Florence 2022 Florence, Italy MSMU Travels

Reflecting on Italian Food Culture

Ciao everyone! I am so happy that you decided to join me again for #ReflectionFriday. Today, I will be sharing a reflection that I shared with my good friend Keagan about what living in Italy for the past two months has been like!

With our spring break adventures coming to an end this week and classes starting back up, we came to the crazy realization that our study abroad experience is already halfway over! Instead of dwelling on what little time we have left, we decided to think back on all of the amazing opportunities that this trip has given us so far in addition to the great insight it has given us into the culture of this incredible country! 

With all of the art, history, and beauty in Italy, especially right here in the city of Florence, my conversation with Keagan could have easily lasted for hours. However, these things were not the focus of our discussion, for they are all characteristics that we knew about the country prior to studying here. Rather, what we talked about was all of the different aspects of Italian culture that surprised us and that we have learned about in more depth while living here.

One of the elements of life in Italy that we both noticed is extremely different from America is the attitude towards food. It is evident from anywhere that food is an incredibly important part of Italian culture, but experiencing its significance in person over the past few weeks has completely altered our perspective and appreciation, especially for the art of cooking. Cooking here calls for a type of patience, precision, and passion that is not commonly shared among people in the United States. While Americans are typically stereotyped for their love of fast food, Italians are known for dedicating an immense amount of time to preparing and enjoying meals with their family and friends. Before coming to Italy, it was extremely rare for us to spend more than one hour eating any meal; but here, it can take several hours to go through all of the different courses served at restaurants! 

Famous for their delicious pasta dishes and tasty pastries, Italians are credited all around the world for the perfection of many amazing meals! Even though I am fully Irish, Italian food has always been my favorite and continues to be to this very day. My love for it grew tremendously in high school when I landed my first official job in a small, family-owned Italian restaurant. Known for serving incredibly authentic Italian dinners, Bona Cucina was quickly rated by multiple food critics as one of the best Italian restaurants in the Philadelphia area. While my favorite part of the job would have to be all of the free food that I got, a close second would be watching the enjoyment on people’s faces as they ate some of the finest Italian food in all of the city!

When I was not waiting on customers, I was in the kitchen with my boss who shared his recipes with me and attempted to teach me how to cook. I haven’t been able to put these skills into practice as much as I would’ve liked these past two years because the dorm rooms on campus don’t have kitchens, which is why I was super excited to find out that I would have one in Italy and that Mount students would be taking cooking classes together! Several weeks ago, we got tips on how to make a delightful pasta dinner from a professional chef and have a pizza-making class coming up soon!

Although I don’t think I want to open my own restaurant with my business degree, I can definitely see myself waitressing again on the side if I ever work in Europe someday! While I have absolutely loved learning about the richness of Italian food culture and history, I had to remember to honor my Irish heritage by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at my favorite Irish Pub in Florence! 

Keagan and I had a great time reflecting on all that we have learned from our study abroad experience so far, and we are excited to do the same on our flight back to the States at the end of the semester! Check back at the end of April to find out all of the other things life in Italy has taught us!

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