Monday, February 2, 2009

Not all italian food is amazing (but most of it is)

While I know the sterotype in Italy is that all of the food is pasta and all of it is to die for and in all honesty i thought this too before i actually got to Italy and LIVED here. The Italian food was one of the reasons that i chose Italy. I knew that i liked pasta and that i would be able to find things to eat that i would like. because if any of you knew me before i came to Italy you will know that i was a very picky eater before i got here to Italy. That it was hard just to get me to try new things so i figured that if i came to Italy that i would only eat pasta and that it wouldn't be a problem..right? I mean if i went to Russia one of the main dishes there is cabbage soup how on earth would i survive on that? so i chose Italy thinking "oh god i love italian food i'll be JUST fine. i bet i wont even find anything i don't like" While if you were to just come here for vacation you could probably only have pasta and have it be some of the most amazing pasta that you have ever eaten in your whole life. I'm also not saying that the "gross" food tastes all that bad either but Italians have a different view on what is ok to eat and what looks or seems to gross to eat then the i have in the usa.

I dont really know how to explain this and it might turn out that i have just lead a really sheltered food life in the USA but here I go. Before I came to Italy I had never eaten (or really even seen) the meat that i was about to eat with the head/feet still attached. When we go and buy meat at the grocery store they kindly cut off the head for you so you can take it home and pretend that it wasnt really a living thing just something that tastes good. I was quite fine with this technique to be completely 100% honest with you. I liked not having to stare my food in the eyes when i went to cut in to it. Well in Italy that is not really the case. In Italy, well not really in Italy but in SARDEGNA, a very traditional meal is baby pig. I have personally before I came to Italy never really eaten baby ANYTHING. but in Sardegna it is completely normal and almost all of the families on Sardegna have baby pig for Christmas dinner and then at random times in the year.

Let me explain. They do not just cook the meat of this pig. they cook the WHOLE thing over the open the fire.. they buy the baby pig whole and they slice right up the stomach through the bottom of the chin (so the head is in two pieces) so that the pig is completely open. They then stick a big pole up through the bottom of the pig and out of the neck so that they can slowly roast this pig over the open fire usually in the kitchen. I have honestly never seen this in my whole life in the USA (apparently there are pig roasts but i have never been to one or honestly never even heard of cooking the entire animal)

When you go to eat this pig you would think that you would normally cut of the head and throw it away right? well no. They cut off the head but then 2 "lucky" people get to eat the head. What is on the head to eat you may ask? well they find things to eat. Like for example: The meat of the cheek is said to be the best meat on the pig, they eat the brain, the tounge, the eyes!!! I didnt even know you could eat eyes before I came to Italy!! They do eat the eyes. That is one thing that grosses me out even more then anything else. I mean how can you eat the eyes of something. its not meat. and i just have these nasty flashbacks to when i dissected a cows eye in biology class and it gushed and was really nasty. i could not imagine putting that in my mouth and actually chewing and swallowing. I still gag when i get a piece of meat fat in my mouth. Needless to say they did not get me to eat eyeball.

While i didnt eat the eyeball they did eventually get me to try the baby pig head. I did end up trying the cheek meat (which to me tasted just like all of the rest of the meat) and i tried the BRAIN!! you are all probably thinking "kendra? eat brain? NO way i dont believe it" but believe it people. your kendra ate pig brain. and i even have pictures to prove it!! i have pictures of me eating brain. i never thought that i would say that!!! but YUP YUP YUP i did it i tried the brain!!

They also have these things called "little birds" I have only eaten 2 kinds of bird in the USA: chicken and turkey. well in italy they also have these "little birds" when i first saw my papà cooking them i was like "OMD CHE COS'E' perchè tu stai cucinando uccellini?" (OMG WHAT IS THAT? why are you cooking little birds?) the reason that i knew that they were little birds is that they still had there little heads and their beaks and wings and feet and EVERYTHING they were still compleetly intact. he told me that these were italian favorites. that if you bought them in a store it was like 100€ for just 10 of these TINEY little birds. meaning you would need at least 20 to make a meal for one person!! but that he saves them from when he shoots them when he goes hunting. I told him that i had never even seen them before that but i would try it when it got time to come to dinner. well i found out that you actually have to pull off the head off of these little birds and crack the skull open with your teeth. I was in aww because this is something i would have never in my life thought that i would do but i was determined to try it. so i did. i know you probably dont believe me but i have pictures!!

They also eat ALOT of vegetables here in italy. I have lived in Italy for 5 months and i can still not bring myself to eat a green olive or a tomato. i know. two very typical Italian things but i can just not eat them. they are just SOO gross. i just dont like them. Also. My family LOVES artichoke! I had never eaten an artichoke before i got to italy. I have been very good at trying everything here in italy but i have tried artichokes: cooked, raw, baked on a fire, in lasagna, and in the oven. and i still dont like them. they well to put it simply they still taste like artichokes.

Over all I LOVE the food in italy it is sooo amazing. although i think i have had more pasta in these 5 months then i have in my whole life times 5. I have a feeling when i get back im not gonna eat it for a while lol. Italian food is really good just some if it is VERY different then it is in the USA. And you all have to promise me. if you do ever come to Italy try something a little more exotic then pasta every day! there are really good Italian dishes that are not pasta!

Vi Voglio TANTO Bene!!!


wagner_w said...

I am really proud of you for trying those foods. However,I would have tried cheek but that is where I would have stopped there. NO eyes No brain Love Dad

alberto venco said...

OMD perchè stai cucinando piccoli uccelli?

lol! that post is fantastic!
my name's alberto, I'm italian and at august I will go to the USA (stafford, VA) for an entire year.
But let me tell you, I don't live in sardegna - I went there only once - and I've never eaten an entire baby pig xD
have you ever seen a "cotechino" or "zampone"? it's a pig's leg, very very fat (with nails too, sometimes! xD obviously, you can't eat it. they're like bones!) it's a classic xsmas' food.
where are you from? if you want to contact me, i leave you my msn's ID (email too)

maybe you can talk me about USA's food!