I’m packing up all my things in preparation for the trip back to New York. The past three weeks have flown by. I feel like I learned a lot and can’t wait to try out some of the regional Italian dishes in my own kitchen. I think my favorites have been the Tuscan bread soups, by far.

We gave our presentations today—it was so interesting to hear about all the fascinating topics my classmates have chosen. One person, for example, is focusing on microbreweries in Italy and New York, and another is looking at school lunches in Italy and how they compare to those in New York. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I talked about supermarket layout and intend to further focus my research on the ways in which store layout influences food choices.

While I’ve loved a lot of the foods I’ve had in Italy, such as ribolitta (a vegetable-and-bread soup), grilled calarmari, and burrata (a mozzarella injected with fresh cream), it’s been tough to get the protein I’m used to. If I were traveling by myself or with Chris rather than with a big group for which most meals were pre-ordered, I’d probably have had more opportunities to eat beans and fish and other protein-rich foods besides cheese and supplementary almonds. I’m not knocking cheese—I developed quite the appreciation for certain varieties on this trip—but it’s just not the same to me. I can’t wait to enjoy some tofu.

Tonight, we have our last group dinner, which I’ve been told is going to be huge, with something for everyone. I found my favorite regions to be the Cilento and Tuscany, as far as eating is concerned, so I’m pretty psyched for the Florentine food tonight. I can’t wait to come back to Italy. Maybe one day, when I have time and/or money…

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