As in many cultures, food to Italians is more than just nourishment. It’s meant to bring people together, evoke memories, show off and the way the Italians do it… the quantity and frequency of dishes coming in and out of the kitchen is meant to keep you glued to the table for as long as humanly possible.
The love of food, for me, starts well before the meal, at the kitchen island. It’s the gathering place; the human watering hole. You stand around the island as the cooks do the work. We discuss, we eat, we make, we laugh, we cry and it’s all around a small table in the middle of the kitchen for the world to see. I don’t have to think too deeply to remember my most intimate and deep conversations taking place around the kitchen island. It’s a place for family.
Being in Italy reminded me of my love for food & the pride I carry for my Italian ancestry. I would never say this to anyone I met, but I’m not as Italian as I proclaim to be. By blood, I’m probably a mixed mutt but I take my known 25% as if it were 100%. My nonna, a pure blooded southern Italian woman, baptized me in her bathtub and instilled in me everything she grew up with. She was a real bad bitch in the kitchen. Apple doesn’t fall far.
Back in Chianti, we ate pasta for every lunch and a range of regional specialties for dinner.
Don’t forget a cappuccino every morning.
One of the last nights in north Italy, we celebrated the day of the dead. For a little fun, I whipped up some French pastries like mousse au chocolat & eclairs turned creepy fingers.
Italy makes me feel like I’m home without really knowing it. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that numerous Italians ask me for directions in Paris. Of all the people to stop and ask if they speak Italian and know where “X” monument is, it’s me. And I do know, and I will tell you in Italian.