Well, I ate my words, and the cookies all got eaten too. Carla’s U.S.A. (which to my surprise is pronounced “oo-sah” in Italy) booth at the Isola di Mondo event in Cuneo was a great success. They sold out of every bite of American dessert they had. Carla informed me excitedly (but graciously, and without a hint of superiority) that the cold pancakes had gone first. Only one person even asked if they were warm, and then ordered them anyway. I stand corrected.
They were like no brownies, cookies, muffins, apple pies, and pancakes that I had ever seen, but they went like, well, hotcakes. Tony and I arrived early and decorated the booth with red, white and blue balloons and crepe paper, while Carla played at a last-minute wedding engagement. When reinforcements arrived, we set off for a proper tour of the proceedings.
Isola di Mondo (“Island of the World”) is sponsored by the Centro Migrante, where we went for help with our Permesso di Soggiorno. They help immigrants not only with legal proceedings, but also with integration. This particular event is an all-evening cultural festival. Each country with an immigrant population in Cuneo (39 countries were represented in this year’s event) sets up a booth with pictures, video, music, and other articles representing their culture. They also sell traditional foods.
We dined in Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Morocco, and Albania. We bought our drinks (well, our bottled water) in Mali, and then finished it off with desert in Ukraine. I was very impressed with the whole event. It was a wonderful way to foster intercultural understanding and appreciation. Even if everyone had just visited each other’s booths it would have been good. But there were plenty of genuine Italians eating shwarma in the streets too.
A good time was had by all, and we all went home with at least a more diverse palate. It was a clear victory against the forces of darkness and the Lega Nord.