Welcome to our second English language class. Last week we talked about Steve’s Food Blog, and the street food he wrote about. Steve like the pad thai inÂ Thailand, the satay in Indonesia and the burrito in Mexico.
First,Â we will read a little about the some of the food ofÂ Tuscany,Â and I willÂ explain some of the word and phrases. Then we will a break for 20 minutes. Â Then a little more reading and explanation and some group discussion.Â
Let’s have a look at this map of Tuscany:
The food of Tuscany
Like China, Italy is a country with a great food culture whose history stretches back over thousands of years. Italian food is also similar to Chinese food in the way that each region has its own specialties (tÃ¨chÇŽn).
In Tuscany, these include â€œgelatoâ€ (a kind of ice cream (bÄ«ngqÃlÃn) originally invented (fÄmÃng) in the 16th century), pecorino (a kind of cheese [qÇ sÄ«]), Brunello wines (a kind ofÂ hÃ³ng pÃºtÃ¡ojiÇ”), and beef steak (niÃºpÃ¡i). Many towns (chÃ©ngshÃ¬) within the region have their own famous local (bÄ›ndÃ¬) foods. For example, the town of Prato has the â€œbiscotti di Pratoâ€ (the biscuits (bÇnggÄn) of Prato), and the â€œmortadella di Pratoâ€ (a kind of sÃ lÄ mÇ made from pork [zhÅ«rÃ²u]).
These foods are made from locally grown produce (dÄngdÃ¬ chÅ«chÇŽn deÂ nÃ³ngchÇŽnpÇn). The cheese and ice cream come from local Tuscan dairies (niu nai chang), the beef (niÃºrÃ²u) for the steak and the pork for the mortadella comes from cattle (huÃ¡ngniÃº) and pigs (zhÅ«) raised on local farms (nÃ³ngchÇŽng), and the wine comes from the red grapesÂ (hÃ³ng pÃºtÃ¡o) of the Tuscan vineyards (pÃºtÃ¡o yuÃ¡n).
Some of the ways of making these specialties have continued since the Middle Ages (ZhÅngshÃ¬jÃ¬).Â Brunello winesÂ have been grown (zhÃ²ngzhÃ) Tuscan vineyards since the 14th century. Â The process (guÃ²chÃ©ng) of distilling (zhÄ“ngliÃº) the wine often takes ten years or more. Because it takes so long to make, and the wine tastes very good, it is expensive (guÃ¬).
Gelato was said to have been invented in the 16th century. Â The recipe for mortadella di Prato is also very old. It made with traditional ingredients (pÃ¨iliÃ o), including the spices (xiÄngliÃ o)Â cinnamon (rÃ²uguÃ¬), Â nutmeg (rÃ²u dÃ²ukÃ²u), cloves (dÄ«ngxiÄng), salt (yÃ¡n) and pepper (hÃºjiÄo), the herb (cÇŽoyÃ o) coriander (xiÄngcÃ i), and a splash (fÄ“ijiÃ n) of Alchermes liqueur (a sweet wine from Florence that is often used in sweets [tÃ¡ng] and cakes [dÃ ngÄo]).
These kinds of time-consuming (hÃ o shÃ de) ancient techniques (jÃ¬shÃ¹) are highly valued (gÄodÃ¹ pingjia) in Italyâ€™s â€œslow foodâ€ (mÃ n shÃ) culture, which wasÂ founded in 1986 by Arcigola, a group united by the desire to stop fast food (kuÃ icÄn) culture, like McDonaldâ€™s, and insteadÂ reconnect the local farmer (nÃ³nghÃ¹) to the local table (zhuÅzi), thus preserving the sweet life â€”Â â€œLa Dolce Vitaâ€ â€”Â the traditional lifestyles (chuÃ¡ntÇ’ng de shÄ“nghuÃ³ fÄngshÃ¬) and culture of the Italian people (YÃ¬dÃ lÃ¬ rÃ©n).
Like Chinese food, the time and the way to eat something can be as important as the way it is made. For example, Biscotti di Prato is a dessert (diÇŽnxÄ«n, also aÂ xiao chi,Â but for the home, not the street), which should be eaten in the afternoon (xiÃ wÇ”) or evening (wÇŽnjiÄn), preferably with a small glass (xiÇŽo bÄ“i) of the sweet (tiÃ¡n) Tuscan â€œvin santoâ€ (â€œholy wineâ€, shÃ¨ng jiÇ”Â , in which you should dip (zhÃ n) the biscuit.
Some questions about Tuscan and other Italian food.
- What are some of the famous Tuscan foods?
- What is special about the Tuscan foods described?
- What is slow food? Which of the Tuscan foods above are slow foods? Are there Chinese slow foods? What are they? How are they made?
- What are your favourite Italian foods? Tell us something about them, why you like them, where you have eaten them.