Buddy’s Blog 07/23/15

My stomach is telling me that it is hungry; but for what? We of Italian heritage have so many varieties of food to be tempted with. Indeed, each of the regions of Italy has a cuisine that is a distinct part of its culture. From Piemonte to Sicilia, there is a cultural difference in their attitude and their palates, making each region a colorful, individual presentation of culinary gifts.

Every aspect of Italian life is drowned in DNA that is stamped in every one of us. I am sure all Italian Americans can remember either waking up on Sunday morning or returning back from Mass to an aroma that is so much a part of our family experience. Between you and me, the frying of the meatballs and neck bones rivals the best perfume! But with that said, if your roots are Calabrian I am sure that Sunday dish of pasta is a little different than the one prepared by someone from Lombardia. It is the little differences that make Italy the most popular foreign destination to Americans. Italians are fiercely proud and aware of the provincial and regional culinary differences of their food.

I am reminded of a story of dubious factual content, but nonetheless well known. Evidently, one of the members of the Bulgari family was kidnapped, blindfolded and held for ransom. He was driven in a car for hours and never saw those who held him hostage or the location at which he was held for a week. When the substantial ransom was paid and in the sanctuary of his home, he quite accurately conveyed to the police the area where he had been held a prisoner. The subtleties of the food of every province is part of every Italian’s identity and Mr. Bulgari recognized the shapes of the pasta and sauce which his captors fed him!

I have non-Italian friends who marvel at how the topic of food always seems to rise its “aromatic head” no matter where we are or what we are doing. It could be on a golf course, at a Giants game or at a movie – somehow food is discussed. I could probably make a case for food being the real perpetrator of temptation in the Garden of Eden. For Adam it was an apple. For me if could be my wife’s pasta dishes with porcini mushrooms or gorgonzola sauce. Both are “kryptonite” to me!

Even Jesus was attached to the culture of food, for except for a few instances, his greatest miracles and deeds took place at a supper and a wedding.

Do you see what I mean about food? All I wanted was a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich with fresh tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil and I was on my way to writing a book about food. I now understand why my “non-Italian friends” cannot relate to our love of food. They were not born from the Bel Paese!!!

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