Monday, February 06, 2012

Home Is Where The Stomach Is

Canadian living.
Italians are a bit of a strange breed. They do some weird things that I don't totally understand or agree with, even after living here for five months. Hitting the five month mark means that my journey in Italy is past the halfway point, and now I have just under four more to go. A lot of people are asking me if I'll be excited to go home, and I actually can say that yes, I will be. Of course I'm going to be sad to leave Rome with its hot weather, extraordinary gelato, fantastic art and fashion and history, the friends I've made and of course the city itself. But I've been away from home for a really long time now, and it'll be nice to return to my natural habitat. For the past couple of days I've really been missing it, which might have something to do with the fact that I'm stuck inside of the house. Until the snow melts, I can't really go anywhere because I don't have any proper boots. 
I don't want to say that I'm homesick, because I haven't been crying or having vivid dreams of Canada. But I miss sleeping in my comfortable, familiar bed. I miss being able to walk around my house in a pair of Victoria's Secret boxer shorts and a white T shirt without  worrying
Cleo the model.
A.K.A Kitty Purry.
about feeling under dressed. I miss happily chatting about Tyra Banks with my super cool Cuban hairdresser every other month. I miss my friends and family. I miss having a bike to ride down the trails and country roads in my area. I miss lying on the couch and watching Oprah. I miss being able to pick up the phone and know that someone actually might be calling to talk to me. I miss my big yard filled with acres of green grass and trampoline. I miss being able to drive my car. I miss having all of my clothes and belongings in one place. I miss inexpensive prices on clothes and food. I miss my diva cat Cleo and my other cat, fatso-but-unconditionally-loves-me Boo. I miss being able to speak English 24/7. And most significantly... I miss home food.
Every time I get the munchies (which is a lot), I so badly want to go to the kitchen and grab
some smartfood popcorn, goldfish crackers, crispy minis, veggies and dip, or fix myself a plate of multigrain tortillas with
wholesome salsa. If I'm really hungry, I'll make some KD, Campbell's vegetable soup or Zoodles. But oh, no... Italians don't do that. Nothing that comes in a can or a box works over here. And Italian's don't snack. At least not the way that I do. They do have chips at the supermarkets, but they come in one flavour - original. Um, boring. Who even likes original chips when you have fabulous, delicious salty and crunchy options like salt & vinegar, dill pickle, sour cream & onion and ketchup? And let's not forget the phenomenon of raw cookie dough. 
I feel a bit unconfident saying the word supermarket when defying where Italians do their 
One true love.
groceries because there's really nothing super about them. They're tiny, expensive, and have about two aisles. While Skyping with my friend the other night I told her that the morning after I come home, I am hopping in my car and driving straight to Sobey's where I can splurge on food. I already told my parents that when I come home, I hope the kitchen is empty so that I can enjoy shopping for groceries. Call me crazy, but I actually love doing groceries. I mean, what's more satisfying than a gigantic store filled with food?! NOTHING.
Another thing I miss is salad. When I say salad, I mean healthy, romaine lettuce done up in a variety of themes. It can be an Asian theme with Asian dressing, chai main noodles, and almonds. It can be a Greek salad with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives and a vinaigrette dressing. It can be a summer salad with poppy seed dressing with diced 
mandarin oranges and raspberry's. Or it can be an 'Italian' salad with Caesar dressing, croutons, and vegetables. The options of salads in my life go as far as the eye can see. But in Italy, a salad consists of small leaves, olive oil, and salt. That's it. What the hell kind of a 'salad' is that? Italians also peel the skin off of all their fruit. This is how they do it:
Step 1: Put a plate on the table. You need a plate no matter what fruit it is.
Step 2: Take the fruit, and set it on the plate. Go get a knife.
Step 3: While holding the fruit in one hand and the knife in the other, slowly and precisely cut the skin off the fruit. Banana? You need a knife. Orange? You need a knife. Apple? You betcha.
I had a discussion with my host family about it and told them how strange I thought it was 
that they didn't eat the skin on the apple. The skin is the healthiest part - its where all the nutrients and vitamins are. I expressed my feelings so greatly and told them that this is not how fruit was meant to be eaten. If worried about pesticides, you run the damn apple under the tap and voila - edible. No knife or plate needed. Of course they probably thought I was a savage beast and continued eating with their three step process. In Canada, the steps to eating fruit is to pick it up, and then bring it to your mouth. That's pretty much it.
Although this final slam isn't about food, it is another strange behaviour that Italians endorse in. Before giving away what it is, let me first ask you a question. Where do you keep your PJ's? Probably tucked away neatly in your closet or dresser, right? The pyjamas that the Italians plan on wearing that night (probably the only thing they plan ever) are kept underneath their pillows. Which is actually a really cute concept, if you think about it.
PJ's under your pillow? Ok. 

Not supplying Kraft Dinner or Lays Chips in your 'super'markets? Not ok.