Archives for the month of: June, 2015
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The view of a vineyard and the epic Basilica Superga in Torino from PanPerdu B&B

One of my first stops (after regaining consciousness after a debilitating 2 days of jet lag) was Sciolze – a small, beautiful city outside of Torino/Turin where I would meet my faculty advisor, Dr. Simone Cinotto.  I stayed with a family of three – a French-speaking mother who restores 16th century paintings, an Italian-speaking father who runs an enoteca (wine store) in Torino, and a teenage daughter who is learning Spanish in school.  Completely exhausted from traveling in Milan’s heavy traffic and toll roads, I asked Antonieta if she could recommend a wine store nearby or had some wine I could purchase in order to stay in for the evening.  Her husband, Bartolome,  returned to give me a lesson on wine, explaining in such beautiful Ital-ish how his wines were locally sourced.

One startling difference between living in Muncie and venturing in Italy is everything is local.  Your wine is all local, your cured meats are all local, your fine cheeses are all local (no need for fancy Brie) – and most likely, if you ask the server, slicer, or any plain ol’ Italian about its background, they’ll probably give you some delightful details on its origin.

Antonieta and Bartolome - my wonderful hosts at PanPerdu Bed and Breakfast

Antonieta and Bartolome – my wonderful hosts at PanPerdu Bed and Breakfast in Sciolze, Italy.  In the words of their website, “The ‘panperdu’ is the name given to an ancient recipe of Piedmont where the old bread, to be thrown away, becomes a delicious, nutritious and healthy breakfast: precisely that feeling for tradition and the old, together with the creativity that characterizes our life. ” Check out their B&B here: http://www.panperdu.com/

That night, I not only received a small lecture on local wine culture, but enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine, a sampling of meats and cheeses sliced fresh by Antonieta, AND my first bowl of homemade pasta that they shared straight from their kitchen.  It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences I had in Italy because it enabled me to see how kind, giving, and selfless Italians are when it comes to food.  Having a drink of wine?  You must have some food on your plate.  Not very hungry?  How about just a snack of an entire plate of food?  Interested in a bottle of wine?  How about we give you a bottle of our own delicious homemade wine as a gift in addition to a locally-sourced bottle of wine you can drink tonight?  Hungry for breakfast?  We normally just drink a cappuccino for breakfast, but how about a homemade tart, warm just-baked croissants, delicious amber jam, and sugar cookies along with your cappuccini?  I’ll take it!  Ultimately, my stay at Antonieta’s and Bartolome’s taught me that food culture more than just consumption – it’s the people, their homes, their gardens, their families, their communities, their cultures, their histories, and so much more.

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Welcome to the Expo!  This blog will trace my path through Italy as part of my Global Synergy research grant through Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts, that enabled me to study the relationship between transnational American food and design.  To begin, I want to give you some brief details about the expo.  The Expo, or World’s Fair, has been widely attended for more than a century, with new countries each year in the spotlight as the world’s hosts.  Most expos function very similarly – with a complex of national and host pavilions, perhaps a theme, and daily attendance by local and global visitors.  You spend the day, meet new people, but leave with an eagerness to travel more abroad and in the host country as well.  This year Milan, Italy offered something entirely new – the theme “Food for Life,” which meant connecting the lifeblood of Italian culture with the world’s greatest environmental and social challenges – starvation, climate change, high population density, and mass processed foods.  Each country offered their perspective on food, blending conceptual art, technology, and design to compose a national vision of the topic at hand.  Between now and October 31 (when the Expo is completed), I will update this blog with my experiences, telling my digital story of the foods I consumed, the contacts I made, and how it shaped my research and teaching.

To begin, here is a floor shot of China’s pavilion “Land of Hope” in which LED colors change fluidly to compose an ever-changing landscape of agriculture in shape of China’s undulating architecture.

Here’s an image from above:

More to come!