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Week 4, finding peace in the kitchen

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  • Chris Tennant
POSTED IN: The cookbook journey

More then 10 years ago, I was an undergraduate student working part-time at an "Autogrill" restaurant. For those who doesn't know Autogrill, is an Italian-based multinational company that has restaurants along toll highways. Their food is partly freshly-prepared on site, and partly reheated frozen food.  Definitely not amazing but not too bad either. 

The one where I worked is just 10 minutes away from my family's house. It was the perfect job for me as student because the schedule I got allowed me to study and work at the same time. One of the tasks that my colleagues hated most was the preparation of green apples for the fruit salad. The task consisted of washing pounds and pounds of apples, peeling and chopping them, then pour them into a solution made with water, sugar and lemon juice to stop them from browning. I on the other hand happily volunteered for this task every time. The apple work station was in the kitchen, right in front of a big window with a view on the southern Florence hills scattered with olive trees and the motorway (less romantic! I know..), and I found the repetitive action of doing the same thing over and over soothing.  I remember feeling very calm as I peeled the apples. 

Still today, every time I prepare a dish with apples, I peel and chop them the way they taught me at Autogrill : cut the top and the bottom first, peel from top to the bottom with a sharp knife and then cut four big chunks around the core. It's amazing the skills that stay with you from jobs from the past!

In week four, I noticed how the act of cooking calms me, and makes me feel present even at those time I don't feel very good. 

Recipes attempted :

- Apple strudel

- many version of Crostata Ricotta. So many that I decided to take a break from that recipe and try again in a few weeks.The best version was the one with shortcrust pastry with lemon zest and my grandmother's filling.

- Roasted vegetable lasagne

- Pasta and ceci

- crisp chickpea, spinach and roasted cherry tomato salad 

- Tuscan kale bruschetta

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About the Author

Giuditta Pileri

Giuditta Pileri

I love languages, I speak Italian, French and English, and I have always been open to new oppurtunity abroad, that lately brought me in the USA. I love building wood forniture, cooking and yoga. I used to work in the French academic enviroment as an Italian istructor now I want to change.

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Created: August 21, 2018


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