During the Spring 2012 I taught one of many interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in the Experimental Study Group at MIT. Each class is based on the preparation of a simple delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.
Videography by Graham Gordon Ramsay.

Click here to watch the videos in full resolution.
Buon divertimento!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lezione numero sei (part 1/2): in cucina

For the videos of this class click here

Oggi è domenica diciotto marzo duemiladodici (18/03/2012).
Domani, lunedì diciannove marzo, è la festa del papà. Il 19/3 è il giorno di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph' day), that's why we celebrate father's day on this specific day.
Mio nonno (my grandpa) si chiama Giuseppe: il diciannove marzo è anche (also) il suo onomastico (name's day). Auguri doppi (double felicitations)!

Giovedì scorso (last Thursday) we tried to speak only Italian during class.
This is a list of useful sentences: leggi, ascolta e ripeti.

Scusa, mi puoi passare la cipolla per favore?
Lit. Excuse (me), to me can (you) pass the onion please?

Ecco qui!
Lit. here here->here it is.

Grazie (mille).
Thank you (a thousand)

Prego - lit. I prey-> you welcome
or Di niente - lit. of nothing-> for nothing

Posso usare il coltello?
Can I use the knife?

In this context it means "please do".

Scusa, non ho capito. Puoi ripetere per favore?
Sorry, I did not understand. Can you (lit. to) repeat please?

In cucina

Scusa stands for "tu scusami=scusa me"= 2nd person singular exhortative present of the reg. verb scusare, to excuse, forgive=> excuse me. Scusa also means sorry (e.g.-- you accidentally bump into someone-to get someone's attention- if you didn't hear what someone said-you said something inappropriate)
Mi scusi (=lei mi scusi formal for scusa, excuse me)

Posso= 1st person singular present of the irr. verb potere (can)
Puoi= 2nd person singular present of the irr. verb potere (can)

Mi= me/ to me

Ho capito = 1st person singular passato prossimo (present perfect) of the irr. verb capire (to understand)


1- Listen and repeat

Vocabolario in cucina

Pentola= pot (f)
Padella= pan (f)
Cucchiaio= spoon (m)
Coltello= knife (m)
Forchetta= fork (f)
Piatto= dish/plate (m)

Lavare= to wash
Passare = to pass
Tagliare = to cut/slice
Mescolare =to mix
Versare = to pour
Preparare= to prepare
Usare=to use

Aggiungere = to add (irr., but indicative present is regular)
Cuocere = to cook (irr.)
Cucinare means to prepare a meal or to cook, cuocere means to
cook when you are using il forno or i fornelli/when something is in the process of cooking.
E.g. Cucino la pasta = cuocio la pasta = (I) cook (the) pasta
La pasta sta cuocendo (pasta is cooking) not sta cucinando.
Prendere=to take (irr., but indicative present is regular)

Bisogna= one needs, it’s necessary
It is a remnant of the verb bisognare which is no longer used except in its impersonal form.
Bisogna is followed by an infinitive. E.g. Bisogna mescolare
Avere bisogno di= lit. to have need (of)
Dovere= must/have to (irr.)
Devi= 2nd person singular indicative present of the irr. verb dovere
Dovete= 2nd person plural indicative present of the irr. verb dovere


Devi tagliare le melanzane
Dovete tagliare le melanzane
Bisogna tagliare le melanzane
Ho bisogno delle melanzane tagliate
Mentre un gruppo taglia le melanzane, l'altro gruppo prepara la salsa di pomodoro.

2- You are cooking your favorite dish with friends : write 5 sentences that you may want to say in the kitchen (in cucina).
If you need help to conjugate some verbs, check

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