Women [and aringhe] RULE

You know you love a class when Monday morning rolls around and you’re actually excited to go. Sometimes I’m so geeky, I laugh at me.
We talked a lot about traditions and the definition of ‘cuisine’ – referring to that of any group, from nation to family. It’s funny, but as I was thinking about it, I don’t feel like my family has a “cuisine.” We have some classic foods – lemon bbq chicken, mom’s wonderful salads – but no outstanding, “trademark” way of preparing or seasoning. I think that’s actually kind of cool, because it left me totally unbiased and more willing to try anything. And we know how much I like my experiments!
Oops, forgot breakfast – not to eat it, of course!
Before…

After!
Blueberry yogurt + muesli soaked in almond milk. Love me some muesli πŸ™‚
Lunch today was AMAZING sandwich number 2 (same place I went last Monday). I almost ordered the same thing, but I really wanted to try something new, so I crossed my fingers and ordered “aringhe affumicato con verdure fresche.” I knew that it was something smoked (affumicato) with fresh vegetables, and since the “well 75% of that looks yummy” method worked last week, I went with it again. A VERY good decision.
mystery delicious smoked fish
Aringhe, it turns out, is herring – it tasted just like trout, but when I came home and looked it up, my trusty online dictionary corrected me. OH MAN this was delicious! I’m still trying to decide which I liked better, this week or last week’s anchovies…hmmm…the jury’s out on this one yet. I looked up the rest of the menu (it’s quite short, which made it thankfully easy to remember), and I’m very excited for next week to try the next new thing! There is a tripe sandwich which I’m not so keen on – really cow meat of any kind does not interest me, much less the stomach – but it is a Florentine staple and I’m thinking I’m going to HAVE to suck it up one of these days and get it…eek. I have to stomach the stomach! If it’s as good as their other sandwiches though, I’ll survive πŸ˜‰
Came home and did…um…nothing. It’s SO cold – the wind is just nasty – and it puts a real downer on going outside. I started to look at my spring break plans and Italian transportation is being its usual uncooperative self. I know I want to do Livorno and Bologna; possibly Volterra, although getting there is a pain in the butt and I haven’t decided that it’s worth it yet; and the hill towns of Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino, which were recommended to me by my beloved major advisor. Those last 3 are the main source of my travel headache, because I can’t get a clear idea of how exactly to go about getting there and back. Bus schedules are hard to read, and they all involve getting to Siena before I can even think about getting to the towns themselves. This is the only time having a car here would probably be the easier route. We’ll see; maybe I’ll just show up and hop on the bus that seems right and see where it takes me!
Dinner was another roommate collaboration – lentil stew! I’m a BIG lentil fan  – India got me totally hooked. We soaked the lentils and threw a ton of veggies in with garlic, basil and spices. It was very basic, and tasted as such. Not bad, just not really anything else. After my sandwich experience today though, dinner wasn’t going to measure up either way.
Bread makes everything better.
Today is Feste delle Donne – International Women’s Day! The U.S. is not on the ball and doesn’t celebrate it 😦 In Italy, women are often given sprigs of mimosa flowers and apparently there is a special cake called a mimosa but I didn’t see any…and you know I wanted to. I was in class all day and didn’t get any flowers, but I like that the day exists πŸ™‚ In the immortal words of the Spice Girls – Girl Power!
I realize that I mentioned yesterday that this would be an exciting week and today was, er, not so much, but I promise – the best is yet to come!
~Namaste~
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