Cannoli Pepperoni

Est. 2013

Posts tagged “American Academy in Rome

Pasta all’Amatriciana

Posted on June 9, 2014

Day Eleven of my internship with the Rome Sustainable Food Project was a very good day. I know this, because I kept a diary. There were many days I came home exhausted, the kind of fatigue that makes you forget hunger ironically enough, but still I managed to type out something to mark each shift. Sometimes it was just a sentence, sometimes it was several paragraphs. It’s amusing to me now to go back and see which days made the biggest impact. This one was one of them, the day I made my first pasta. I loved eating Amatriciana before I ever cooked it, but now I adore it. It’s part of the holy trinity of Roman pastas (in my opinion) that includes Carbonara and…

The Menu Meeting

Posted on May 12, 2014

Before I started interning for the Rome Sustainable Food Project, I spent a saturday in the kitchen as a volunteer. I remember it was a crisp fall morning. Curious and ready, I reported for my shift at 8am, prepared to be swept up into a busy day. But first it was time for the Menu Meeting. A twice-daily ritual (held once before the start of the morning shift and once in the afternoon), the meeting is a sit-down exchange between the Chef and the interns on duty. Like a captain before an armada prepared to set sail, the Chef lays forth a plan of action for his ships. The waters may be rough (i.e. the head count may be high), but together we’ll make…

I Said Yes

Posted on April 1, 2014

I have so much to say that I have nothing to say. Do you know that feeling when you’re with a friend who you haven’t seen for a long time, and you just don’t know where to start? You want to perform a feat of magic– bundle up three months into something articulate. Meaningful, but not boring. Inclusive, but not exhaustive. You want to give a real sense of what has gone on in your life. But sometimes it’s best to skip ahead and just order another round of drinks. There are plenty of things happening right now worth sharing. I want to tell you more about my experience with the Rome Sustainable Food Project. The internship seriously altered my ideas about cooking and eating, as…

The Rome Sustainable Food Project

Posted on January 21, 2014

Shortly after Peter’s magical letter came in the mail, I discovered the Rome Sustainable Food Project. It is exactly what it sounds like. A sincere, passionate mission to source the best seasonal food within a small radius of Rome and transform it into a week’s worth of delicious meals for the Fellows of the American Academy. This excellent video will fill you in on the rest: The RSFP is a teaching kitchen, staffed by three chefs and a crop of rotating interns. Yes, interns. Can you guess where there is going? There’s a reason you haven’t heard  much from me. I’m living in two worlds right now– I’m an RSFP intern and a “fellow traveler”– and somewhere there’s regular old Junita, too. My internship…

The New Normal

Posted on December 26, 2013

A funny thing happened when I wasn’t looking. I don’t know when, exactly, this city started to feel like a place where I actually live. But it does. A few weeks ago Peter asked me, “Do you still have those days when you can’t believe we live here?” We were making our way down the hill to Trastevere. I turned a corner and suddenly the city was in full view, lit with the golden late afternoon light that still makes my knees go weak. I thought, of course! Isn’t that what I’m supposed to feel? But then the real answer came to the surface. Actually, I do believe I live here. Feelings of awe still come over me, but I spend more time just enjoying a daily…

The Bass Garden

Posted on December 2, 2013

In many ways, the American Academy is too improbable to take in on first sight. When my taxi pulled up to the front gate on the day I arrived, I thought I was having a fantastic jet lagged dream. And that’s the way I felt for days! I’m now approaching month three and the place still astounds me, but it’s starting to feel like home. Since the Academy is as important to my day-to-day life as the city of Rome, I think it’s time you were introduced.

Why don’t we start here? My backyard in Rome has a name.

In Saint Paul I never thought to call the 30×20′ plot behind our house anything special, although I love it all the same. The little vegetable garden, the patch of pink peonies and the hearty stalks of rhubarb that miraculously poke through the cold earth every spring are special to me. You can know a garden like this by heart. A name would be beside the point. But of course here everything is different.

The Bass Garden is an expanse of little hills behind the Academy enclosed on all sides by stone walls and a gate. It’s a place for sitting alone with your coffee and your thoughts, as much as it’s a place for meeting a friend (“Meet me at the back gate” is a common refrain.) There are olive and orange trees and a pebbled path lined with fragrant wild rosemary. There’s a bocce ball court and a wood-fired grill. And there’s a beautiful vegetable garden with raised brick beds that produces much of the salad greens (among other vegetables) that we eat.

I’ve loved seeing what the change of seasons brings to this glorious space. This is what the garden looked like on December 2nd. Can you imagine what’s to come this spring?