (of course), some kind of cheese (if Toby had been there you’d probably know what kind), prosciutto and mortadella. It was delicious, though quite creamy and filling. It was followed by one of my Italian favorites, prosciutto e melone. The homemade, natural meal was concluded by Magnum ice cream bars (a strange choice in my opinion in the country of gelato). My accomplishment for the evening was getting away with not finishing my ice cream bar.--Giovanna

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