“In Italy, food is an expression of love. It is how you show those around you that you care for them. Having a love for food means you also have a love for those you are preparing it for and for yourself”. – Joe Bastianich
One of the major Italian allures, Italian cuisine is an intrinsic part of Italian culture, Italian style and Italian life cult. Indeed, appears impossible to understand Italian mentality without acknowledging the spiritual connection between the Italian food and Italian society. You may wonder, “what does love have to see with food?” – Everything: if you are in Italy or dating an Italian.
Love and Food may be not connected anywhere in the world: except of Italy. Italian people have sincere love for food. Moreover, Italians understand and respect food differently from any other culture. To begin with, Italian people not only acknowlede its overall importance but also use Italian cuisine as a means of communication. Therefore, let’s start from understanding the Italian cuisine concept.
Italian Cuisine Concept
In Italy, each food preparing is regarded as an expression of love and an authentic culinary art. On the other hand, choosing a meal from a restaurant menù is the act of food appreciation (as well as of all natural and human efforts behind it) and self-expression at the same time. Whilst eating food is an intimate pleasure: having a meal is exactly the moment Italians love to seize.
Of course, as all people around the globe, Italians eat to live. However, Italian people barely regard food as a mere necessity, but always as an intimate pleasure. And double pleasure if they can share this moment with someone they care for. Italian food concept makes Italian cuisine a primary ingridient of Italian life cult.
Italian cuisine concept is thus much broader than a mere food preparing, tasting or eating. It includes careful evaluation of quality ingridients, the enjoyment of smell and appreciation of cooked (or raw) dishes appearaence, but also the positive and pleasant almosphere.
Italian people pay particular attention to what they eat and where, followed by whether they eat alone or together with other people. During lunch or dinner everything has to be perfectly suited to the situation: food, atmosphere, company, location. That is a moment to enjoy, the moment to seize. The moment to communicate in Italian food language.
Italian Food Language
While the world is long using body language, in Italy, people are also speaking Italian food language. For Italian people, food is often an efficient means of communication. An expression of love and self-expression are the primary notions one learns in the Italian food language.
- First, cooking for their families is the way Italian mothers and wives show their family members how much they care. Hence, for instance, the importance of homemade pasta.
- Second, a mere fact of having a meal together tells that these Italian people care about each other. Since having a meal is an intimate pleasure, Italians tend to share this moment only with people they love, like and respect. Whether the situation isn’t such, most Italians opt out: better eat alone than just with anyone. Thus, both, business and family lunches or dinners implicitly convey commitment, trust and devotion.
- Third, when Italian man asks his lady out or organizes a business dinner, the main task is to carefully choose a restaurant. Fortunately, Italy offers a vast choice of restaurants and osterias suitable for every occasion. The restaurant choice is important since it has a double role: to convey how much one appreciates the company and that of “self-reference”. Usually, Italian people book in advance. Just in case. And also because many notable Italian restaurants require prenotation of several weeks or even months in advance.
- Forth, in Italy, the food preference can tell a lot about one’s personality and life values. Meanwhile a certain meal choice reflects person’s emotions, state of mind and even physical shape in that precise moment. Hence, food as expression of love and self-expression, is also a magic mirror reflecting the one’s inner self.
To understand Italian food language, one must only learn how to read the signs. And, trust me, it’s a genuine pleasure to learn the Italian food language by tasting its dishes!
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