Because of my Italian roots I grew up surrounded by good food and amazing wines. My grannies were fantastic cooks and made their best to cook each Sunday marvelous lunches with the sole scope of fattening their beloved grand kids! I still remember my maternal granny waking up at the crack of dawn to go the market to buy fresh veggies and colorful fruits, and to chat with her friends, so that she could prepare her legendary roasted goose or the mouthwatering Cacciucco (fish soup). In the same way, my paternal granny examined every single piece of meat at the butcher to create her culinary masterpiece. I loved the fact that she was a fervid believer of putting red wine everywhere to enhance the flavor of her amazing stews and roasted lamb.
My grannies were the ones that taught me to appreciate good food and how to cook. I love eating and experimenting different cuisines from around the world, curiosity has always the best of me, but Italian food will always be one of my favorites.
There are so many chefs and cooks who writes a lot about Italian cuisine and many of them wrote interesting and lovely books about their experience in cooking Italian food or their amazement and funny discoveries while traveling around Italy. I loved Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy, a mini series on his culinary journey in Italy, or the latest book of Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima. On the other hand, I particularly love those books that combine travel literature with a cook book. I recently came across John and Nancy Petralia’s Not in a Tuscan Villa. Part a memoir and part a humorous recollection of the adventures of a retired American couple who decides to move to Italy and to discover the true Dolce Vita, this book reveals the behind the scenes of a remarkable country famous for its sights and food. The vivid descriptions of the food and the different wines leave the impression of being there with them, especially if you know the places and the dishes that are depicted.
What I find amazing about Italy is the way we emphasize the beauty of sharing a good meal with the people that we love. Eating in Italy has acquired a meaning beyond its necessity. It’s not just about the good food but also about the joy of spending time chatting, arguing and drinking with family and friends. It has become a social event.