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Laatste Stage: the Netherlands

While biking into the wind on Friday with my plastic poncho flapping, I realized that my last study trip, and thus my eight months abroad, were coming to a close. Though bone tired—I had woken up at six and spent the day getting drenched on fishing boats and freezing along with the fish in a … Continue reading

A Cheap Eat in Italy’s Most Expensive City

Three years ago, when I was interning for Philadelphia Magazine’s food editor, I was tasked with eating about a half-a-dozen bowls of phở all over the city. In two days. In the middle of August. I was putting together a piece for the October issue’s Foodie’s Guide to Cheap Eats feature, and trying to prove … Continue reading

When Food School Means Cooking School

The University of Gastronomic Sciences—or, in UNISG student short-hand, “Food School”—does not teach the culinary arts. In Pollenzo, we take courses like “Consumption, Food, and Culture” and “Language of Gastronomy,” which encourage critical and theoretical engagement with the realm of food studies. Sure, it’s not all theory about the commodification of food and the semiotics … Continue reading

Quinto Stage – Lazio

I’m six months into my stint as a gastronome in Italy, and five study trips down. All of this immersion in the world of high-quality foods (and questioning what “quality” even means) has spoiled me, in a way: I’m no longer intrigued by how cheese is made (I’ve memorized the steps) or engrossed in the … Continue reading

Barracuda BBQ

Last week, thanks to Italian Liberation Day, we had four days off from school—a welcome break in this high school-like schedule of classes from 9:00 to 4:00 Monday through Friday. Before bouncing to Berlin on Thursday for some cultural  tourism in the form of museum-hopping, pretzel-munching, and zoo-ogling, I kicked off the long weekend at … Continue reading

Penn Appétit Interview

During the first few weeks of my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania, a constellation of events got me thinking critically about food for the first time. We kicked off the semester with a class-wide discussion of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which introduced me to America’s “national eating disorder”: Americans, who once relied … Continue reading

Quarto stage — Calabria

Last week’s study trip in Calabria kept taking unexpected turns. There was a lot of anxiety-and-nausea-inducing mountain driving in a school bus designed for small children. There was the postprandial “twenty minute stroll” that turned out to be an hour-long full-on trek through forest brush and marsh, complete with two crawls under chain link fences … Continue reading

The New Gastronomes blog

Can’t get enough musings about eating and thinking in Italy? My classmates in the master’s program have been contributing their experiences to The New Gastronomes, a University of Gastronomic Sciences-sponsored blog. I’ve just popped up a post there about memories of my Great Grandma Libretti’s ravioli.

Eating up the Family Tree–Neapolitan Pizza

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been bopping down the boot of Italy with some much-anticipated visitors: my family. I took advantage of the University’s 20%-allowed-absences policy (only in Italy) and extended the front end of my Easter break so that I could show my Aunt Nancy, Aunt Mary Ellen, and brother John around my … Continue reading