Friday, March 30, 2012

cultural differences as seen in the making of a frittata

We were making a frittata (a cooked egg and vegetable plate that in the U.S. is frequently baked and eaten for breakfast.  Here, it's a lunch staple, served at room temperature) and we got into our normal frittata disagreement.  Every time I make one, Manuel takes a bite, proclaims it delicious, pauses, and states, "It still doesn't taste like my Grandma's".  After a few months of this, I simply changed my attitude, shrugged, and laughingly said, "Fine, then YOU make the frittata."
He made two that he said were more similar to his grandmother's, and the next time I stood over his shoulder, observing.  They were good, but denser, flatter and heavier then mine, which were more like a omelette.

He started with what seemed to be a half cup of olive oil and a solid spoonful of salt as he sauteed the zucchini and leeks.  I cringed.
As he stirred the eggs, he started grating cheese - parmigiano - and as I went to move the bowl, I noticed he wasn't stopping after grating a large, soft mountain of cheese.  I shuddered, watching the eggs turn white with an almost equal proportion of cheese.
Finally, I peeped up, "You know, in the U.S. a frittata is not a horribly unhealthy thing to eat", hoping he'd get my point.
He responded, shocked, waving the spatula at me, "Unhealthy?  What is unhealthy about this??  There are zucchini from here, leeks probably from La Spezia, eggs from the chickens we can walk to, oil from here, salt, maybe, from around here, and good cheese from Parma.  What is not healthy here?"  He huffed, and continued sauteeing, shaking his head at my ignorance of health.
I laughed.  Now that is the difference in our cultures, boiled down (sauteed down?) to a frittata.

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