The following was written by Hannah Jane Lucas, who is on the UGA Equestrian team. She is studying Nutritional Sciences through the College of Family & Consumer Sciences and had the opportunity to study abroad during May 2023.
So incredibly thankful to say I got to spend 18 days traveling through both beautiful and historic Italy and Croatia. In my time abroad, I participated in a Nutritional Tour of these countries. Studying fresh food that was cooked to perfection hardly felt like class, but I truly learned so much from the experience. The rumors are true–the Italians know their way around the kitchen! The local people take a lot of pride in their cuisine, history, and urge tourist to take part! One side of studying the Nutrition of Italy and Croatia consisted of us getting our hands dirty! We took cooking classes to learn the art of pasta making. I would like to say I am a professional, but I am certain I am nowhere close. This is truly an art that these chefs perfect for years. So many factors go into this process outside of just ingredients. The temperature of the table and your hands can impact the success of your efforts. This made it even more impressive these chefs produce such delicious and consistent dishes.
After cooking, we got to learn where the products we used came from! This allowed us to really dive into the production process of key ingredients like parmesan, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, wine, milk, and whole grains. The local farmer is valued in these countries. Their markets often feature locally produced foods. Fresh, quality ingredients are their number one priority in the kitchen, and their markets are representative of this quality. I was in awe of the beautiful farms in these countries. The attention to detail in both the upkeep of their property and composition of their products was exceedingly obvious once you sampled! More specifically, we learned about the fermentation process, the art of cheesemaking from a cheese master, and the different grains used for pastas.
Outside of classes, we were able to be submerged into the culture of Italy and Croatia. Social culture and food culture have strong links. They value long meals to spend time with family and friends. I took advantage of this feature while getting to know the rest of my group! In between these times, we got to admire the beautiful landscapes, architecture, and history that are encompassed within these countries. Below are some pictures of times with friends and the stunning scenes I am so thankful to have experienced. I will always value the experiences and memories made in these 18 days. It is crazy to think 18 days could do so much for a person, but I am not complaining! Please enjoy these pictures but know they are nowhere close to capturing the true beauty!
– Hannah Jane Lucas