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Archive for September 8th, 2009

We find ourselves snacking on fruit a lot.  There are so many reasons why.  First of all, there so much of the juicy stuff in season.  I was walking along this morning, not planning on buying food, when I saw one lonely market stall, with the most bulbous figs! I bought a basket, and we ate most of them before I remembered to take a picture:

figgi

What I should have done is have my son hold his little fist on the plate, too.  Then, you would have gotten an idea of the size of these gorgeously squishy, heavy fruits.

Jack loves the melon, though.  He’s not a fig guy, so far:

melone

Jack had his second day of school today.  I went with him again, and left for a short while.  Tomorrow he’ll stay through lunch.  I’m excited about their lunches.  The culture of food in general at Scuola Arcobaleno is no less Italian than you would expect.  Every morning, each parent leaves a piece of fruit in a basket by the classroom door.  This week we’ve seen bananas, pears, apples, peaches, plums, grapes, and kiwi (some of which are obviously not of Italian origin, but some of which are very local).  At 10:00, the teachers cut the fruit into pieces, and one of the children carries around a plate, and like a little caterer, offers everyone a piece.

Lunch puts a food-focused parent like me even more at ease.  Each child lays out his own place setting, and pours her own water out of a pitcher.  Then, they are all served a primi and a secondi.  A two-course lunch, involving fresh vegetables and big bowls of pasta!  And this is not the pasta that blubs out of a huge can with some sweet sauce distantly related to tomatoes.  This is the real thing.  The only thing that will disappoint me will be my four-year-old son’s ability to accurately report what he had for lunch.  The usual answer to that question, for any kid, is, “I don’t know.”  But I’m hoping he’ll be able to bring home some culinary tidbits in Italian for me.

It’s especially interesting to be having this school-lunch experience at the moment when there’s a parental, grass-roots uprising in the U.S. against the atrociousness of school lunch there.  That problem, which I hope schools, cities, states, and the Obama administration will work to solve, is of course part of the much larger problem in the U.S.: the lack of a culture of food, and the economics of food, in which the cheapest food is the worst for you.

Anyway, though, I want to touch on our other fun today: checking out the view from Fontana dell’ Aqua Paola, which is on a hilltop in our neighborhood:

view 1

(Is this really my life?)

view 2

taking a bus home from a long walk in Trastevere, (which we got to by taking the long staircase downhill from this fountain):

Jack on the bus

and spotting a cool weather vane that reminded me of home:

weathervane

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We made our first gelato-destination-trek yesterday, after asking around about the best shops in the neighborhood.  Miami Gelateria, conveniently located about halfway between our apartment and Jack’s school, makes theirs in-house, and offers an array of flavors, from the tangiest limone to the densest chocolate, with everything nutty and fruity in between.

gelateria

They serve typical cones or cups with large, melty scoops, and they also make mini, dipped cones.  The minis are about 6 centimeters (trying to think metrically, here) high, are dipped in dark chocolate, then a bowl of chopped nuts, then served, to eager little hands.  You can eat one in two or three bites.

After contemplating the selection, and learning new words in the process, Jack chose melone and Peter and I shared a creme caramel.

gelato

The texture is airy and fluffy, compared to the hard ice cream at home, and the flavors were undiluted essences.

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