As much I as cherish my memories from my university days in California and Italy, I realize now that the cafeteria food really sucked back then.
The grub at the University of Padua was, hands down, a lot better than U.C.L.A.’s. And getting the small plastic cup of wine that was served with your meal on Via San Francesco — red or white, optional — was pretty nifty. But it was still a far cry from the daily bread offered up in the chow line at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont where I’m teaching this week.
Those are some of “Digital Age Food Writing” students yesterday, above. And the tray below was my own.
That’s tartrà on the right, a savory pudding made with eggs, onions, and herbs, a classic dish of Piedmontese country cooking.
And I know that my wife Tracie P will be glad to see that I got my daily allotment of freshly picked leafy greens! (Well, she already knows because we are constantly messaging each other throughout our days on either continent, but just the same a picture is worth a thousand words…)
Our one Russian classmate and I bonded over the beet soup that was also on the menu yesterday.
She remarked that it reminded her of the borscht that she ate as a kid. She was surprised to learn that it was one of my childhood standbys as well, a staple of Russian-Jewish immigrants like my grandparents (oops, did I just say immigrants?).
We are halfway through our culinary writing class and this afternoon, following our morning session on food blogging and social media trends, I’ll lead my first seminar on “Wine in Boccaccio’s Decameron.”
Pane per i miei denti, as they say in Italian! Something [bread] I can really sink my teeth into!
Every day this week, I’m doing back-to-back three-hour seminars with a one-hour break in between. It’s only Wednesday and I’m already fried but nothing could be more exhilarating for me than to find myself back on campus, the habitat where I feel most at home and fulfilled.
And as if I didn’t have a teaching load heavy enough, I’ll be playing a set of music tomorrow night at L’Alfieri on the edge of downtown Bra, a township that lives and breathes the Slow Food ethos. The restaurant/bar is run by a Belgian alumnus of the university who serves a international menu, including great Indian food, together with craft beers and natty wines. Come and join us if you happen to be in this neck of the woods!