Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thoughts about food.

I came across a very interesting article in the Telegraph online (details below) and adapted it for my blog. It show how the Italians think of food - and how we should too!

When a baby is born in Italy, there are several milestones its parents will look forward to: their first steps, their first words, the first tooth taken away by la fatina (the tooth fairy) or il topino (the tooth mouse). And then there is one of the biggest celebrations of all – the moment that a child eats their first meal of spaghetti. At this point they rejoice, for it is the beginning of a long life of glorious eating.

The importance of food in Italy cannot be underestimated. In many cases, Italians do not eat to live – they live to eat. They do not see a meal as mere fuel to get through the day. Food is about pleasure, and most importantly it is a catalyst for family. They share food together, and through that they share other bits and pieces of their lives.

Italy's Mediterranean diet might soon have the same status as a World Heritage Site – as the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge or the Pyramids. That, by the end of this year, the cuisine of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and olive oil might be as protected as the Great Barrier Reef, the Statue of Liberty or, indeed, the Dolomites.

In 2003, Unesco launched a list of “intangible cultural heritage” that would compliment its vast collection of places of international importance. This strange cultural heritage list safeguards traditions; it already features the tango (Argentina), lace-making (Croatia) and polyphonic singing (Georgia and the Central African Republic). And now Italy is hoping to add to its current contribution of Sicilian puppet theatre and Sardinian pastoral songs, by suggesting that Mediterranean cuisine joins the list.

Italy, along with Greece, Spain and Morocco, first made a submission four years ago, but the proposal was turned down. The countries have now re-submitted it, hoping that by underlining the cultural importance of the diet, the  delicious  Italian food will make the grade when Unesco meet to discuss the matter in November.

It is surprising what  passes for “Italian” food. For example. Try eating spaghetti bolognese in the UK or the USA– real bolognese is simply meat, tomato sauce, onions, wine and vegetables, served with tagliatelle, not oodles of garlic and spaghetti (in Italy there aee over 600 types of pasta, all of which go with certain sauces). And what some people have done to the pizza - deep pan! Pineapples on them! UGH!

In Italy, the emphasis is on fresh, seasonal food – fruit and vegetables are as important , if not more so, than meat and vegetables. Ask yourself, what would you prefer? A ripe peach that is free from your garden, or one that has been sitting in a box in a supermarket, having flown many miles to be there?

Italians enjoy eating, but they eat sensibly, in moderation. Despite their obsession with food, they have low levels of obesity. If only the USA  was as obsessed!!!

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  1. Hear! Hear! No one manages to replicate good Italian food as they cannot seem to believe that the simplicity of the food is a culinary delight in itself. On the contrary, a perfectly good simple dish is choked with creamy sauces and other fattening non essentials, completely changing the freshness and dietetic structure of the meal!!!

  2. Being of both Italian and Greek descent I can tell you that the mantra "live to eat" is the way of life. On any special occasion, the food took center stage.


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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.