Written by Clara Vedovelli, a graduating student in Language Education from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Bologna in foreign languages and literatures. During her masters, she collaborated with the Ca’ Foscari School for International Education and she interned at the Pedagogical University of Cracow as a tutor of Italian. Clara is aspiring to gain hands-on experience in a professional environment outside the classroom, and she is focusing on creating active engagement on the ILF’s social media platforms. Being born in the Italian Alps, Clara enjoys hiking and spending time in nature.
Katie Quinn is an American author, food journalist, YouTuber, podcaster, and host living in Italy and having her best life in Trani, Puglia. Katie’s YouTube channel counts more than 50k subscribers and she is very active on social media (@qkatie) where she posts daily about Italian cuisine. Raised in Ohio, Kate moved to Ney York right after college graduation, and lived there for 10 years before moving to London and then Trani. Quinn is an entertaining and talented storyteller who manages to portray on screen the most peculiar aspects of the Italian culinary traditions and she also talks about cultural differences between Italy and the U.S. Thanks to her cultural and culinary understandings of Italian food, Katie Quinn always provides her community with insightful and informing contents that you can find on her website katie-quinn.com.
I got the chance to meet Katie Quinn via Zoom and we had a chat about her life in Italy, her passion for food and her books.
What made you fall in love with Italy and more specifically what made you choose Trani among all the other Italian cities?
The things are too numerous to just list! I think I was taken by Italy. I was completely enamored by this country and by the people, the food, the culture, the history. It all goes hand in hand together, and I was just taken with it all. It’s also maybe important to mention that I have ancestry from Italy so everything that I discovered about this place, I felt like I was discovering more of myself or a part of myself that could be lost, but I didn’t want it to be lost. I wanted to grab onto it. And why Trani? Totally, random… really! I feel like I lucked out with such an incredible place to live. So, I moved here with the purpose of getting dual citizenship and I was advised to move to Trani to get all those bureaucratic things done. So basically, I just did what I was told, and I lucked out! I’ve been here for almost exactly one year now, it’s crazy how time flies. It’s so beautiful, and I’ve never lived on the water before! I’ve never lived, you know, on the coastline, it’s just incredible.
How has your lifestyle changed since you moved to Italy? Have you noticed any major changes in your everyday life?
Yes… hugely! So, when lived in London I would often run a lot of my errands right after lunch because it avoided too many people, a lot of people were still in the office and my schedule was a little bit more flexible. Here, everything shuts down after lunch! So, there’s no time for me to be productive. I often take a little nap after lunch now, and I never used to do that! Oh, and I am more active in the evenings that I ever used to be. I would go out to dinner earlier and I would go to sleep earlier, whereas here everything socially is just pushed a little later. Going out to eat later, and also just the “piazza” (square), they are so full later to the night especially in the summer. I’ve found a whole new energy after the sun goes down. It’s not necessarily tied directly to partying, as I’ve experienced in other places I’ve lived. But here it’s like I’m up late because this is when people socialize. One last major chance I would say is my consumption of “caffè”… and now I prefer small, sweet breakfasts. That was weird to me when I first moved here! I was like “that’s too small! I need more for breakfast” and also “why are you eating dessert for breakfast?”. That was my thinking, and now everything too savory or too big is too much!
Would you consider Italy or Trani your home now?
Good question! Short answer… yes. But being completely honest, it comes with a “for now”. Yes, it’s home… for now. My husband and I are happy here, we have our dog, Kiro, and we have friends, we have a community, which is so important to a sens of home. So, maybe the best way to put it is “yes, I have a strong sense of home in Trani”. But to tell you the truth I am not married to Trani. I’m interested in exploring other parts of this peninsula. I’m interested to see where else I can be happy to live, because it’s such an incredible place and there’s such a diversity of things and I am very curious to explore more.
Did you inherit your passion for food from your family or did you discover it later as an adult?
It’s interesting, my mom is a very good cook. She always worked fulltime, and she always did the best she could to feed us growing up. But she’s a really great cook and I see that more now. Honestly, I think that my passion for food really came into place when I moved to New York City and I was exposed to all of this different food and different cultures behind the food, that I’d never known of before. So, I think it was a fascination that food and culture and sense of discovery could all go hand in hand, that’s what truly drew me to food. There were flavors, tastes and spices that I had never heard of, and that’s what led me down the rabbit hole of loving food.
“Cheese, wine and bread. Discovering the magic of fermentation in England, Italy and France” is your second book. How did you get inspiration for it and why did you focus on fermentation?
I think that these days a lot of people when they think of fermentation, they think of Kombucha or Kimchi or Sauerkraut. They think about these sorts of things that are well known for being specific fermented food. Of course, those things are fermented and awesome, but so are things that are on our everyday table that we don’t think of as fermented. Coffee, bread, and obviously cheese and wine are all fermented, but I think that probably a lot of people don’t know that they are products of fermentation. So, for me it was connecting the dots. These staples of our life as humans are things human have relied on for so long to sustain and nurture ourselves. I wanted to explore the idea of my “trinity of fermentation” and what makes those things so timeless, special and, of course, delicious.
In order to write this book, I had to take some classes. I took cheese-making classes, classes about wine and I took bread training classes. I did educate myself in terms of workshops and classes, and I also spent so much time at the library. I really did! I lived in London at the time, and I would spend just full days at the British Library reading and writing. Basically, I would take an experience that I had and write about it, and then I would fill in the gaps, or if there was something curious about it, I would go research about it and fill it in.
Regarding your first book “Avocados”, did you choose to write a book about avocados because millennials made avocado toast popular, and you decided to take this opportunity?
(Laughing) That was exactly the time when avocado toast was everywhere! That was right after I left culinary school and there’s this series of cookbooks called “Short Stack Editions” that I really liked, and it was one ingredient per cookbook. I just thought it was so cute and so cool, and I realized they haven’t done avocado. How is that possible? I love avocados. So basically, I just reached out to the editor and told them that they may have needed an avocado’s cookbook and I could be the person writing that. And then we met, and I gave them some of my avocado dishes and, yeah, I started writing the book.