P.C. students who come to Rome to study abroad find out very quickly how serious the Italians are about food. It’s practically their religion! Enjoying Italian cuisine, learning to dine in courses, and even trying out popular Italian recipes are all a part of the cultural experience of Italy. Our students eventually realize that “eating is more than just eating” for the Italians. I asked the students if they would like to share their experience of food and study abroad. Miguel Bermudez, a Business Management major with a Spanish minor, from Houston, Texas, took up the challenge. His reflection is below:
Food in Italy
As we all know, the food in Italy is pretty bomb. There is no doubt about that. Yes it is true, that the gelato and pizza are delicious- but you would be surprised at how much skinnier Italians are compared to Americans considering how amazing their food is. With that being said, Italian breakfasts are so different. Unlike an American breakfast, Italians usually have a cappuccino with a croissant for breakfast and that’s about it (no eggs or bacon, sadly). With that being said, you get hooked on their cappuccinos considering that they taste so good and only cost 1 euro!
As for lunch, you assimilate to having pizza and pasta almost every day. There are “pizzerias”, as they are known here in Italy, almost everywhere you go! Think of Starbucks in D.C. and Dunkin’ Donuts in Rhode Island (if you’ve ever visited) and multiply it times ten to get a good estimate of how many pizzerias there are in Italy.
One of the cool activities that CEA offers here in Rome is a pasta making class. About 20 of us signed up for it and found out just how interesting and easy it is to make pasta. Most of us know how to cook pasta but we all definitely learned how to make pasta. In this case, we cooked a fettuccine type of pasta. The ingredients include an egg and about one pint of flour. You crack the egg, mix it with the flour, and stir it until you have a nice, soft ball of dough. After a few minutes of trying to get the ball as smooth as possible, you then flatten it out with the rolling pin. Lastly, you slice the dough into long and thick strips of fettuccine and cook it how you would normally cook pasta at home.
As delicious, amazing, and outstanding as the Italian food can be, I cannot be away from Mexican food for that long. I am of Mexican descent and was raised eating my mother’s and family’s one of a kind Mexican dishes. If you ever tell me that Taco Bell is the best Mexican food that you have ever had and that Chipotle is your life, I will possibly cut you. Being in Rome, there is one Mexican restaurant named La Cucaracha (The Cockroach) that has the best reviews online and by word-of-mouth. It might be a horrible name for a restaurant once translated into English but it actually fits very appropriately. The reason is because la cucaracha is a Mexican folk song that arose during the Mexican Revolution and to this day is very well-known among other Latin American countries as well. If you are familiar with the group of Mexican musicians known as mariachi then you will realize that this folk song is a classic that is always played. This restaurant is so busy that you have to call ahead of time to make a reservation if you go there for dinner!
My roommates and I decided to make a reservation and check it out. The restaurant is located on Via Mocenigo, 10, 00192, which is only a short 15 minute walk from our apartment. To my huge surprise, we were seated, served, and done eating in about 30 minutes. What I liked about their menu was that it was divided into Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food. I ordered green enchiladas from the authentic side of the menu while one of my roommates ordered Tex-Mex enchiladas. What I will say is that the plates were a bit pricey compared to the small servings that are given. An average plate costs about 12-14 euros while their delicious margaritas (that Dr. Hagstrom said to “stay away” from!) cost 8 euros.
But even though we paid more than what we ate, the food was still amazing! The workers are nice and they give student discounts. (They are from the same city that my parents are from: Acapulco, Guerrero!) I would recommend this restaurant to all the Mexican food lovers and I would definitely recommend bringing a hot Italian date here if you ever have trouble thinking of a place to take them!
Go Foodie Friars!