The Newnan Times-Herald


Rob Isham's adaptation of Torta Caprese

  • By Clay Neely
  • |
  • Aug. 24, 2017 - 8:49 AM

Rob Isham's adaptation of Torta Caprese

The Newnan Times-Herald


Patrons at the Carnegie Library in downtown Newnan enjoyed a taste of Italy during 'Armchair Travelers: Vatican City' with Rob Isham. The local teacher was the guest speaker and served guests with Torta Caprese, a traditional Italian cake, while they listened to the story of his travels.

Isham continues to teach Italian to those in the community, but works full time as a French teacher in the Douglas County school system.

While food was still a subject on the table, Isham explained a traditional Italian meal. The dinner is four courses, the antipasta ('before' pasta), pasta, primo (first plate) – which is usually a steak or other cutlet with vegetables, followed by the insalata (salad).

Isham explained that each dish is prepared to compliment the others, and the wine at the end of the meal accentuates the flavors. The meal is concluded with a shot of espresso.

'The food is just like romance in Europe,' said Isham. 'It's mysterious. You think, 'What's next? What's going to happen?' And just like that, you get married with the chocolate and the espresso at the end of the meal.'

'Where the Vatican is today was Pagan for a very long time,' explained Isham. The hill where the Vatican is located was once called 'Vaticana'.'

'You have the religious part of the Vatican, and it's called Vatican when you are referring to the secular part of it,' said Isham. 'When you are talking about the religious part, it's called the Holy See.'

Isham took listeners through a brief history lesson about the Vatican with a powerpoint presentation, complete with pictures and maps.

At one point in the presentation, several listeners shared their experience of visiting the Vatican. One woman, who identified herself as being 'a non-Catholic Christian,' remarked that when she sat in St. Peter's Basilica she felt that 'God himself had to have created this.'

Toward the end of his presentation, Isham shared pictures from his recent trip Italy to see the Sistine Chapel.

'You want to stay there forever,' said Isham. 'It's a feast for the eyes and in the history since it's been painted we have the pleasure of seeing for what it originally was. It was just cleaned and repainted about 25 years ago.'

To put it simply, the pictures could not do justice to Michelangelo's masterpiece.

Isham concluded the event by encouraging listeners to be open to traveling and understanding other cultures and religions.

The dinner is four courses, the antipasta ('before' pasta), pasta, primo (first plate) - which is usually a steak or other cutlet with vegetables, followed by the insalata (salad).

The Newnan Carnegie Library hosts an ongoing series of free events for the public. To view the full calendar of events, visit https://www.