My cultural challenge this past week was centered around the importance of food preparation, type, and dining experience in Italy, and what better way to explore this topic than participate in a cooking course and group dinner? Two chefs at Hotel Meridiana graciously spent a few hours teaching my classmates and I how to make pizza, tagliatelle, spaghetti, and tiramisu from scratch. Being of Italian descent, I had made homemade traditional dishes in the past, but it is another thing to cook in Italy. The process of crafting each dish is truly an art form, all stemmed from love and respect for the practice. The entire time the chefs from La Meridiana were interacting with my study abroad group, they never skipped a beat, always smiling and laughing, and eager to help us perfect the technique. I admired how simplistic each ingredient list was for the different dishes we made; it was refreshing to know we were about to enjoy food made from fresh, wholesome ingredients, as compared to the plethora of processed and artificial ingredients in many food products sold in the United States.
Following a few hours crafting all the food, we ate each dish made for dinner at the hotel. I could genuinely taste the freshness in each dish, and everything was delicious! Dining with my study abroad group was a great way to end the day, just enjoying the company of each other. There is great beauty in embracing the more simplistic lifestyle of Italy, reflected in food and other aspects of culture. I am excited to bring some of this mindset home to the U.S., as well as re-creating these dishes in my kitchen!