Siena pt. 3 - "A kitchen is just a kitchen"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wow, things are moving so quickly. Our second (or third?) day of school was a blast. Giuliana took us out of class and introduced us to her friend Antonio who owns a meat/cheese/sandwich/wine shop that is famous world-wide right here in Siena. He talked to us about his shop, what he does, his passion for food. He said "Wine is culture. Cheese is culture. I do this because I love it."

While we were there, Rick Steves shows up, that guy who, you know, casually wrote an entire travel book about Italy. Seriously, so many great things have happened here and it's only a few days in. It's unbelievable, truly.

Anyway, Antonio gives us all of this free cheese and meat which he hand makes every morning in his shop. I spoke to him after and he talked a lot about his passion for food and wine. He said, "I don't do it for the money. I only need money to pay the bills. This is my passion. I make everything by hand. It is a culture. Everyday I make something I'm proud of."

I thought about that a lot. This is his entire life. He loves it, he will do it everyday for the rest of his life. And he is so happy. I'm finding out that most Italians are happy people. Because they make it a priority. They are able to spend time doing things they love with the people they love. It's an aspect of their culture I hope to be able to take back home with me. Everyone in America rushes and rushes and runs to the next thing, the next meeting, the nest appointment the next whatever.

Here, don't be surprised if you spend hours at the same table chatting with people about their day, about their life about their passions. I visited with Antonio a few days later and he talked about cooking and how it takes a long time. In fact, almost all good things take time. I'm not a very good cook and when I told him that and he said, "You know, a kitchen is just a kitchen. You enter it, you wash your hands, you create something and then you clean up and wash your hands again. You take the time to make something beautiful and you make the time to enjoy it. But in the end, it's just a kitchen. You can always wash your hands and start over."

I'm taking cooking classes at school in addition to language classes and I'm thinking I will definitely try to make more time to create things and be excited and passionate about life and also what I eat. These people are incredible. They're passionate about everything. Life, food, fashion, talking, yelling, everything! It's amazing.

If you couldn't tell from the photos, my teacher Giuliana is an amazing, happy, incredibly inspiring person. I used to love attending her classes during my freshman year because no matter what kind of day I was having, she brightened it with her smile and energy. She is bursting with passion and it's contagious. I'm hoping to bring that home with me.

If you're having a hard time right now, or just want a pick-me-up, try making yourself a beautiful meal or take yourself out for dinner and just enjoy life. If it doesn't go well, just remember: you can always wash your hands and try again.



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