Summing Up Italian 393


Every region across the globe is responsible for appropriately defining and characterizing a unique culture in order to identify to an individual origin. Though large land bodies have its own societal traditions, such as countries and neighboring states, there can be less generalized cultures that are more closely tied to a smaller population. Food is an incredibly important aspect to the diversity of different cultures around the world and allows area specific dishes to be a significant part of a culture. The remarkable country of Italy has been blessed with several different cultures due to many reasons, including its geography and natural resources, therefore, countless traditional foods that the country is known for. This semester in Italian 393, I have learned a great deal of information regarding Italian cuisine and how it varies. I found many aspects to be fascinating, though I cannot say that I would appreciate every single dish discussed. The films viewed in class and the books read outside of class were an interesting connection, but did a wonderful job of connecting the food with the culture and gave a more in depth link to the course material. Italian 393 provided me with a more clear understanding of how strong the relationship is between food and culture. I sincerely believe that I have a changed view of Italian cuisine as well as a new outlook on atypical foods.

My past blogs are a true indication of what I have learned in this course and explain me likes and dislikes. Certain blog posts have also shown how I was able to tie the learned material regarding food with other aspects of Italian culture through film and literature. Finally, they have reflected how my views on Italian culture and food have progressed in a positive direction throughout the course. Thanks to Lucia and the specific course material, I believe that I have grown to appreciate the delicacies of other cultures.

My original interest in taking courses on Italian language and culture involved my heritage. But after I was unable to finish my Italian minor, I still believed that Italian 393 would still be a perfect course for me. The material covered by the course hits home as I was given the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of my family. I am very used to hearing stories and how things were done back in Italy, but the course material confirmed the information and assured me that my relatives are not making things up!

I found this class to be one of the most interesting classes that I have taken during my college career because of the course material. Everything from the completely different styles of film to the obvious differences in foods, I was very excited to attend class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My favorite class topic definitely concerned the cheeses of the regions throughout Italy.  I thought it was interesting that my family is not the only ones that eat cheeses by itself at dinner. And also that my dad is not crazy for taking time to inspect the cheeses he picks out at our family market! I was also excited about learning about Italian wines because I am far from being a connoisseur and the rest of my extended family is very well informed about wines. Learning about DOC and DOCG in this class was awakening for me because I had previously been taught about this in another class, but the teacher did not explain and I did not understand. The labels indicating the authenticity and the types of wine helped me to understand. I was also very pleased to learn about the different, traditional Italian dishes that I was completely unaware of. Most of these were from the south and coast regions because my family is from the north. Most of the fish entrees were not ones that I have ever heard of, but if I can get Nonna to make them with me, I will surely give them a try! This semester I even tried calamari for my first time and became a huge fan! But not of the tentacle ones, just the round pretty looking ones!

In watching the different films in class, I was able to gain an understanding for the Italian culture. How influential food is in defining it. The food of Italy and its regions have individual specialties that lay a foundation for their culture. In “Facing Windows,” the food, baked goods in particular, represented a sort of affection and trust between the old man and young woman. Meanwhile a Russian soup, Ukah, represented infidelity, which could have several political meanings about the European nations and their characteristics. The books that we have read are also an obvious reflection of the strong connection between food and the Italian culture. Our blogs follow the story line of our “food bible” so that we can create our own story as our knowledge of Italian cuisine progressed.

In general, I believe that this class has broadened my perspective on Italian culture and foods, which also reminding me of my individual traditions of my own Italian American culture. I think that this class has taught me to be open to trying new foods, like fish and seafood. I have never cared to try fish, but in an earlier post I spoke about how I tried Chilean sea bass and it was delicious. I think that I will begin to expand my taste pallet and learn to enjoy a wider variety of foods that we have learned about in class because I do love food so much!

I am grateful for having the opportunity to enroll in Italian 393. I have been able to share my experiences with food and appreciate others experiences with them as well. I have learned about Italian culture and now understand how and why food lays a foundation for the societal traditions. This class has taught me to be more open to consuming other nationalities delicacies and I look forward to trying them. I highly recommend this class so that other students can have a window into Italian culture just as I have.


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