Observing my family-in-law who are visiting us during our holidays, I have taken the opportunity to jot down a few recurring facts that define a typical Southern Italian famiglia:
First and foremost: food is taken very seriously!
- Meatballs and spaghetti DON'T go together! This is a purely American invention.
- Always have fresh coffee boiling on the stove. Grazie mille for inventing Nespresso!
- Make sure you plan your meals ahead, preferably at breakfast or even better the night before during dinner.
- Have at least five different kinds of pasta stocked in the larder. Every pasta has its own sauce to go with it! No, spaghetti still doesn't go with meatballs.
- Be prepared to spend long hours at table.
- When you're NOT eating, be prepared talk about food all the time!
- Fuss over the bambini. Make sure they get enough food. Follow them around the house with the plate - if need be - to make sure they eat enough.
- Prepare the fruit before your meal and stock it in the fridge to serve chilled.
- Stock up on wine and mineral water. Lots of it!
- Don't plan, improvise!
- Don't improvise when it comes to food, it's a serious matter.
- Forget about any kind of timing. "Andamento lento" is the rule. What are 15 minutes in a lifetime?
- Talk alot and laugh out loud!
- Skip museums and similar visits, food market so much more interesting!!!
- Invite friends over: the more the merrier.
As a general guideline: be nice to people and welcome friends anytime of the day. Even if they are friends of friends, friends of the family or family of friends. Where there is food for 10 there's food for 11.
I've gotta run now, my familgia is sitting downstairs like a pride of lions waiting for their next meal!