I observe alot and come up with my assumptions on people, food, and life, which we know are all intertwined.
Italians are simple. They use simple ingredients to make the most remarkable dishes. Take a simple dish of homemade pasta with tomato sauce. It’s fresh, natural and simply simple. Take the conversation that ensues around the pasta dish. We discuss the process, the type of flour used, the type of sauce it’s served with. We go deeper into what tastes better, dry pasta or homemade. Which sauces go better with certain pasta. Yesterday we were treated to homemade pasta, courtesy of my mother in law, Norma.
But this entry is not focusing on food, it’s about people.
The holidays bring everyone together around food. But I am here to point out how Italians take “Nothing and make art of it” It’s no secret that Italians are passionate and at times, very dramatic. In one of my favorite movies, “Marty” two elderly sisters sit side by side and one complains about her daughter in law and the way she treats her, in reality (in the film) she treats her just fine, but the mother in law takes it as really bad. Her sister replies to her, “Caterina, don’t make -a – tragedy out of everything”.
I laughed so hard when I first saw that scene and silently agreed that Italians can make “tragedy out of everything” or as I say in a more positive way, “mastering the art of nothing”.
I love listening to conversations and seeing how people interact. When I was Italy I was especially intent on observing the art of conversations among Italians. It’s there that I discovered that insignificant things in general like the weather or a cup of espresso are not as insignifcant as I thought.
To Italians, everything is important. The way a shirt falls off your shoulders, the hem on your slacks has to be just right. A scratch on a shoe? God forbid!
We are in America and things haven’t changed that much.I noticed that at the dinner table the day expands into conversation after conversation and the next thing you know it’s 9PM and your legs feel restless from sitting all day. Italians around the world were feasting yesterday and I can only imagine the topics of conversation. I am sure it went from the best place to buy a pound of mortadella while debating the merits of pistachio or black pepper and making sure it’s imported!
Most dinners can erupt in heated debates over politics or sports, which can also be entertaining, however, in my opinion “the art of nothing” is really something. As long as it doesn’t become a bigger problem than what it is or as I quoted a “tragedy”. “Nothing” can actually be spirited, fun and lighthearted, especially after a few glasses of wine!
In Italy, today is Pasquetta, a holiday after Easter where people flock to the countryside to picnic and relax and recuperate after a long day of eating. How appropriate for Italians to celebrate Pasquetta, after all it’s just another day to do “nothing”.
In this photo you see my mother in law making homemade pasta and for the record, she doesn’t “make -a- tragedy about everything” 🙂