Monday night, we had a lovely, staff-lead bonding event with the interns in the RomeSAE “loft”. RomeSAE directors Romina and Alessandro held a cooking class for the interns that consisted of a three-course dinner. The cooking class was done in order to teach the interns how typical italian families prepare meals; simple, easy recipes that can be made without fancy culinary tools. In order to enhance this experience, the staff gave the class in Italian while I translated for the interns.
Our group activity started off with learning how to make tiramisu, since it requires to be chilled for a few hours. The tiramisu we prepared was slightly differed from restaurant recipes because we added panna fresca (heavy cream) to the mascarpone. This is not done too often but ROmina explained that most families that cook prepare it in this fashion. After preparing our individual servings of tiramisu, we moved onto preparing the aperitivi (appetizers) for our meal. We made bruschetta with tomatoes, olive oil, and basil as well as crostini with butter, mozzarella, and anchovies. Many of the interns seemed hesitant to try the anchovies but after a little encouragement from Romina, Alessandro, and I they ate the crostini with anchovies. Everyone ate and enjoyed their appetizers without any complaints.
Once we were done with the appetizers, we began making the main course: carbonara. Alessandro began by explaining the difference between pancetta (bacon) and guanciale (pork cheek). For our carbonara we used guanciale. He taught us how to cut the guanciale and cook it before adding it to the rest of the dish. While Alessandro cooked the guanciale, the interns helped to make the egg and pecorino mixture for the carbonara. One of the interns is a vegetarian, giving us the opportunity to try an alternative to carbonara. Instead of adding guanciale to the carbonara, we made it with zucchini. Many of the interns,even the meat-lovers, agreed that they liked the zucchini alternative because it gave the recipe a different flavor and texture. We all had a lot of fun experimenting and trying new things in the kitchen. We all sat down to eat together and made a toast as a farewell to one of our interns. Melissa has now returned back home! It was nice to have one last group activity together before her departure. The group dinner was a great form of cultural immersion and also gave all of us the opportunity to take time off from our busy schedules and catch up with each other about our internships, travel plans, and our experiences in the Eternal City. In addition to bonding with each other, the interns can now make these traditional Italian recipes back home! The group dinner was a great way to educate the interns on Italian culture as well as giving us all the opportunity to take time off from our busy schedules and catch ip with each other about our internships, travel plans, and our lives in the Eternal City.
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