Friday, October 12, 2018

Learning to Shut Up and Eat

Hello, my friends! I'm so sorry for the long silence, but I just got back from a visit to Italy where I spent three weeks just EATING. And drinking. Definitely drinking. Actually, I think I'm going through an Aperol spritz withdrawal...

But really. The trip was incredible. I've gained 6 happy pounds and a slew of new friends, who are all my next-door neighbors' family. So many of my happy memories are of sitting around their tables, eating course after course, speaking horribly bad Italian and learning that listening attentively for hours on end for any word that helps me understand what someone is saying is exhausting. But, man, is it fun!

Perhaps the biggest lesson that I learned on this trip, however, was simply to SHUT UP AND EAT. I mean it. So many times I (and I think you do this, too) tell myself that I will not like a particular food or dish, and so—ooooh, shocker—I DON'T!

At the start of this trip, I decided that I wasn't going to do that anymore. I wanted to step up my food attitude even more after my recent virginal experience with raw oysters,

Fresh raw oyster from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

so instead of negatively prepping my brain when faced with an un-experienced (yes, I made that word up) food this trip, I was going to leave my mind open upon first bite/slurp/lick/etc. and see how my taste buds responded.

And so I ate things that I never would have eaten before.

Like this salad at Garraffo in Palermo, Sicily:

Octopus salad at Garraffo in Palermo, Sicily, Italy

And this steak at Uncle Franco's:

Grilled horse meat steak

And this snack at Cousin Sebi's:

A bowl of fresh, hot ricotta cheese and whey with bread

The first was flash-seared octopus that, if I had been blindfolded while eating it, I would have thought by texture and taste that I was eating a steak. Insanely delicious.

The second was horse. Yes. CAVALLO. So good I had it twice.

The last was a piping hot bowl of sheep-milk ricotta cheese with the whey, eaten by spoon with fresh bread chunks to soak up the whey. I thought I had died and gone to comfort-food heaven.

NEVER would I have eaten any of these dishes if I had followed my immediate reaction of I-won't-like-this. And, oh, what I would have missed out on!


Just shut up—and eat.

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