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Baccalà mantecato alla veneziana. Image credit: Giallo Zafferano

 

In this world, there are so many things that seperate us. They take on all different shapes and sizes, like the human race itself. But I know there are ways we can surpass these obstacles. For me, they seem to take the shape of “weapons;” they are not the usual definition of a weapon, but they do transcend/ go beyond the constructs of men. These ‘weapons’ are the art that we create, the music that we envision, and the food that we share. As people grow older, they begin to add to their arsenal. These additions are things like love, hope, culture, and tradition. Although many people nowadays seem to fear culture, tradition, and even religion, we shouldn’t let that stop us, because they bring in so much joy, sadness, and development. They allow us to enjoy being alive; they give us a sentiment that can’t be explained through words. These ‘weapons’ are things living dormant in everyone, and through my travels I hope to the basics: music, art, love, and the culinarily treats.

A motto I like to live by is: “For everything we do has a purpose.” So, with that being said, today’s post will focus on the Culinary Traditions that Venice, Italy holds dear to its heart. Follow me, as this will be a treat.

Unlike the United States, the average Italian eats a light breakfast. When looking for an average Italian native living in Venice, I discovered that they eat around 8am; depending on work and other variables, they eat when convenient. The breakfast usually consists of an espresso made at home (w/ or w/o milk) and a dunking biscuits or bread, with fresh fruit or juice on the side. Another option would be a “neighborhood café that gives a cappuccino and a croissant, or a simple espresso, fresh squeezed orange juice (in winter, when the oranges are good only) and perhaps a savory sandwich.” For lunch, they usually eat around 1pm; lunch is a two-course meal, usually “pasta plus a protein entrée, or pasta and a salad.”  Dinner ranges from 7:30 to 8pm in Venice. It usually includes soup of some sort, “lots of vegetable side dishes and a light protein entrée, like vegetable frittata or salumi; or ricotta, stracchino, mozzarella or other light cheeses.” They say it’s a lighter meal, that involves wine and reminiscing about the day. One of the events that I can’t wait to experience is the after dinner part, when most people walk around or lounge in their seat staring up at the night sky.

Italy has many special occasions. As a whole they have more than 20 celebrations; Venice has a total of 8 itself, including the celebrations of Italy. These celebrations have a variety of different foods that are specific to the region in Venice. They include: Baccala’ Mantecata, Sarde in Saor (Marinated Sardines), Polenta, Risi i Bisi (Rice and Fresh Peas),  Risotto, etc.. One memorable celebration is April 25th, when the people of Venice come together to celebrate St. Mark’s Day and the Festa del Boscolo. The dish of the day is the risi e bisi known as ‘rice and peas’ in Venice. “It’s  also said that a true dish of risi e bisi  must contain more pieces than rice, because that was the sustenance made the Italian people”. When you read about their celebrations, you discover the history; the risa e bisi, represents unity and what it truly means to be apart of a “family”.

Italy is home to strong people, so when we look deeper into regions like Venice, we are able to see how far they go for their ‘family’. When examining the recipes specific to Venice, I was able to notice similarities between my families recipes and their own. They required you to stay focused, but also multitask. They included fresh ingredients and most required time; they were labor intensive, because they represented what means to be Italian, a mother, a father, and a family.

In the end, everyone can agree that food is transcending. It is apart of our life, and without it we would all die. It allows us to communicate with the everyone despite religion, race, color, gender, disability, and nationality. Food is something we all adore and love. I can’t wait to experience all the things food holds: history, struggles, pain, sweat, joy, and above all else, love.

PS: Venice has amazing street food! More to come…