For most college students, it is required to take a couple electives to graduate. In my opinion, if you can fit it in your schedule to take one of your electives abroad, do it! As a business major, it was so nice to be able to take a little break from text books and learn in a more hands on way. I am currently taking “Florence Food and Culture Experience” and I don’t think I could love it any more. I feel so blessed that I am not only loving my time abroad, but that I actually look forward to my class and what I will learn that day. If you are like me and wanting to take a class unrelated to your major, here are three reasons you should consider a cooking class!
1. You get to learn about the culture of the place you are living in
I feel like I have gained so much knowledge about the country of Italy because of my class. It’s important to know where your ingredients are coming from! I have learned that almonds typically come from Southern Italy while hazelnuts are grown in more northern parts of Italy. I’ve learned all about olive oils, wine and cheese pairings, and how to make Italy’s most common desserts. Our professor, Chef Lino, even takes us on field trips to restaurants and stores to try different foods and learn directly from the locals. I have such a better understanding of the Italian food culture after just one week of class!
2. You will learn new cooking skills that you can take home with you
Whether you have a background in cooking or not, you will definitely learn new skills—and new (amazing) recipes! I already can’t wait to get home and teach my family how to properly open, pour, and taste a new wine. In just the first day of class I learned how to make some of the most iconic Italian meals like bruschetta and ravioli! We even had a whole class day dedicated to Italian desserts.
3. You get to eat good food in class everyday
If the first two reasons aren’t convincing enough, then this one should be. Seriously, when my professor said, “tomorrow we are making three different Italian desserts”, I was asking myself how this was my real life. This class is such a dream! It’s so fun to learn what goes into your favorite dishes and where the ingredients come from.
One of favorite recipes so far that I had never even heard of before is called “Brutti Ma Buoni” which are the cookies that are pictured. It’s a type of Italian biscuit, and the recipe comes from Chef Lino’s grandmother! Chef Lino says that “Brutti” in Italian means “ugly” or “rough” and that the cookies aren’t supposed to look good, just taste good. Here’s the recipe below if you want to try out some Italian cooking. Italians measure their ingredients in grams!
Brutti Ma Buoni
200 gr almond without skin
200 gr sugar
60 gr egg whites (approximately 2)
10 gr honey
pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
Blend the almond in a food processor to a very fine powder. Add sugar, and continue blending for a few minutes. Pour into a bowl and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Use a pastry bag to make the biscuits. Bake until golden.
Sloan Swift is a student at Samford University. She is an ISA Featured Photo Blogger and studied abroad with ISA in Florence, Italy.
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