Thursday, 14 March 2013

Food memories of Italy ~ mortadella and backpacks

Today I had one of my very favourite lunches. A simple one, but one that's also loaded with memories.
When I was 19 I backpacked around Europe with a girl friend. Well, I say Europe but what I actually mean is: we travelled through Europe to get to Italy.
Ahhh, Italy. I loved the place and we went to as many places as we could fit in, although we never managed to get to Florence and I still haven't visited. I must address that anomaly!
Anyway, back to the story. We were travelling on a very tight budget and apart from staying in youth hostels to keep the costs down, we also couldn't afford to eat in restaurants or fancy cafes, so most of our food was bought from street stalls, cheap cafes or we just bought it from a shop and made up picnic lunches.
On our first day in Rome we bought mortadella, crusty bread and a carton of milk. That was our lunch, and we ate it a few more times after that too.
And every so often I like to recreate our little Roman pranzo...
You need crusty bread. I like the crusty rolls best, but baguettes are also good for this.

Mortadella is an Italian cold meat. I saw this pack in the supermarket but I usually buy it at the local deli.  A foodie friend of mine once referred to it disparagingly as 'Italian spam'...but what can I say, I love it.

 I butter the roll, then stuff one or two slices of the meat inside.
And if I eat it with a glass of cold milk suddenly I'm 19 again, sitting on a bench at the edge of a piazza, enjoying the sun.  Fantastico!

Is there a meal or particular food that brings back memories for you?