Friday, June 12, 2015

First week in Rome

I’m writing this morning because I felt obliged to leave my apartment, so I grabbed my computer and moseyed over to the AA Bar (obviously, ‘AA’ stands for American Academy, not Alcoholics Anonymous). I left the apartment in a hurry because the maid just showed up and I didn’t want to be in the way.

Let’s pause for a moment to let that sink in… I have a maid. I have a maid who comes every Friday to clean, bring fresh linens, take out the trash, etc. This place is ridiculous.

Here’s something else that’s completely absurd:
Yesterday I passed my Italian food safety course. My certificate says that my course lasted 6 hours and had been laminated and delivered to Laura’s (Director of RSFP) office before we even arrived to take it. Our class was also about 5 1/2 hours less than 6 hours. Nevertheless, it’s legal for me to handle food in Europe now:

I hardly hope to cover all the details of my first week in Rome, but I have done a few things outside of the kitchen. Once I find my camera’s charger—and stop relying on my iPhone—I’ll have better pictures of the things I do! To my chagrin I don’t have a single picture of the Parthenon, which I briefly visited with Sarah yesterday.

I guess I should introduce Sarah. Sarah Featherby, who I live and work with, has also become my tourism buddy here in Rome. Previously, she worked at the well-known Books for Cooks in London. She likes books as much as me and Lorenzo.

Who is Lorenzo? Lorenzo Tirelli is our Roman friend from the kitchen who has become our gracious tour guide and interpreter. As mentioned, he likes books. He kind of has to: his family owns a little used bookstore, Open Door Bookshop, that specializes in English, French, Spanish, and Italian language books:

Open Door Bookshop

We get along famously. We love food, cooking and books. What more could I ask for?

Well needless to say, we’ve been exploring our neighborhood’s food. Italian food is known for its abundance of vegetables, but I’m really excited also about the meat here. I’m excited to explore meat that is less commonly consumed in the States.

Donkey Testicles
I’m also just excited about the variety and quality of the cured charcuterie—salumi in italiano—that is commonly available. Sarah and I encountered this luscious goodness the other day, just two blocks away from the American Academy at Litro a bar/caffè: 

I really don’t think the novelty of being here is going to wear off soon.

I am just blown away by my neighborhood. Literally a block away from me are these two places:

Fontana dell’Acqua Paola or Il Fontanone, The Big Fountain

A little park in my neighborhood

But sometimes I wonder if I should even bother leaving the American Academy property:

A diagram of the property I live on
When I get sick of reading in the library I can come read here


Hopefully I’ll locate my camera charger soon so that I can shoot some decent pictures of this place. These really don’t do it justice!