Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Italian Food, Trash and People

I wasn't going to write today, but feeling somewhat inspired after my most excellent day and even better late afternoon siesta.     Have a bunch of random, very disconnected thoughts to share.

First, let's start with italian food.   So, I thought that maybe as part of this blog I would occasionally post a recipe and some follow along pictures of the fabulous italian concoctions I am whipping up in my little kitchen.  I love food blogs, love to read them, love the photography... thought maybe I'd try it out on my own given I am here and have pretty much nothing else to do at the moment.

So last Friday, after that wonderful trip to my new central market, I decided that it was time to give it a shot.  My dad had left, it was my first night alone, and it seemed like a good thing to do.   And it was... at the time.   Problem is, life got in the way almost every day since then and it no longer really felt appropriate to post something so trivial such as how I made up my very own recipe for amatriciana.   Just wasn't feeling right to me.

Every day I've been posting pictures, running across the photos of my first dinner thinking, maybe today is the day.    So, turns out, today is the day.    I'm tired of seeing the photos in my queue and had a revelation that makes this a little more interesting.

I am really not going to post a recipe today.  If I did, it would go something like this.    Throw some pancetta and garlic in a pan.   Sautee it.  Add some tomato sauce.   Salt and pepper.   Cook some pasta.   Al dente of course.   Mix it all together.

That is really not that interesting.   What is interesting to me is what I am observing now that I have been 'cooking' almost every day since that first night.   I put that in quotes because I haven't really been cooking so much as throwing whatever ingredients I have together in a pan and then attempting to make it photo worthy by throwing a little cheese or fresh basil on top.   My revelation is that every single thing I made looks almost exactly the same.    Maybe a slight variation in shape or texture, but really, it is all the same.    Red, green, white.   Minus the first night, where I had zero fresh (green) ingredients.  At the start, I think I am working on something a little unique, but nope, all the same.    Take a look... have consolidated them all here for you to make things easier...

See what I mean?   Last night's dinner immediately above was my favorite.  I got sick of pasta and substituted chickpeas which made me a much happier girl.    On another note, the fact that I am eating alone means that once I make something, not only do I get to eat it for dinner that night, but actually over and over and over again until it is gone.   I am so done with cooking, and really, eating, at the moment. 

With all this in mind, I've decided to scrap the recipe posting idea until such time that I actually make a recipe that requires a little originality and is worth sharing. 

On to the trash... 

I may have mentioned the trash a day or two ago.   I know it may seem like a trivial thing, but it truly is mention-worthy.    At home, trash is pretty simple.   Either it can be recycled or it can't be.   Two different bins.   Both of which make their way out to the trash man on the same day (or so John tells me).   Easy. 

When I moved in to this flat, I received maybe a five minute instruction on every single appliance and important piece of information that I needed to know in order to make things run correctly.   Three of those minutes were probably spent on the overview of the italian trash system.   Yes, system. 

I'll try and make this quick.    There are four, yes, four, different types of trash here.   There's your basic organic, food material trash that goes in the brown bag and can simply be thrown out at the bucket downstairs on your way out the door.   Simple.   Then, there's the stuff that can't be recycled and really doesn't fit into any other category.   For this you have to find your own plastic bag (yes, the rest seem to be supplied by the italian government), fill it with your trash in this category and then bring it downstairs and throw it in the bucket which is next to the organic trash bucket. 

So far so good.  No real restrictions other than to get it into the right bag and the right bucket.   

Two categories left.   First being metals and glass.   These go in the bright blue (government supplied) plastic bag.   I can deal with that.   But here's the catch, the bright blue bags have to be hand delivered to the appropriate drop off point(s) in the city (don't worry, there is a special trash map with designated locations).   Not only that, but you can only drop them off on Tuesdays and Fridays between the hours of 9:30 and 10:30.  OK, one, lately, it is a rarity that I am even functional by that time and two, this just seems way overcomplicated. 

But I'm not done.   The final category is paper and 'card' materials.   These go in the white bag that needs to be hand delivered to designated spot (different than the ones above) on either Wednesday or Saturday between the hours of 7:30 and 10:30.   

Maybe its just me, but the whole thing just seems a little out of control.    It may be my process training and experience, or just extreme common sense talking, but really?   Really?  Needless to say, I have a little corner of my flat towards the door in the kitchen that is lined up with all of the appropriate colored bags in various states ready for the big drop off when I finally feel like making that a priority.  I am actually waiting for John I think on this one.   Don't worry... it is really just paper and glass.   Nothing disgusting.   I'll refrain from posting a photo. 

So, you can see why these "little things" are really kind of big things.    Nothing is super easy and it is certainly not intuitive.     Ah, the joys of being a temporary Roman... 

Lastly, people.    This will be quick. 

Today was finally gorgeous again.   Bright blue skies, sunny and hot.   I realize now that sunny and hot also means dirty and hoards and hoards of people.   I never thought I'd say it... but those long rainy days there were soothing in comparison.     I felt like I needed a shower after my shower when I got back this afternoon.   For pure photographic fun and cuteness factor, I'll share a couple of people related photos from my adventure this afternoon. 

Interesting that these guys had the same idea... I also wonder if that guy on the left in the top picture realizes this other guy is probably not listening... 

And, admit it,  she is just adorable...

Ciao for now.    I wonder why my spell checker doesn't recognize the word italian.   If I am truly spelling it wrong, please, someone, tell me.   

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