Cena in Italia (Dinner in Italy)

Dinner in Italy, otherwise known as "cena", is definitely not such an event like lunch is. Dinner is usually at 8 o'clock in the evening. This took me awhile to get used to. I still don't like it because I enjoy going to bed early as I get older, so having dinner so late is not overly convenient for me. Take this week for instance, we have invited a couple of friends over for an "American" dinner which I will prepare. We have invited them over to eat at 9, this is unheard of in Canada. For dinner we've narrowed the menu down to two options: chili or hamburgers. L loves my version of both and whenever we invite friends for dinner he enjoys showing them the "American" way of eating.
Dinner in Italy changes with the season and the temperature outside. If it's cold out, we'll have broth with noodles or veggies. A "zuppa" with veggies is referred to as "minestrone" and for Canadians I think we can all agree that "minestrone" is something you get in a Campbell's soup can, am I right? If it's the summer, a classic meal is mozzarella with tomatoes, basil and olive oil. I'm not a huge fan of mozzarella so I just have tomatoes and basil, sometimes we throw a can of tuna in there to have fun. Dinner is definitely different than our typical dinner in Canada. An Italian dinner is traditionally lighter and not such a long affair. Obviously Italians go out for dinner in which case the rules are thrown out the window, you can eat pasta and have all the meal courses. And you guessed it, an extremely typical weekend dinner is PIZZA! You know, the kind of stuff you get at your local Pizza Hut but the real deal! I have always loved pizza, just like any human being on this earth but my love for pizza has grown and matured. When I was home I stayed away from pizza, I ate it twice and I couldn't bring myself to think of it as pizza like the pizza I had spent a year and a half eating. Pizza in Italy is a spiritual experience. This is the home of pizza (Naples to be precise). There are a few different types of pizza here, there are squares of pizza you can buy at a corner pizza store (you're only able to buy them by the square), and then two types of round pizzas (which you're not expected to share, forget that notion, you get a personal normal sized pizza in Italy). The classic Italian pizza is very thin and the crust has risen beautifully. There are also more common types of pizza that look more North American. Personally I like a good Napolitano pizza. In the town I live in there is a local pizzeria that is owned by a man from Naples and when we want a good pizza, that's where we go. Their pizzas are delicious and they also serve pasta dishes, antipasto and amazing fried fish! Look!

 ("Piccola Napoli" in Chieti, my favourite pizza place, I wonder why...)

(Calamari and delicious wee squid - "Piccola Napoli")

Now that L and I are living in our own little apartment (tour blog coming soon) our dinners and lunches are not so Italian. Before we made the move L told me he didn't want to eat any pasta but inevitably we eat a pasta dish for lunch a few times a week. Typically I make a big salad for dinner or something with eggs. Lately we've been eating chicken or veggie burgers. Not overly Italian but let's be honest, other than fresh veggies Italian food isn't the greenest and healthiest. This is my third time being here, I'm a month into my stay and I will probably have to buy new pants this week because I always gain weight. It's ok because I love food, hence the blog about food!


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