Sweet, delicious, decadent Italian food. I think my friend put it best when, while having a discussion about all the types of food, he exclaimed: “I’m Italian, we have the best food in the world! Why would I want to eat any other type of food?!”
I could hardly argue with him there, as the only thing objecting to any and all of the food that’s offered to me is my waistline.
Despite complaints of shirts being too tight and pants fitting differently, I have thoroughly enjoyed my eating experiences in Italy. It started with my mom and grandma as we just began to discover true Italian cuisine and it continues to grow three months later as nearly every day I discover new eateries, new pastries, new types of cheese, wine or pasta. Basically, I eat well.
This includes my newest adventures into the world of cooking.
I am definitely not new to the world of cooking in general, I came into the situation with some previous experience. What I didn’t have experience in was cooking daily, for every meal, just to survive. Still, it started out fun — a type of adventure, and I’ve gotta say, it only gets easier and more natural every day. Sure, some days we eat less of a dinner and more of a “something-compiled-together,” but who doesn’t? Another plus to the food of Italy is how easy seemingly complicated recipes are. I have created delicious dinners shared with roommates and friends with just your basic ingredients.
I’m not the only one who feels this way, as Italy is widely known for its cucina povera–or “poor cooking.” This is because the meals are usually simple, inexpensive and are meant to be made in large amounts. There are usually no fancy sauces, complicated seasonings or elaborate creations. The plate may look pretty, but it’s simply because the food is good. No diet stands a chance against the texture of the pasta or the smoothness of the coffee or a cooked just-right bistecca fiorentina, Florentine steak.
In addition to the obvious deliciousness of Italian food is how the Italians eat. It’s an event! One that I have grown to expect and greatly enjoy. Dinner never begins before 8:00 and can easily last for a couple of hours. Describing an Italian dinner could be another post in and of itself, but I’ll give a brief description of some of the differences. For instance, Italians do not eat food insieme, together, like we do, but one plate at a time. Il primo piatto generally consists of a type of pasta, or rice, sometimes with vegetables or a meat sauce. Il secondo piatto is your meat portion of the meal, sometimes with some form of potatoes but more often its just meat– sausage, beef, chicken breast etc.
The idea is to take both a first and second plate. Yes, it’s a lot of food and while I’m getting more used to it, I don’t think I’ve left a meal feeling anything less than very full. Thats okay — if the only con to my four month relationship with Italian food is a larger waistline, I think I’ll survive. Besides, I heard of this great secret Gelateria thats at least a 15 minute walk from my apartment…that counts as exercise right?