I like the Chinese food. Granted. The fried pork can be divine. And yes, Peking- duck is something else. However, when one eats in a canteen which does not seem particularly eager to switch up the concept now and then, you are bound to get tired of peppers and sweet- and- sour sauces. Also, I had a bit of a romance with the dumplings a couple of weeks back, but now I get nauseous just by the thought of them and their vinegar… Furthermore, we are talking back to basics when it comes to our accommodation: no kitchens, no refrigerators, no cooking materials whatsoever. In fact, the electricity probably couldn’t handle that kind of equipment. This means no milk (ever), no things that need to be refrigerated, no toast (only weird gooey bread they claim is ‘French’. It’s not. It just… isn’t), no butter, no cheese. Nothing. (In desperate times, there is always the Bridge Café or Costa Coffee)
So, in times like these, living with team Italia comes in very handy. Marco P and Beatrice had some Italian ingredients delivered to them lately, which was celebrated with an Italian feast at British Freddie’s (wonderful) apartment. I prostrate myself before them and thank them from the bottom of my heart for inviting me (as a mere fan of their culture, and not a participant by birth) to this culinary Nirvana:
The door opens to Freddie’s. Fragrance of garlic, fresh tomatoes and bread fresh off the frying pan remind me of European dining. Then come the fireworks: PARMIGGIANO! PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA! PECCORINO!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD THE PECCORINO!!!! SALAMI!!!!!! I don’t even care if I spell this the right way: true and heartfelt appreciation doesn’t need to be correctly spelled to be sincere (old Erik- saying). There was a satisfatction in my stomach I haven’t felt in a long time. RED WINE!!!!! BORDEAUX!!!!!! (And obviously- drinking this- I thought of songs of the traditional Swedish academic hubs- Lund and Uppsala- as we always sing when we have bigger dinner parties involving alcohol, and there is a particular song about Bordeaux wine). My tastebuds were on fire. My mouth was savouring every moment. Spirits were high. The taste! The taste…
I could tell that all exchange-students truly appreciated this as a thing which they had longed for. After all, few things are so directly linked to culture in our minds, as what we eat. And that night, everyone got a taste of something which may not have been the exact idea of home (for the non-Italians), but something which comes very close to it.
Crew Italia, I thank you. Few times before have I enjoyed a meal so much. And Italian cuisine is quite simply a firework of flavours.
I guess it’s true what they say… Italians simply do it better.