I traveled internationally for the first time when I was 10 years old. My family was heavily involved in the dairy industry during my childhood (yup, as in cows), and almost every year we traveled to the national American Jersey Cattle Association convention, which was always held in a different state. (See how many states I was able to visit through that opportunity here.) In 2000, my mom decided to attend the international convention in Italy, and she took me with her! Lucky dog, right?
We flew into Milan and spent a week traversing about the northern part of the country, including Venice (yes, we rode in a gondola!), Verona (where “Juliet’s balcony” is located, see below) and Florence. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay for the second week of the convention, which would have taken us to Rome, but I still got to see one of the three largest coliseums in Italy. I wish I had my own pictures to share, but my photo album is in California so I have no way to scan the photos.
You might be wondering at this point when I’m going to get to the food part of this post. Well, it was in Italy that I fell in love with one of my all-time favorite foods: risotto. (A culinary snob once told me that risotto is actually the style of cooking, not the dish itself. To which I say: check the definition. Plus, everyone knows what I mean.) Rice has always been a huge staple in my diet. My mom always calls me her “rice baby” because apparently when I was very young, if she ever had rice on the table I would refuse to eat anything else until I got a generous bowl of it. Nom nom.
After our return from Italy, my mom had another amusing food story to tell about me. We went to The Olive Garden shortly after our return, and I couldn’t find risotto anywhere on the menu, so I asked the waitress about it.
“We don’t serve that dish,” she told me.
Although I don’t remember acting quite this snarky, my mother claims my response was something along the lines of, “This is an Italian restaurant, and you don’t serve risotto?” Yes, that was my response at 10 years old.
So that was that. Up until my junior year of college, when my roommate convinced me the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks deal was the way to go for a cheap and filling Sunday lunch, I refused to eat at Olive Garden again.
Thanks for reading; I can’t wait to hear your food/travel stories!
Next week on Travel Tuesday: How do you spend your time on a plane? How does that vary from short flights to long flights? Or do you prefer to make long trips overground?