Archive for the ‘rome’ Tag

Also I can walk now, in regular shoes   Leave a comment

Whew. I can take a moment to kick my feet back and relax.

The roommates went on a school-sponsored field trip to the beach today. I was planning on visiting Vatican City today, but it turns out the Pope is in Milan and you have to get your ticket (which exists) three days ahead of time (the ticket is free, you just have to get it way in advance). So I relaxed a bit, ate some cereal, read some more Cassius Dio, then decided to go find an open market to explore.

It wasn’t far; I just had to turn right out of my building, and there it was. It had taken over the car-parts street that blocks me from having direct access to the Tiber.

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I didn’t buy this stuff, I just saw all of it sitting on a car. It was such an interesting ecletic bunch of stuff.

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Actually I had trouble deciding what I wanted to buy, if anything. I know Mom asked me to buy a refrigerator magnet, but I didn’t want to get one at the market. A fridge magnet should be bought on-site. For example, a Colosseum magnet should be bought at the Colosseum. I also examined some nice-looking paintings and prints, but no one acknowledged my existence except for some obvious immigrant salesmen who knew, before I even opened my mouth, that I’m not Italian. And they were selling scarves. I looked at some scarves, but they all said ROME on them. Not even ROMA. Come on guys. At least a little effort.

Actually I did buy some towels, because my roommates and I all hate the school-issued towels. They are too small for our needs. Also not very absorbent. The new ones aren’t, either, but at least they’re big. I didn’t know that I would miss decent towels most of all in Italy.

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I took this picture on the walk home, more because it made me laugh more than anything. It means “vote left for Rome” (Rome is in the middle of election season), but as an English speaker, it looks like it says “vote sinister for Rome”

Vote Dr Sinister for Mayor!

Vote Dr Sinister for Mayor!

I went home and looked up markets in Rome that specifically sell food, because today was my turn to cook dinner. I was going to make steak and a spinach orzo salad (bistecca e orzo spinaci). Unfortunately, the kosher butcher shop and the supermarket were both closed. Oh well, I wanted to visit a market anyway. I got directions to the only one open on Sundays, in Piazza di San Teodoro. It was just across the bridge, but then I went straight instead of turning left towards the ruins. I tried to stay close to the river, but then that meant I wasn’t finding anything useful. Finally I found a supermarket that was, somehow, open on a Sunday. It wasn’t as big as my supermarket (which is about 1/3 the size of a supermarket in the States), but it had food and it was open so whatever.

There weren’t any meats for sale. The only fresh meat they could cut was prosciutto. Which is good (it’s Italian bacon), but it’s no steak. Also, there was no orzo. I actually found that to be more weird than the lack of steak. Also, there was no spinach.

Well.

So I bought food, but I bought food based on half-remembering recipes that I had read three days ago. I bought milk, cheese, potatoes, chicken, and cream cheese. I was going to make gnocchi with alfredo sauce and chicken.

You can read the recipes I kinda-sorta followed here and here, but as I read through the recipe, I realized two things:

1) these was made to be cooked in an American kitchen
2) our apartment doesn’t have measuring cups

So the recipes I cooked ended up looking more like this:

Gnocchi

5 small-medium potatos that look approximately like they could be the same amount of potato as two large potatoes
1/3 a bag of 1 Kilo of flour
1 egg

Alfredo Sauce
Admittedly I also tried to recreate the magic of Nicole’s “alfredo” sauce, which didn’t overwhelm your tastebuds with creaminess. This concoction ended up being the best of both words: thick like a traditional alfredo, but dry and complementary to other tastes

3 and some-odd notches of butter
150 grams of cream cheese (the entire box of the biggest cream cheese you could find, really)
A bunch of dashes of garlic powder
1/3 a liter of milk (approximately)
3/4s of a mozzarella ball
Dash of black pepper

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The first step of gnocchi is surprisingly easy. You make mashed potatoes. Just boil them suckers until they are very tender, then mash them (I would recommend mashing them better than I did — I still had chunks of potato in the gnocchi even after they were noodles)

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Now combine the rest of the ingredients. You gotta moosh up together. Just stick your hands in there and squeeze ’em until it’s all one big consistent dough (this goes a lot faster if you don’t have to keep stopping to smash chunks of potato).

Do try to resist suddenly lifting your hands up, looking to the sky, and cackling madly. It’s really unbecoming and immature and you should know better.

