Thursday, January 30, 2014

What We Miss

While living in Italy for seven months out of the year, it's inevitable that we're going to miss a few things from our home home. Usually these cravings kick in after the holidays as the month of January drags on and on. We're in the final stretch of our stay here - yes, it's a long way until April, but it's also a long way from September when we first arrived. Aside from our family and friends (of course), what we miss the most is not magazines or movie theaters but rather the variety of different types of food that we have back home.

Obviously we love Italian food. And we are now experts on the specialties of Northern Italy. The food is delicious here, of course - carbonara, canederli, casunziei, pizzas with bresaola and granna, little sandwiches with speck and pickles, cervo - what's not to love? But sometimes you just want something a little different, you know? When those cravings kick in we make our own Mexican food using spices brought from home. We venture to the next town over to visit their "Chinese food" restaurant. We occasionally eat sushi if we're in a city where there's a Japanese restaurant (although the closest one to us is over an hour away).

These days, I'm trying to think of things I can make at home using the ingredients we have in our little valley....then it occurred to me that I could make hummus! Hummus is one of those things that we eat all the time at home, in salads, on crackers, dripping off carrot sticks, but you can't buy it in the grocery store here. And so, as a last-few-days-of-January treat, I made homemade roasted garlic hummus (from this recipe).

And just for fun, a few of the things that we would never find in Cortina:
  • Baking supplies like brown sugar, chocolate chips, liquid vanilla extract and condensed milk
  • Canned pumpkin for making pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads in the fall
  • Cumin, chili powder and any other spice that isn't basil, oregano, tarragon, rosemary or thyme
  • Sesame oil for making noodle dishes with - and scallions and Sriracha for that matter, so that's really out
  •  Anything that comes in a packet that you "just add water" to in order to make it, such as gravy - ha! Never.
  • Peanut butter
...and on the flip side - the one thing that I can't find at Safeway back home and that we CRAVE when we're not in Italy is a big hunk of fresh Parmesan cheese. Italy has ruined us forever in the Parmesan cheese department and we've become huge Parmesan snobs. Oh well.