Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Italian Way
Blame it all on Vinnie Barbarino (Welcome Back Kotter) or Danny Zuko (Grease).
I have been happily married to an Italian man for the last 20 years. When I met him, I was quite impressed by his family and their strong cultural beliefs and values. My familiarity with Italians started when I was younger. I grew up in an area in Ontario that had a lot of Italians, and I found myself gravitating to their ways of life and I became good friends with some of my Italian classmates and neighbours. As I grew up, I knew there were things about this Italian Way of life that I really liked (including John Travolta!). There are many things that this Canadian-born female has learned from her Italian friends and relatives over the years. I want to talk about three areas that are most outstanding in my opinion: Food, Family and Affection.
I have learned that Food is a very important part of life for Italians. The passion that goes into planning, purchasing, planting, picking, preparing and putting it on the table is so evident and strong, that you can't help but love the food. The pastas, sauces, meats and vegetables are mouthwatering. Don't forget the vino (wine)! Food is always present at any social gathering - be it a quick visit in the afternoon, or a Sunday afternoon visit for lunch or supper. Italian food is one of my favourites. Rarely does my mother-in-law come empty handed to our house for a meal!
Family values are very strong in the Italian culture. The love that is shown towards children in the family is very evident. Harmony among family members is always the desirable outcome of any disagreements. Respect for the grandparents is expected and taught to the young. Birthdays, Anniversaries, and other important holidays and events are always acknowledged and celebrated among caring family members.
Hugs and kisses are given very liberally by most of the Italians I have ever known. Their abundance of affection makes one feel loved and included very early on in the relationship. I've never been kissed and hugged so much in my life until I met my husband and his family. What a beautiful way to feel accepted and loved by others. I have to admit, it did take some getting used to!
It's true what they say about Italians. When you marry an Italian, you marry their family. My mother thinks I have become "more Italian" over the years. I guess some of those good things have rubbed off on me. I have been to Italy, and I can truly say that Food, Family and Affection build the very foundation of what Italians stand for. I like the Italian Way and I have learned a lot of good things from my Italian friends and family.