The spots started boiling up and I didn’t know what to do. I itched and I scratched and I couldn’t quite seem to rid of the mysterious red that protruded on my legs and on the cheeks of my face. Bumpy and taken over, it was clear that my body had quite the reaction to the new Italian lifestyle I had been living in and most importantly, eating in. I never would have guessed that one could break out in a rash merely from consuming too many carbs. The pasta, the bread, and the many, many pastries shocked my American body and revealed the surprise that carbs can be the main portion of every meal of the day, and that’s okay.
Aside from this graphic and hysterical reaction to carbs, my experience with real, authentic Italian food has been impeccable. Rather than an experience, food has considerably been given to me in the form of a relationship. Each meal is a long, drawn out process connected by multiple dots, perfectly aligned for a delicious taste and ambiance.
The first course is connected beautifully with a glass of wine, then paired with a conversation of any topic with the neighbor beside your plate, followed by a huge bowl of pasta nearly overflowing into your lap. When that part is done, another line is drawn. Bread is brought to then clean the remains of the empty plate, making it glisten with white once again. This is a true celebration and respect for the deliciousness embarked upon the corners and crevasses inside your mouth.
Flavors bounce around my tongue with each new dish I try and each new restaurant’s house wine. And the final destination of this intriguing and divine experience? The moment where you actually have to ask the waiter for the check, rather than being brought your waiver of affirmation to leave the building before you can even scarf down the last bites on your plate.
This is the biggest difference from the relationship with food in Italy than it is in America. Here, it is a time and place to reflect upon the goodness I am diving into and salivating from. At home, the meals I eat are easily rushed through and looked over as I continue to jump to the next part of my day or night. The conversations and friendships I have made over the simplicity of food in Italy has not only expanded my taste buds, but also my pallet of knowledge and cultural pursuit.
I used to say that I love carbs so much that I nearly inhale bread, but that should never be the intake of something that performs as such a delight. The insane amount of grain products here are prepared with colors beyond imagination and with tastes beyond compare. Never shall I inhale the bread in front of me again, but I will let it soak into my heart right next to the Italian food that has made its mark there forever.
I’m proud to say that after some time, my American body did some adjusting to the carbs on carbs on carbs. I no longer break out in rashes while attempting to keep up with Italian food’s fulfillment. Step by step, bite by bite, I’m blending into this place, one less rash at a time.
Chi sono: Alyson Bisang, sto studiando all’estero all’università della Tuscia e sono una fedele studentessa dell’università dell’Arkansas. Il mio percorso si è intrecciato con le magiche strade di Viterbo per quest’estate. Sto studiando giornalismo e vorrei lavorare nel mondo delle pubbliche relazioni. Se mi cercate, mi troverete in un bar, seduta al sole, mentre mangio della frutta e facendo foto delle belle facce e dei bei posti di questo mondo.