Zac Richman: Post 3

Zac Richman: Post 3
ISA 2021
Florence, Italy


I tried a lot of new foods while I was studying abroad. Even though I was in Italy, a lot of traditional Italian dishes as we imagine them are not traditional at all. First, meat and pasta almost never go together. They’re served separately as primi piatti and secondi piatti. No spaghetti and meatballs and very light servings of sauce, the pasta shouldn’t be drowning in the meat. They also don’t cut your pizza. Some very old school Italian pizzerias don’t cut your pizza here either and that’s how it’s done in Italy. This is to keep the pizza hot as slicing it cools the pizza down. You always get served a small whole pizza, very few shops serve slices. If they do sell by the slice, it is priced by weight. If you want to try a bunch of small slices, you might be able to try three different pizzas for the price of one. Wild boar is popular in the Tuscany region, while dry aged Chianina steak is also extremely popular in Florence. I went to get my dry aged steak at a nice restaurant where we started with prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine that is very popular as a pre meal appetite opener. We then got traditional Italian appetizers, foie gras on crostini, prosciutto on melon, and bruschetta Toscano, sliced Tuscan tomatoes on top of bread. We skipped primi piatti and moved straight to the second course, the steak. I ordered the Chianina steak and my friend ordered the grilled sirloin. There was some issue lost in translation, but the waitress was telling us that if we only got the half, it would be a half kilogram whereas the full steak is one kilogram. We did not know how much a kilo was so we got the half order and assumed it would be somewhat small, as most of the meals were. A kilogram is 2.2 pounds, so we got massive steaks.
They switched our steaks, which I didn’t find out until later when my teacher told me my steak was not a Florentine steak. I figured he knew best because he was an Italian chef. I was frustrated and felt cheated that I had gone to an inauthentic steakhouse. I then thought about it a little more, my friend’s steak looked a lot larger than mine. It looked an awful lot like a Florentine steak. I realized, they switched our orders and laughed about it. It was somewhat frustrating that I had only eaten regular steak when I could’ve had a local specialty. It was still delicious, but wasn’t necessarily the regional delicacy that I was excited to order. I suppose I’ll have to go back… to get my special steak and wash it down with another small glass of limoncello, a very strong lemon liquor that’ll put some hair on your chest.

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