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Then you take ALL THAT DOUGH and twist it into a whole bunch of snakes (you will end up with more than what I showed here, I just wanted to get the picture before my hands got covered in dough again). Then you chop them suckers up and toss them in boiling hot water.

COOL TRICK: if you toss the dough-chunks into the water from far away, boiling hot water splashes EVERYWHERE. Fun for everyone, including your plastic garbage bag and your exposed arms and feet! Only boring people who care about “safety” (blech) will drop their dough-chunks carefully from an inch above the water, thus allowing for as few splashes as possible.

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After a few minutes, take the pot off the stove and drain the water. Congratulations! You have made gnocchi di patati. I recommend it with a sweet tomato sauce, but it’s also really good with a white sauce like alfredo as well. Green sauces like pesto are probably not very good with it.

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Next I sliced up some chicken breast. I lined the pan with olive oil and tossed the chicken on it, then doused the whole thing with pepper. The other parts of the dish weren’t going to be very peppery, so I wanted to make the chicken stand out a bit. So I put more pepper on the chicken than I normally would have.

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I did a bit of clean-up while cooking the sauce, so this picture covers a few steps:

1) Cook all the butter on low heat
2) When you realize that the butter is actually cooking, not melting, go “holy crap!”, lower the heat, then toss in the cream cheese
3) Jab pathetically at the cream cheese until it starts to separate into chunks
4) Be very generous with the garlic for some reason
5) Once the cream cheese is completely melted, add some milk to the concoction and start stirring. Absolutely none of the sauce will look like it’s together. That’s okay, it will all work out in the end.
6) Continue to add milk in batches, stirring continuously.

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Honestly it all starts to come together once you put in the mozzarella and it starts melting. This is the major difference between my recipe and their recipe. They recommend Parmesan. This resulted in a drier, stronger, less creamy sauce, which helped bring out the gnocci and the peppery chicken some.

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I made some more chicken because the first batch wasn’t enough. Multi-tasking!

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Here is the final result! gnocchi all’alfredo e pollo. Pretty tasty!

Designo (I draw)   Leave a comment

Be this how it may, both Curio the Elder and Curio the Younger reproached Pompey for having married Caesar’s daughter Julia, when it was because of Caesar, whom he had often despairingly called `Aegisthus’, that he divorced Mucia, mother of his three children. This Aegisthus had been the lover of Agamemnon’s wife Clytaemnestra.

But Marcus Brutus’s mother Servilia was the woman whom Caesar loved best, and in his first consulship he brought her a pearl worth ` 60,000 gold pieces. He gave her many presents during the Civil War, ‘as well as knocking down certain valuable estates to her at a public auction for a song. When surprise was expressed at the low price, Cicero made a neat remark: `It was even cheaper than you think, because a third (tertia) had been discounted.’ Servilia, you see, was also suspected at the time of having prostituted her daughter Tertia to Caesar.

…wait what?

By the way, if I had been born in Roman days, my name would probably be Tertia. BUT I SHOULDA BEEN SECUNDA.

A few more things I’ve learned from Tranquillius: when Caesar was in Africa, everyone thought only a Scipio could win a campaign in Africa. So he took Salvito Scipio with him to Africa. Salvito had horrible hygiene and manners, so Caesar spent the entire campaign making fun of him. I’m about 2/3rds through this reading, and I’m already making a movie montage in my head about Caesar. Now he has a fat, sloppy sidekick name Salvito Scipio.

Further cast members will be created as I continue to do research for my presentation.

So today I walked from my apartment to the Circus Maximus!

It occurs to me that I never show you the ugly parts of Rome. I'm wondering if I should fix that.

It occurs to me that I never show you the ugly parts of Rome. I’m wondering if I should fix that.

I just love the random Virgin and Child image on an electric box in the middle of a bunch of motorcycle dealterships and car parts stores, across the river from a great ruin. It just...it's just meaningful.

I just love the random Virgin and Child image on an electric box in the middle of a bunch of motorcycle dealterships and car parts stores, across the river from a great ruin. It just…it’s just meaningful.

The Tiber River. I know, not a good picture, but I wanted to make sure I had a picture of.

The Tiber River. I know, not a good picture, but I wanted to make sure I had a picture of it.

This picture is included because I think it is pretty.

This picture is included because I think it is pretty.

