My Internship: An Homage to Pork

So there I was, sitting nervously across the table from the marketing director of Ferrarini, a family owned company that produces typical products from Emilia Romagna (Prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar, Lambrusco, etc.). I look around me, studying the hanging legs of cured pork, its salty sweet perfume permeates the room. Coming to from my pork induced daze, I realize the director has been studying my every move since the moment I walked into the office.

Preparing to ask his first question, my heart skips a beat, “So why do you care about Italian food? To me it would make more sense for an American to want to promote his own culinary culture no?.” Great. His seemingly nonchalant question has me starting to sweat. I look to the pork for support. “Well, sir, most modern American food corporations of similar size to Ferrarini have been overwhelmed by mass industry. No longer is there passion, or pride in the product being produced. Ferrarini, is a large company, but is family owned, serving consumers products that are Mr. Ferrarini himself would serve to members of his own family.”

This was obviously a good answer, because I saw Mr. Marketing crack a smile. After a series of more demanding questions, I convinced the folks at Ferrarini to take me under their wing, and offer me an internship. I am hoping that this turns into a full-time paying gig… but only time will tell..

I can see it now, my religiously Jewish high school writes an article in the school paper titled “Alums, Where Are They Now?” and there I will be, the President of Pork. An overplayed oxymoron that happens to be my reality. Sorry God, but when opportunity calls….

I start working in mid-June, on various projects they have proposed, particularly involving my internet skills. See mom? I told you my internet addiction would turn out to be positive 😉

Future, Here I Come...

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Transportation Alternatives: My Hell on Earth

Just a quick check-in. Though I feared earlier in the week that my Spain/France trip would be canceled on account of this lovely volcanic disaster going on here in Europe, my school decided to instead take a BUS to BORDEAUX! AHHH!!

We are leaving in about 30 mins and I will probably get there between 14-15 hours from now. This is a time in my life where a mild/deep sedative would be highly, highly useful..

Ah, the lives we gastronomes lead.

See ya next weekend! That is if I make it out of here alive!

“Home” for the Holidays

Despite the fact that everyone has dispersed themselves to various parts of the world for the seasonal holidays, I am the lone Jew in Parma on Christmas. Hah! Nonetheless, there are some perks to this situation. A) I get the entire house to myself B) ….. Yeah there really is no second pro to this situation.

Yesterday, feeling a bit homesick and nostalgic for something familiar, I decided to rent the new Woody Allen film “Whatever Works” on iTunes and cook myself up a nice hearty meal in the winter weather. Though I don’t have a photograph of the final result I highly recommend trying the concoction I made because it was completely delicious and totally hit the spot.

I made an American/Italian omelette, an impromptu creation, that ended up being a groundbreaking gastronomic experience. (despite my hyperbolized description)

Here’s the recipe:

Michelle’s Christmassy Omelette:

  • Finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • Half Yellow Bell Pepper, Diced
  • Handful of quartered baby tomatoes
  • 2 slices of cured meat (I used Bresaola which is almost impossible to find in the US)
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt
  • Grated Parmigiano Cheese

1) Sautee onions and garlic with some olive oil in a pan until the onions become translucent and your house smells like an Italian Trattoria

2) Add in other veggies until they are relatively well cooked, tender to the bite

3) Add in your cured meat of choice (bacon can work as well)

4) In a separate bowl, crack 2 eggs, beat with salt and a grated cheese (amounts depend on personal taste)

5) Add eggs to vegetables, let cook until tender

6) Top with a little grated cheese and freshly cracked pepper

7) ENJOY

Alright folks, off to do some holiday shopping in -2 degree weather.. Can’t wait. *ahem* Going to Tuscany to celebrate Christmas with a friend of mine, will update soon.

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year!!!

Anthony Bourdain: My Sexual Inspiration

Pardon my honesty for this entry’s title, but that is the only description that comes to mind when I look at the photo below.

As I continue to eat my way through Italy, expanding my waistline as days pass… I come across photos such as this that increase my other forms of biological appetites..

Mr. Anthony Bourdain, thank you for being disgustingly sexy.

Mr. Anthony Bourdain: Chef, Writer, Sex Machine

That is all..

Eating my Emotions: The ‘Heart’-Ships of a Gastronome

You know the days where the only thing you want to do is drink a bottle of wine with an incredibly long straw and hide under the bed?? Well, thank god I am in Italy because eating my emotions takes on an entirely new meaning, a superior echelon per se…

Eating an inordinate amount of various pastas, marinated vegetables, grilled shrimps, chocolates, and other various necessities at the ALMA culinary academy (the most presitigious in Italia) allows me to forget my troubles, frustration over my Italian ex boyfriend, and general disregard for life on gray days.

Today being Saturday, I tried to forget my aching heart (ah, Italian romance) and went the open street market here in Parma. I bought soo many vegetables and for so cheap that I almost feel guilty.

10 EURO!

Not to mention the most insanely amazing ricotta that has ever passed through lips. Let me tell you something, if tasting cheese and buying cheap vegetables is enough to make me cry…. perhaps there is an indication there of some underlying emotional upset, but you know what? I am eating my emotions, and loving every god damn bite.

Il Mio Palazzo: The Italian Mansion

Waking up at 7am in a haze of both jet lag and being licked in the face by my friend’s wolf (yes, wolf) I was very much mentally prepared to move into my own place, one that I have been anticipating for the past month and a half..

After paying a 300E fee as a deposit for my place, my new roommates and I anxiously arrived at our apartment, which, from the outside is quite impressive. Made in the traditional Italian architectural style, the house towers above the street in 3 floors, large and yellow, covered in vines and surrounded by large trees.

My being the pessimist, I assumed the beauty of the outside was a nice façade to mask a horror that lurked inside..I could not have been more wrong.

The door creaked open as we looked inside with anticipatory excitement… this is our new home.

(granted things look a little stark now but we’re working on it)

Entrance Room
Our Living room... One of those windows opens to a Balcony
La Mia Cucina (my Kitchen)

And most importantly… My dear bedroom and my beloved bed.

My Room!
Delicious
Complementary Ikea Light

Albeit the fact that I spent an additional 210E on various essentials at Ikea yesterday (Ikea in Italy?!?!), I am beginning to settle in quite nicely. Learning how to live on your own is much easier said than done.. I’ve eaten nothing but Mueslix and yogurt for the past 2 days (breakfast/lunch/dinner). Let’s hope my cooking skills improve as the year goes on……

 

Viva la Visa: Overcoming Italian Bureaucracy!

Well after enduring a nailbiting month of waiting and negotiating with the bitter Italians that work at the consulate general of Los Angeles, I have persevered and FINALLY received by beautiful little passport in the mail, stapled in it my study visa that lasts 1 years time.

If studying abroad for a year was this complicated, imagine what moving to Italy altogether would entail. Oy it pains me to fathom.

I’ve been really taking in my American surroundings in these final days here at home. The wide city streets, excessively large parking lots for our excessively large cars (for excessively large people?). The conveniences we have here are unparalleled. Only in America can you buy cereal and a lawn chair under the same roof… or antacids at 3am…or a donut from the local fry-ery at 4am.

Regardless of convenience, living abroad puts the value of these things into perspective. What is more important, an extra large pizza for the price of thrift store underwear or a normal personal pie baked with love and attention?

I leave the day after tomorrow. Goodbye America, Buongiorno Parma.