The simple things

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the simple things we never talk about at home are the things we miss the most. For example, a refrigerator. Everyone knows what a refrigerator is, and everyone has one or has at the very least had one at some point in their life. We all know what they look like and what they’re used for, but what we don’t realize is how big they are.

Here in Italy, they don’t make large double-door refrigerators like the ones we’re used to in the United States. Here, the refrigerators are designed to be small so that you have to go to the grocery store every day. That’s right, EVERY DAY!

To most of us, just the thought of going to the grocery store sounds like a chore, but in reality, it’s not, especially in Italy. In the U.S., we are used to going grocery shopping about once a week, and we usually buy in bulk, and a lot of that more than likely goes to waste. In Italy, you go to the store every day and buy just enough to make your meals for the day and still have a little room left over for desserts like gelato or tiramisu.

EM.2016.04.05 fridge_screenshot
Kitchen culture clash: The typical tiny Italian refrigerator    (credit: Esteban Martinez)

It is a forgone conclusion that the culture in Italy is different from that in the U.S., but I never expected there to be such a cultural difference with something as simple as a refrigerator. Most people don’t even think twice about their double-door refrigerator; it’s just something that’s there.

Another example of a kitchen culture clash is the microwave. Though I have only been in Rome for less than two weeks, I do have 109 fellow UC students here with me, and the only microwave we have seen is the one at the UC Center. We have yet to find a microwave in an Italian household. Everyone here is just so focused on their meals for the day and not what they’re going to be eating three days down the line. It is something simple, but still a major difference than what we are used to in the U.S.

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