SCCTC students travel to Italy, Greece
BY PAT FARNELLI
A rare opportunity to sample Italian and Greek cuisine while exploring the countries and their culture highlighted a trip taken by culinary arts and food management students at the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center.
The 20 aspiring chefs and foodies traveled to Rome, Vatican City, Sorrento, Pompeii, and Capri while in Italy, then took an overnight ferry to Greece, escorted by teacher Dave Dunster and guides from E&F Tours.
Doug Brooks of Dimock was one of the students on the tour, and said that he was most impressed by the Colosseum, but enjoyed the food in both countries, including lasagna, pizza, and gelato. A Greek pie made with feta cheese and spinach was one unfamiliar dish he enjoyed, but he would not taste moussaka because he knew he disliked eggplant.
Dunster said, “Doug is very experimental. He balked at eggplant, but he ate snails (on a previous trip to France).”
“The guided tour is a great balance, with an interesting mix of travel, culture, and fine dining,” Dunster said. “I don’t think a more expensive culinary tour would provide a better value or learning experience for the price.”
The instructor noted that the trip, while not expressly designed as a culinary tour, offered many opportunities to learn about Italian and Greek foods. He said that the SCCTC chose this particular travel plan because of its value for the price. “A specialized trip for chefs or cuisine would have cost three times as much,” he said.
The students enjoyed exploring Rome and Vatican City with its impressive sculptures, architecture and paintings. The Colosseum impressed them with its venerable age: in Pennsylvania, stadiums are built and then need to be torn down and reconstructed 10-20 years later. The Colosseum has lasted more than a thousand years.
Mercedes Spickerman, a rising junior at Elk Lake and SCCTC food management student, said, “I really liked the ancient places, Everything is older there than anything in our country, and it was cool seeing these buildings in a larger perspective than in pictures in our textbooks.”
Spickerman said that she had learned about much of the Italian and Greek culture in her World History and History of Europe class in school.
“We had just studied about the history, gods, and emperors,” she said. “On the first day in Rome, we saw the Parthenon and Colosseum and other ruins.”
“Pompeii was closer to every day life. You could go inside homes and see the artwork on the walls, murals, beds still in bedrooms, tables in kitchens, paintings on the walls and ceilings,” Spickerman said.
In Athens, she was most impressed by the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. “It’s all marble, and you can still see the original writing on it, in the same alphabet the Greeks use today.”
Asked about her favorite foods on the trip, Spickerman said that she loved the gelato, spaghetti with clam sauce, gyros, shrimp, and the many variations on pizza. During the day students grabbed pizza slices and fast food, but at night, they had time to eat in hotels and restaurants.
She said that delicious gelato, a frozen dessert, is everywhere in Rome. “I liked chocolate, but others mixed coconut and strawberry and other flavors,” she said.
Devon Greenwood, a 2013 graduate of Elk Lake, went on the trip, and enjoyed the ruins of Pompeii.
After being ferried to Greece, they spent one night in Delphi and two in Athens.
SCCTC Administrative Director Alice Davis said that this tour is offered to SCCTC students every other year. On the opposite years, the students can travel to London, Paris and Rome with the same travel group.
“These teachers really go above and beyond with activities, life skills, and experiences that enrich their lives in so many ways,” she said.
Parents were invited to go along on the trip, as well.