Beef… It’s What’s For Dinner in Florence

After leaving the beautiful Riomaggiore, we were on our way to Florence, a city rich with history, art, and culture. When we finally reached the city, we were welcomed by the old buildings and crowds of people from all over the world.

One of the major stops in Florence is the Uffizi, a museum filled with art from many famous artists, including Michelangelo and Caravaggio. Most of this massive museum was filled with religious scenes and portraits of unclothed people. In contrast, there was one room filled with paintings of meat. One specific work of art that stood out to me in particular was “Still-life with Barrel, Game, Meat, and Crockery.”

I felt a connection to the artist Empoli when I read in the painting’s description that “love of food… was one of the painter’s salient characteristics.” Now, that is something I can get behind. I have been known to feel deep emotion when the flavors of a good meal dance through my mouth and fill my body.

One thing I have learned so far on CR is that anyone can see and experience many crazy, beautiful, and impressive things, but what makes someone remember those things is the emotion attached to them. The joy I experienced when I was able to see this room full of paintings of food was incredible as I was able to relate to this artwork. I decided to channel my inner artist and challenge Chloe, Kevin, and Taylor to a drawing contest to see who could create the best rendition of “Still-life with Barrel, Game, Meat, and Crockery.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide whose masterpiece you liked the best, but at the end of the day that’s not what’s important.

What’s important is that taking the time to attach an experience to this piece of artwork allowed me to remember it in a manner different from the rest of the art. I walked past thousands of other works of art in the Uffizi that day, many of which are more recognizable or famous, but none of which will be as memorable to me. The feelings and emotions attached to sites is what causes the sites to be remembered.

Going along with the theme of meat is the delicious meals we had in Florence. From ZaZa’s, to Francesco Vini, to Da Il Latini, we’ve ate well. I’m talking massive steaks, tasty lasagna, delicious pizza, flavor packed pasta, and charcuterie boards galore. But even better yet, we’ve had great conversations at meals, as meals in Italy last hours… sometimes even 4.5 hours. All types of converstations have been held – the humanistic attributes of golden retrievers, what we believe in, what we are passionate about, and creative tragedies of Spanish speaking animals. For this reason, dinners have become my favorite part of the day. These long dinners are different from dining experiences I have had in the United States both at home and at TCU. I’m often so busy that I don’t take the time to enjoy the presence of other people that I am eating with. I even found myself at the bluu many times this year eating in 10 minutes or sitting by myself so I could multitask by studying while eating lunch. This is something I want to change in the future. I want my future dining experiences to focus less on how fast I can nurture my body and more about spending time with and getting to know those who are important to me.

Sending love from Rome,

Lauren Klingemann

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