There seems to be a growing theme of Italian food here. Actually when I was growing up we would often have an Italian dish alongside the traditional holiday turkey, whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas or another holiday. This was often done for me, I know that, because I was almost as picky of an eater as my youngest son, but everyone enjoyed it. You would think we had at least an Italian grandparent to thank for this tradition, but there’s not one Italian one in the bunch. (German, French and Irish, but I’d take pasta over sauerkraut, fois gras or potatoes any day.) While living in Prague I did have a group of Italian teenagers run at me yelling, “Italiano!” as if I were their salvation. When I just smiled and shook my head one disappointed lad said sullenly, “Oh. English?” Yep, I do know English. He then asked me for directions, something no one who knows me would ever in their right minds do, but I tried my best to direct them along the winding cobblestone streets through old town. The truth is that I only navigated that city at all because I had a visual-spatial queen as a flatmate who made me a map pretty much every single day we were there for the entire year. Without her I’d probably still be roaming around the outer limits looking for a decent cup of coffee. Prague is awesome. Their coffee generally is not. Anyway, the fact that Italian food is generally relegated to the lower end of the “good food” spectrum really bothers me. Most people love it, it is relatively healthy (unless you are on your fourth helping at the Olive Garden), and it is incredibly diverse, especially when it comes to using local, in season, real ingredients. Best of all, the Slow Foods Movement started in Italy, which is just brilliant. I love the ideas behind this movement and really would like to be a whole lot better at living them. Oh, and their wine rocks~ can’t forget that. And espresso was invented in Italy. Goodness, I think I just talked myself into moving there.
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