I remember when food didn’t stress me out so much.
I remember when ‘Italian’ was one of many cuisine options.
I remember when ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’ was ‘Parmesan’.
I remember when ‘grana’ meant nothing at all.
I remember when no one watched what I ate.
I remember when toasting with water was an option.
I remember when no one commented on what I ate.
I remember when pork was a once-in-a-while meat.
I remember when no one looked me up and down each time they saw me.
I remember salads. Big, creative salads.
I remember when no one commented on my body, my figure, or my clothing.
I remember when I didn’t have to eat fast enough to ensure no one would get offended.
I remember when I didn’t have to eat slow enough to ensure no one would pile seconds on my plate.
I remember not thinking at all about the pace at which I was eating!
I’m writing this post from a DIY desk that I have assembled above my exercise bike, so that I can get a little workout in while I type. I have resorted to this ridiculous form of multitasking because the activity level of my daily life can no longer support the onslaught of carbohydrates and pork that this country is wielding at me.
I am a food person. I love food. I especially love Italian food (how can you not?). Even more specifically, I find Emilian traditional cuisine to be one of the best in Italy. But this is getting ridiculous.
When I was growing up, I always used to think my mom’s family was kinda weird… in that they talked about food a lot. Like, a lot. Turns out, they were just Italian-American. Upon arriving in Italy, I discovered that food is THE subject of discussion. It doesn’t matter what you think you’re talking about… food makes its way in there somehow every time.
At dinner, while you’re eating, you’re discussing what you’re eating, how it was prepared, where the ingredients came from, the history of that specific dish, when was the last time you ate it, what you ate for lunch, what you’re going to eat the next day, where to get the ingredients for the next day, the mythical health benefits of said food, what other ingredients could be substituted, how the dish varies slightly in the next town over, and it goes on and on and on…
Not that it’s not fascinating. It is! But (to borrow a phrase from my hosts),
(Literal translation: “What balls!”… a stronger, more exasperated, “Come on!”)
So here I am, 15 kilos heavier than when I arrived 5 years ago. This has to end. I propose a club of sorts. A network of expats in Italy attempting to healthily adapt to the food culture here. We can have a hashtag (I’m thinking #fitaly, or something similar) and keep each other accountable by blogging our own stories and asking each other for progress updates.
Who’s with me?
(This post was written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge at The Daily Post.)