It’s been a little while since last I blogged. I’m sure that all of you who studied here and are eagerly awaiting the latest news can sympathize with the fact that the ever-expanding world of SIS keeps us tremendously busy. For those of you who haven’t been here (yet!), just ask anyone who has, and they’ll confirm that indeed everyone here has their hands full. That’s a good thing though, right? Yep. It means that we have lots of students who want to be involved in as much as they can be. It’s up to us here to make that possible.
In the past few weeks we’ve had a few interesting excursions. Students went to a local pecorino cheese farm/factory and got a close look the process of making the local delicacy. After tasting all of the various types of cheese produced by the Azienda Sanna, the next stop was a pig farm. Mr. Barruffaldi’s pig farm, like most pig farms, is generally a muddy experience however, that’s about all that his farm has in common with regular pig farms. His pigs, the Cinta Senese, are a rare breed of pig left over from medieval times that live on whatever they find in the forest. Their diet is the main reason that their meat is so sought after for its health benefits. It turns out that the type of cholesterol in the fat produced by these pigs is actually good for you! Of course, all things in moderation.
Still on the subject of pigs, (pork is an important meat in Italy) Carlo Tozzi, Marco Laporta, Marianna and I took a small group of brave students to La Villa Ferraia (www.villaferraia.com) to see the process of how a pig becomes sausage, prosciutto, and everything else. The process was carried out respecting centuries of tradition. It was if we stepped back in time to the Tuscany of 200 years ago. The experience was humbling and made us realize how important it is to use absolutely every part of the animal, not only for our benefit, but out of respect for the pig.
By now, I’ve probably scared away any vegetarians interested in the program. Fear not! We always have a good number of vegetarians on the program and there’s always plenty to eat for everyone. I’m actually planning another excursion to La Villa Ferraia in the spring have students participate in the spring planting in their enormous organic garden. The methods they use in their garden reach far beyond what we know as organic in the U.S. It should be fun.
Next week it’s our turn as Americans to do some cooking. Thanksgiving is just around the corner.