A Late Introduction to Italian and Environmental Science

Hello! My name is Nghi and I will be blogging about Slow Food in a Fast Food Nation. A strange combination of Elementary Italian and Environmental Science. I had no idea what to expect on the first day of class. Would we be doing a block of Italian and a block of enviro? How did these two seemingly different topics connect?

On the first day of class, we jumped into learning Italian adjectives and spent the rest of class eating and talking about Twinkies. Twinkies represent the perfect capitalistic food: cheap, lots of calories, easy to eat, perfectly identical to every other Twinkie, and convenient. If I were to describe the qualities a Twinkie possess in Italian, they would be morbido, economico, dolce, e piccolo.

During the first week of class, we had already started learning introductions in Italian, numbers, pronouns and adjectives. In the environmental science portion, we explored what foods are considered “good to eat” and “what is ‘disgust?’” by eating dehydrated crickets. They came in a variety of flavors including sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, or we could choose from the mixed-bugs variety pack. The bugs weren’t half bad, they tasted like Lay’s potato chips. Kind of delicious, actually.

In an everchanging society, the U.S. has changed how the world eats with its political and economic influence. We are slowly turning the world into a fast-food globe with McDonald’s, with our emphasis on efficiency, convenience and cheap calories. Italy, known for its extraordinary cuisine, is fighting against the quickly changing food economy with the Slow Food movement. The Slow Food movement promotes local produce, traditional cooking, and an overall RE-connection to what food means to us. We are simultaneously analyzing Italian cooking, American economy, and where food really comes from.

Frankly, I have no idea where my food is coming from. My idea of “food sources” mostly consists of gory videos of filmmakers exposing the inhumane meat industry. I know that the animals in these videos live a short time, are force fed, and go through mass massacres. Then, they’re packaged in plastic and shipped to the store. Furthermore, I have no idea where my vegetables come from aside from that tropical fruits are imported from Mexico. The sad part of it all, is the fact that I don’t know much about my food sources beyond that. It’s almost magical how groceries show up on the shelf and are refilled every hour; it is almost as if some food elves are hiding in the back waiting to stock the shelves.

On Wednesday of week 1, we visited New Roots Farm; an organic farm ran by CC Alum Sarah Hamilton and Susan Gordon. We learned about their pressing water source and how politicians will favor lawns over farms to please their constituents. We also got to meet Bella, the beautiful golden retriever, she welcomed us with her waggly tail and high energy. After being on campus for weeks with little to no dog contact, meeting Bella was the perfect campus getaway for many of us. Subsequently, we spent the afternoon at Duca’s Neopolitan Pizza enjoying their delicious imported tomatoes from Italy.

 Some flowers from New Roots Farm.

This lighting does this pesto pizza no justice, it’s absolutely delicious #notsponsored

Our first week of class has made me realize how much I don’t know about my foods, it was always there, I never had to question where anything came from. However, meeting farmers like Sarah, Susan, and Bella at New Roots who really cares about the produce and their consumers also makes me want to care more about my produce and farmers.

Published by Nghi

My name is Nghi Lam ('knee lamb')! I took a gap year before coming to Colorado College (I am a huge advocate of gap years!). I am involved with ultimate frisbee, Asian Student Union, Bridge Scholars, and I am also a Bonner Fellow working with the Colorado Springs community. My free time is spent doing pottery, spending hours in the dining hall with my friends and journaling by the butterfly bench on campus. An unpopular opinion I hold: shoes are for losers!