Friday, 18 May 2012

La vita è bella

As some of you know, I live in the sunny lemonland of Italy - Sicily. The place of "dolce far niente". The "EAT" part of "Eat.Pray.Love". What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Italy? Unless I'm very much mistaken, it's the exquisite food. I'd like to add to the thought by specifying that it's not so much about food as such, for people feed themselves everywhere in the world in order to survive. It's more about taste. Italians may be less pedantic at work than, say, Germans, less dutiful than, for instance, Japanese, but if there is one thing that describes them best, it's taste. It's in their DNA, la dolce vita, the mastered sweetness of life passed from father to son in every aspect of life. The beauty and enjoyment of every bit of life. It's hard to find an Italian who, regardless age and gender, can't describe spectacularly the mouthwatering dishes consumed in the latest family lunch. Food here is not only means to fill the tummy and get it over with. It's a tradition, means to get together, to unite, to celebrate life. Every single day. No particular reason needed. Holidays are celebrated at huge family tables, food coming in many courses and impossible to refute even when you feel on edge of bursting open after a long meal.
When I first got here, one of the observations that struck me was empty city streets and closed shops during lunch hours. Where do people go every day from one to four? A meal surely can't take this long. Only when you are embraced by an Italian family you will truly understand it. Again and again it's about all about taste and joy of being. In my opinion it's one of the smartest traditions Southerners have created. Not only because in summer it's too hot to spend noon and following couple of hours outside, but because it helps to keep people healthy physically, as well as mentally. Humans are social animals, as we know. Now imagine a period of the day when you get it all - delicious food (usually a variation of pasta dish, followed by fresh fruit), a bit of rest from work and company of your beloved (when you have possibility to have lunch at home). If there is anything  strict about Italians, and it is so hard to find anything strict in people whom their former and despised leader Mussolini described as "impossible to govern", it is meal times. It's a given. Breakfast with espresso or cappuccino and a cornetto. Lunch with appetising pasta. Dinner with all the meat or fish and lots of different veggies to make your doc happy. Add to that all the positive interaction with your dear ones during meals. That is the essence of Mediterraenean lifestyle - happy mind in a happy body. That's what foreigners seek for and try to imitate all around the world. The recipe for taste of life.


  1. hahaha! Was laughing so much! Brilliant! What a great way to start my day!!!