Sounds daft, doesn’t it? Eating should be natural, in fact it is natural and in the Western world many of us do far too much of it. However, there is a difference between simply eating mindlessly and REALLY eating, savouring the aromas, textures and nuanced flavours.
I am quite lucky really in that I grew up in a family where good food and good wine was really appreciated. Not everyone is this luck however, in particular in the Anglo-Saxon world where cash is king, everyone is time poor and it seems that good quality, fresh ingredients cost a fortune.
The Italians, however, really taught me how to eat seasonal food (cheaper), buy locally (cheaper) and avoid the supermarkets, with a preference for local shops run by sweet elderly couples (lol) and farmer’s markets RIGHT IN THE CITY CENTRE (cheaper). They taught me how to eat well on a budget, and in fact most of the dishes that you will see on this blog are really cheap to make, taste way better than processed cardboard loaded with artificial flavours (here’s talkin’ to YOU microwave TV dinners).
I do feel that we can also teach something to the Italians however: variety. It is very hard to get hold of any kind of ethnic cuisine here, or even to get the necessary spices to make a Thai Green Curry. Partly this is understandable as Italian food is just so damn good, but really I think that the palate should be trained to at least try many different flavours. In addition, if the Italians want to carry on claiming that their cuisine is the best on the planet (and I’m not arguing with them) then they ought to at least try some international dishes avery now and then!
(Disclaimer: I know that not all italians are conservative eaters and not all anglosaxons eat junk… but these are definitely problems ingrained in the culinary culture of our respective nations).
The conclusion to this ramble? Eat as much homemade food as possible made from good, fresh local ingredients while throwing in some international flair every now and again and you will truly learn to love food. And those who love food, can cook – just imagine a gourmet who can’t cook trapped on a desert island?!? Horrifying.
Anyway, my apologies for this spill of thoughts, I’m exhausted and not thinking straight which is really not conducive to writing decent blog posts, but I wouldn’t have slept if I hadn’t come on to write something. hope you’ll all forgive me!
8 Comments Add yours
I agree- I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family where food has always been important, with emphasis on healthy, fresh ingredients. Plus, it just tastes better than junk-processed-frozen-whatever stuff!
I remember going to friends’ houses and their mothers not understanding that I didn’t like fish fingers or coca cola…
Yeah, I hear ya; but, we were blessed!
Definitely agree! I grew up with the good foods prepared by my mom’s side of the family; originally from Naples Italy. Fresh is best!!
Pretty close to here then – Naples and Salerno are about 45 minutes drive from each other!
Wonderful! You are so lucky!
Your post is very true, my wife is Sicilian and she is a fab cook, she buys from the market or uses the veg I grow and can create wonderful meals from very simple and cheep ingredients. Although she has a passion for using my best wine as one of her ingredients or using my best brandy for flambéing, oh the horrors!!
I have to say I love Italian food but there are days when I would kill for a decent Indian or Chinese Curry.
Well they do say never to cook with what you wouldn’t drink… within reason however!
And I know what you mean about Indian food… as well as Thai and all of the others. It’s so hard to get the ingredients and unless you live in one of the big cities you aren’t going to get a decent restaurant of that sort either.