This I Believe

Allison - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 7, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, pleasure

“I believe in Italian Cooking”

Even as a non-Italian, I truly believe in Italian cooking. I support every step of the process, from the selection and the preparation of the ingredients, to the final presentation. More importantly than the food, I truly believe in the traditions and rituals that bond family and friends together in a way that could never be accomplished over a Big Mac and fries.

From the moment the vegetables are yanked from the ground to the second they

are swallowed with a smile, I am there with the Italians cheering them on. I appreciate the Italian’s selection of the best ingredients and their awareness of what they are ingesting. Prepared, pre sliced, microwaveable, new and improved, hermetically sealed food is not where it’s at. The selection of ingredients is not a chore, but the beginning notes of what is to become a symphony. This is a not a time for short cuts.

Just as important as the selection of ingredients is the moments those cooking share with others. Italian grandmothers teach their grandchildren the “secret” recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. This serves as a link between the

child and her past and allows her to spend time with her family. I hold this concept to my heart as my grandmother always teaches me recipes that she learned as a little girl. I know that I will never forget the time I spent with her completely covered with flour and totally happy.

I believe in the way that Italians serve their food; family style. There’s always

large platters of food for everyone to share and enjoy. You are not limited to just one serving, but you can eat as much as you want, and talk freely with your mom, dad,

brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins in the process. There’s always enough food, and everyone enjoys each other’s company and conversation. There might be yelling and screaming but, in the end, it’s all in the name love.

I truly believe in the Italian way of life. I sit down with my family at the dinner table every night, and always ask my family about their days and what happened. This has become even more important to me as I grow older, and my schedule gets busier and I have less and less time. I make sure that no matter how much stuff I have to accomplish, that I take out time to be with my family, as in the long run your family is the most important and always comes first. I try to keep the Italian way of cooking in the back of my mind, and never forget the moments when I laughed and cried at the dinner table.