Day Two - First Cooking Lesson
The remaining dish for lunch was the pasta, and that was something spectacular. Chef Pardini showed us how to use a guitar, and no, we weren't using it to serenade any cute Italian boys. Basically, it was a block of wood with several strings strapped across the top. You'd take a sheet of pasta dough (which we made fresh) and using a rolling pin, the pasta would be pressed through the strings to cut even strips of pasta. If you didn't have this particular item, another way to do it would be to roll the sheet of pasta into a log (don't mush it together) and cut the roll into strips that way. It pinches it a bit and the edges aren't perfectly straight, but it gets the job done (and I was told those guitars aren't cheap). The pasta was served simply with sauteed julienne vegetables (asparagus, carrot, onion) and an herb olive oil sauce. The fresh herbs were placed in the olive oil to quickly "marinate" before being added to the hot pasta. Very delizioso.
The afternoon was spent in the city centre of Lucca. The coolest part about it is that the actual city is walled off on all sides, and you can rent a bike and bike on top of the wall to see the whole city. We'll be going to Lucca again soon, so I will most likely do that the next time around. Too cool to miss!
Today was busier than yesterday, so I'm fairly certain I will sleep well again tonight. So far no jet lag to speak of, which is wonderful since I've been hearing horror stories from people about how long it takes to recover. I learned today that, like the Hawaiian's "aloha", the famous Italian farewell "ciao" is also a greeting. Several of our drivers have answered their cell phones this way, so I may start to say this to Chef Pardini. I think he would appreciate it.
Dinner tonight was also very good, but I definitely feel that lunch was more worthy of praise. We had a vegetable soup with ground beef, fava beans, artichokes, and asparagus, and chicken cacciatore.
Until tomorrow food fans!