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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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To Write or to Rome?

Uploaded: May 8, 2016
If you were here last week, you know we are Food Partying! in Italy.

Surrounded by gods, angels, and voluptuous female statues, I thought the words would just flow out this week like melted gelato and glaze the page with poetry and a rich sweetness. But alas, my mind won't still. I'm having a kind of kid-in-the-candy-store distraction. Who wants to sit to write - I want to Rome!

So until calmness returns, here's a few funny food pictures and culinary curiosities seen around the country.

Gelato - not as good as it once was. A lot tastes big batch-produced. You have to look for the artisan, small shops to get something worth eating. Especially if it's your second cone for the day!

Italy is lacking in ice and refrigeration. They give like three cubes in your Aperol Spritz (Rome's signature drink). Even the vegetables in stores are not cooled. Maybe that's why no one eats many veggies here. They are all wilted. Could help explain why the U.S. uses so much more energy than other countries.

The eggs are not refrigerated either, just like in Mexico.

The organic eggs come with a code to track online farm location, what the chicken ate, etc...

What it is not lacking is water. All over the country these old water fountains spill drinkable water onto the street day and night. Finally they have started to turn some off, realizing the waste.

The frozen section is much smaller than in the States, but they have these bulk frozen foods that I think offer more variety than what we have.

They sell grains in cans.

Their pepperocini is our red pepper flake.

Gluten-free is here, but not trendy. Organic is here, but small. And this is one of the few cultures where pickles do not play an important role in the cuisine.

The country is very recycle conscious. There are oil bins on the streets for public use in Rome, and even the very small towns I visited like Amelia, compost food scraps curbside.

But viva la difference! See you next week State-side.

Ci vidiamo!

What is it worth to you?


Posted by WB via Facebook, a resident of another community,
on May 10, 2016 at 2:46 pm

I have greatly enjoyed your blog on Palo Alto Online. Awesome photos too. Interesting commentary about the quality of the gelato and how pickled food is not part of the Italian diet. Do they eat yoghurt? Have a good trip home!

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on May 10, 2016 at 9:45 pm


Yoghurt was common for breakfast but it wasn't artisan or what I would call "high-vibe." No one was eating it for the probiotics.

Posted by Jes' Sayin', a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on May 14, 2016 at 12:15 am

I was in Italy 4 years ago and went all over -- Milan, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Venice and the food in Rome in particular was the worst. On the train I had a conversation with a Sicilian gentleman who explained to me why. Rome is kind of like New York. Everyone there is from somewhere else. So they have food traditions, but they can't do them; they have to do the Roman tradition of the same eight basic dishes because the audience demands it, but they don't actually know those dishes well. Hence, mediocrity.

The best gelato was in Florence by the way, in terms of both price and quality.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on May 14, 2016 at 6:01 am

It's interesting that you mention that Jes' Sayin. This is my second time in Italy and I don't really find the food all that amazing - where ever. Tried and true recipes don't make great food for some eaters, they make food people expect. For instance, one complaint I heard over there was a chef who added garlic to a classic sauce and got reprimanded for it. "It's not the way it should be," was the response. To mio, much of the food tastes similar, no matter where one is. It's not bad, it's just not amazing like I hear so many say. And more variety of vegetables please Italy!! Seasonal right now is not eggplant and zucchini. Next time I want to travel South West, at least to get a little more spice in the mix.

Posted by vrajesh shah, a resident of College Terrace,
on May 31, 2016 at 2:38 am

seems dedicated work, keep writing

Posted by swap, a resident of Monta Loma,
on Jun 4, 2016 at 6:40 am

i am visiting first time to your blog awesome post you have written, thank for sharing

Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 11, 2016 at 11:13 am

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