Italy is home to one of the richest cultures in the world. With a long history preceding the Renaissance period, one of the prominent features of the Italian lifestyle is the food. Italians place a high premium on their food, and much emphasis is placed on what to eat, how to cook it, and when to eat it. It suffices to say that the average Italian family life revolves around food. Besides the amazing architectural designs adorning every part of Italy, the Italian way of life is also enriched by the quality of their Mediterranean cuisine.
In Italy, food is more than a means of supplying the body with the essential nutrients to stay healthy and grow, even though the Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil, vegetables, grains, spices, and herbs is a great source of health-enhancing nutrients. Food is far from an ordinary source of nourishment in the life of an Italian. It is something to be proud of, a unique way of celebrating the many festivals and Saint Days dotting the Italian calendar, and a family secret to be guided with the highest level of discretion.
The Italian love of family is one of the reasons why food is important in the Italian everyday life as extended families usually eat together at large gatherings to commemorate the many religious festivals celebrated in Italy, being the seat of the Catholic church, with the Pope living among the faithful. Different holidays have different types of food to celebrate them. For example, Italian doughnuts or Zeppoles are cream-filled golden pastries used to celebrate St Joseph’s Day.
In a traditional Italian family, the mum is responsible for the cooking. A typical Italian dish will include ingredients such as olive oil, pasta, cheese, cured meat, beans, sauces, pesto, Italian tomatoes, bruschetta and japenades, and so on. Whether she is cooking chopped caprese salad or cauliflower and pine nut paccheri rigati with anchovies, the momma cooks with traditional ingredients that are have been used for many generations in the family or the region where they reside.
It is common for the Italian family to dine together on a Sunday. The food is usually a three-course meal consisting of a pre-meal treat which may include cheese, cured meat, olive oil, and veggies. Then it is followed by another dish which may be a pasta dish and then a fish or meat dish. They top it off with some local cheese, espresso, and some wine or liquor.
What is striking about Italian food is that it sticks to the root. Everything is traditional-from the ingredients to the recipes, cooking, and the setting. Italians don’t just come up with any food. Their dishes always have a rich history that could date back many centuries. Italians are masters at preserving their heritage, and this has not been lost on their love of traditional food, as the Italian everyday life is filled with an amazing collection of delicious and highly nutritious meals that have been a part of the family tradition for many years.
The food is not only delightful to the senses, but it is also authentic and has a unique identity you can’t get anywhere else. Italian food is about originality, and tradition and this rings through in everything Italian.
While other people are liberal and whip up different recipes every other day, the Italian cuisine remains the same using the same ingredients and recipes for many generations. At the core of the Italian everyday life that celebrates the family and places a high premium on religion and tradition, every other thing revolves around food and its powerful bonding effects.