Since our move here, my day to day to life has changed pretty drastically. Mostly in that I don’t go to work, and I spend a lot more time at home. I would say that makes me a housewife, but my research has led me to believe that Sicilian housewives are a whole different breed of housewife, and I do not meet the criteria. My floors are usually kind of dirty, I don’t wear high heels to do my grocery shopping, and I don’t iron anything. I am pretty certain that my cooking doesn’t meet the standards either. However, since that is the household “chore” I enjoy the most, it’s where I focus my time when I’m not catching up on episodes of “24”.
Food in Sicily is awesome. Not just the restaurants, but the markets. The markets have fresh mussels, clams, tuna, swordfish, live octopus, live snails, fresh chickens, steak, cheese, sausage, a multitude of things I cannot identify, fresh eggs, and all the fruits and vegetables you could want. It’s all pretty cheap, and I can walk there from my house. Unlike the stores at home, they only sell what’s in season, so everything is fresh. The downside of this though, is that if it’s not in season, you can’t find it. Oh, you bought all the ingredients for ribollita and just need kale? Too bad, kale isn’t in season and therefore does not exist here. You want an orange? Nope. Spinach? Nope, too hot for spinach. I suppose I’ve been spoiled in California by being able to get both wonderfully fresh seasonal produce, but also out-of-season produce that is still pretty good quality. By the time I leave here I’ll have the weather/food relationship figured out. For now, I’m just learning to be flexible in my cooking and not have my heart set on making any one dish that night.
Even though I’m obviously perfectly able to make non-Italian food here, I figure that as long as I have such good access to cheap, quality, Italian ingredients, I may as well use them. I’ve been making pasta carbonara, cannoli, bean soup, ricotta gnocchi, fresh sauces, pasta with clams, and figuring out how to work prosciutto and mozzarella into as many dishes as I can. I’ve taken a couple cooking classes and learned how to make semifreddo, granita, and brioche. Incidentally, by learning granita and brioche, one knows how to make about 50% of what Sicilians seem to eat during the summer. Breakfast is usually a croissant filled with chocolate, cream, or jam. In the summer, that can be replaced with gelato and brioche (yes, that’s ice cream for breakfast). Lunch in the summer? Often times it’s granita and brioche. And then a big dinner. If you’re counting, that’s a pastry, ice cream, or granita for 2 out of 3 meals. Not that I’m complaining 😉