It’s all about the food.

I come from a large Sicilian family. We are a very loud and very loving bunch. We LOVE to make food, share food, talk about food, and we’re usually planning our next meal before consuming our present one. Our favorite food is usually whatever we’re eating at the moment. My husband is Swedish and he tells me they are not obsessed with food, they have a normal relationship with food. He appreciates a good steak or good sushi, but does not get excited by food. If I make Sicilian meatballs, he doesn’t try to steal one from the pan – says he can wait until dinner. I cannot understand this at all. The smell of garlic, onions, herbs, beef, frying up in olive oil – it’s music to my nose! How can he not want one right now?
My grandmother would tell me you always need to cook more than you think you need because a good deal of it will be eaten before it even makes it to the table. We loved the food so much that it was unthinkable to have to wait to taste it. That’s why pots really have lids. It’s not to keep hot food from spewing out, but to keep thieving fingers from getting in. It wasn’t about dinner, it was about how do I get me some of that food now. Growing up in a family of seven on a budget, we would eat with one eye on our plate and one eye on the serving plate. If you wanted seconds, you had eat fast and stake out your favorites. My youngest sister would shovel food in with one hand while reaching for more with another! To this day we still monitor the rations and pick off each other’s plates.
On our first lunchdate, my husband tried to snatch a piece of my chocolate bread pudding and I felt I had to lay out the rules: don’t mess with my food. He still remembers that. On our first dinner date, he was so nervous he only took one bite of his bow-tie pasta with peas, pancetta and cream sauce. How do I remember what he ordered? Because I ate most of his too. There was no reason to let that delicious food go to waste. That alone said a lot about our personalities and our upbringings. To this day when my husband is at a wedding or business function, he usually goes hungry during the cocktail hour because he’s too polite to eat and talk. That’s just ridiculous to me. It would be an insult to the host not to eat that delicious food and laugh out loud at the same time.
Food to me and to many is a comfort, a reward and a constant trip down memory lane. It is a way to keep traditions alive and honor long-gone family members. We celebrate birth and grieve death with food. Food is life and I believe food is God’s gift to us. I thank God for my every meal and for all the talented people that put it together in such amazing ways. I take joy in the thought that if the food here on earth is THIS good, how much BETTER will it be in heaven!

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