” Pizza: 3 Julie: 0″
I thought as I methodically sliced my giant “piece” of pizza into inch long, bite-size portions. I watched in amazement as my eight year old host sister devoured a piece the size of her abdomen “come un lupo” (like a wolf) before I had eaten two bites. Oh if I could eat like that and not send my blood suger (not to mention my weight) into a steep climb!
La Collazione (Breakfast)
Meals here are a ceremony, a family affair. Breakfast is the only meal not compulsory, and coincidentally my only essential meal. Breakfasts here resemble more of Britain’s afternoon tea ritual. Breakfast is coffee (meaning espresso) and cookies. The thought of eggs and toast in the morning makes almost every Italian want to vomit. I personally satisfy my morning fruit and protein requisite with bananas and yogurt, which I somehow get away with as acceptable breakfast food.
Il Pranzo (Lunch)
Lunch is a sit-down meal unlike our grab and go American way. The children get out of school at around 1 PM (something I only dreamed of in high school) and head straight home for il pranzo. Il pranzo usually consists of pasta (as always), lettuce or tomatoes (on the side), cheese, wine, and maybe salami. Lunch can like most meals last over an hour, which is of course ok because Italians have la pausa, their version of siesta. Everything closes from 1-3 PM. This is the ideal nap time for those who have consumed a tad too much vino at lunch. As a teacher who starts work at 7:55 AM every morning, I truly enjoy my afternoon pisolino during the pausa.
La Cena (Dinner)
Dinner is very similar to lunch except it tends to include more courses and of course last longer. The first course is obviously pasta pasta pasta. Pasta never gets old, however, as there are a million different ways to prepare it. As the primo piatto my well-trained American mind is constantly confused by the fact that the carbs come first. In fact, I am sometimes tempted to dump some lettuce on top of my pasta, pour some oil and vinegar (when available) on it, and eat down to the pasta from there. I think that might be somewhat impolite, so I refrain. After la pasta, there is sometimes another course that is meat. As I am in the north, this is usually red meat like a hamburger or some kind of sausage type thing. I of course don’t really know what it is I’m eating as I am not accustomed to eating red meat. Again by this time I am well into my food coma and very ready to tuck into the TV room for some Harry Potter with the kids. We have agreed to watch it half in English half in Italian so as to satisfy both my need to better my Italian and the kids’ desires to learn some English.