My first hint that my walk was actually leading somewhere.  The sun behind the shadowed ruin helped.

My first hint that my walk was actually leading somewhere. The sun behind the shadowed ruin helped.

Look both ways before you cross the street!

Look both ways before you cross the street!

Now look the other way.

Now look the other way.

Annnnd the other way.

Annnnd the other way.

There's priests and nuns everywhere in Rome.  I guess it makes sense, but, uh, really, everywhere.

There’s priests and nuns everywhere in Rome. I guess it makes sense, but, uh, really, everywhere.

It was only a twenty-minute walk across the river, or so said Google Maps, but it turned out to be a thirty-minute walk, plus an additional twenty minutes of wandering around trying to find my art class. At one point I crossed the street and there was Chelsea and Allison, who were also wandering around trying to find the Circus Maximus.

Some graffiti on the Circus Maximus (now that I know it's the Circus Maximus)

Some graffiti on the Circus Maximus (now that I know it’s the Circus Maximus)

“Why is it not this gigantic ruin?” we kept wondering (some of more coarsely than others Chelsea), despite all the local’s insistence that the Circus Maximus was not the gigantic ruin. Eventually we realized that the Circus Maximus was the gigantic field right next to the gigantic ruin. The gigantic ruin was the Palantine Hill. Also, our classmates were sitting on the opposite side of the Circus from the ruin. As it turns out, that side of the Circus is the best place to draw the Palantine.

What I was supposed to draw.

What I was supposed to draw.

What I drew.

What I drew.

This pigeon hung out by my feet long enough for me to try to draw it. It walked away once it realized that I was starting at it, so I couldn't make it detailed.  But still, a very pretty bird who was my buddy for a minute.

This pigeon hung out by my feet long enough for me to try to draw it. It walked away once it realized that I was starting at it, so I couldn’t make it detailed. But still, a very pretty bird who was my buddy for a minute.

What I was supposed to draw.

What I was supposed to draw.

What I drew. (please ignore the trees, guh, once I started I couldn't stop even though they were just awful)

What I drew. (please ignore the trees, guh, once I started I couldn’t stop even though they were just awful)

What I was supposed to draw.

What I was supposed to draw.

What I drew.

What I drew.

What I was supposed to draw (for homework).

What I was supposed to draw (for homework).

What I drew.

What I drew.

I tried to find a funny quote to put here, but apparently the internet is very serious about Vestal Virgins   Leave a comment

Source

I will admit that this is not the most exciting video out there, with its 17-minute run, necessarily-slow pace, carefully-enunciated narration, and slow, thrumming music, but hell yes. The particular points that made me squee were the parts where Janet Stephens announces that the hairdresses were lined in purple, then showed them lined with our modern-day red, and also her conclusion, where she compares the results of her hairstyle with non-Vestal hairstyles and indicates how such a hairstyle was a trend in Roman society, indicating modesty on the part of the wearer. Tying your research into general practice? Do I need to say hell yes again?

I nearly lost it when we saw the model all decked out in Vestal Virgin gear. HY.

If you’re not up on the basics of Roman society, the hearth was considered the most important part of the home, the hearth being the gigantic fire in the fireplace. Perhaps it was born up from prehistorical times, when fire was new and we didn’t necessarily understand the science of fires. It was easier and more understandable to maintain one constant fire than to try to start a new one every day (archaeologists once found a fire that had gone for twenty years). Because fire was so crucial to survival, the hearth reached a religious status within the home, and women in particular were tied to it, just as they are tied forever to child-raising, agriculture, and cooking. Vesta is a little-known goddess in the modern day; she was goddess of the hearth. She didn’t do a whole lot, being quiet, staying out of trouble, and maintaining the hearth, although she was very popular in early ancient Rome. By the middle period of Roman history even they had decided she was too boring to think about a lot. It was common practice to nominate your enemy’s daughter to become a Vestal Virgin. By the time she got out of Vestal Virginity, she was too old to be married off and would be nothing but a burden to your household expenses. Roman society ran on marrying your daughters off to strengthen political ties. Your enemy could not turn down a nomination of his daughter, but now his daughter was useless to his career.

Vestal Virgins were powerful women. They maintained the hearth of Rome. They were beautiful and powerful. They were elite. And now we know how they did their hair.

Posted January 21, 2013 by agentksilver in Latin

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