My father was born and raised in Abruzzo, Italy which is about 50 miles from Rome. Although my parents were never married and never lived together, they are still close. I live with my mother, but see my father on a regular basis. Most kids whose parents are separated go through some type of depression, or even need further help coping with the situation. Italians truly value their family and it comes first no matter what.
As I got older, I realized that it was a privilege to be born into a 100% Italian family. Right after family comes the beloved food. Cooking and eating are usually what Italians do best. If someone walks into our house, my mother, great-aunt, or grandmother is bound to shove food in his or her face, even if they say no the first two times. It is quite difficult to turn down any Italian food since it is so delectable. During the holidays it is especially bad, because food is constantly on the table in almost every room, tempting anyone who walks by.
Homemade bottles of vino, the seven fishes, and scrumptious desserts are always present on Christmas Eve. “Sit down and eat, will ya? Stop running around and enjoy this food,” my aunt and grandmother scream to my mother who never takes a break. Of course, we Italians eat our salad after our meals. Do we get another plate? No, we pick up the salad tongs and drop the lettuce and other ingredients right onto our dirty plate, with all types of gravy and seasonings lying on it. Notice we call it gravy, not “sauce.” Turkey gravy is turkey gravy, gravy used on raviolis, spaghetti, lasagna and whatever else, is simply gravy. Honestly, no one will ever understand.
Italians take food quite seriously, especially when it comes to recipes and behavior in the kitchen. When someone in my family tries a close friend's homemade food, they can tell what ingredient in it is making it taste a little "off." For instance, my grandparents lifelong neighbor's use anise seeds in their pizelles, which give it an...