Sunday, May 30, 2010

American Breakfast

I could never move to Italy permenently. There is no way I would survive. Alot of things about life in Italy are beautiful; kids only go to school for about four hours a day, adults only work for about four hours a day, they take naps after lunch, they have cheap wine, they lead active lifestyles, etc. etc. Italians are so lassaise-faire about everything they do in their day. They've got this come-what-may attitude about everything from ants in the house to living in sweltering heat without any complaints and it has made me realize how strung out my life is at home. If I ever saw an ant in my room I'd scream at the top of my lungs and blast the thing with RAID. Seriously? Its only an ant. And if its 70 degrees (farenheit) outside, my house is known to blast the air conditioner because we obviously cant's survive such a blistering hot temperature without an icebox for a house. Italy has taught me to get over myself when it comes to such small things as these. Discovering the lifestyle of the Italians has effectually rearranged the way I feel about life back in the U.S. Many of the things about the laxadazical lives of the Italianfolk would be beneficial to Americans like me to adopt. But I seriously, seriously miss American life. I am a pampered American princess with my ice cubes, drinkable tap water, and hair conditioner. I'm not complaining. I've prospered here in Italy, mentally and physically, and I've been enjoying the experience of living like an Italian. If I'm going to live in a developed country, though, its going to be America. And I'm going to chalk up about 20% of the reason for that choice to the American way of eating.

People knock American consumption, because yes, alot of us are fat. I'll go so far as to say most of us are fat. But I really miss the American way of eating. I miss food that isn't pasta, cheese, or tomato based. I miss salads, simple sandwiches, and food that is quick. (Don't mistake this for fast food. I don't miss fast food. But I miss the speediness and selection from places like Panera Bread). I miss American supermarkets, where I can find canned goods and fruit juices that aren't orangeade or lime water. I miss soup. The thing I miss the most, though, is American breakfasts. Croissants, or cornetti in Italiano, are good every once and a while. They stuff them full of nutella, marmelade, and creme, and let me tell you how delicious they are. They're really delicious. Other normal Italian breakfasts include caffe, fruit, or biscotti. Thats it. By the time lunch comes, my Italian family is very hungry and eat about a full two courses worth of food. I prefer to have a good sized breakfast, i.e. one bowl of cereal, and then a good sized lunch, i.e. a sandwich. I don't want to starve myself in the morning just so that I can consume enough to feed me for two days during lunch time. I like to space my meals out evenly, and at good intervals. Which is why American breakfasts are so good for me. They set me up to eat at regular intervals, rather than one HUGE lunch and a HUGE dinner eight hours later. I can eat a bowl of cereal, wait four hours then eat some fruit, then wait four hours and eat a little dinner. I'm never stuffed until I feel like my pants have stretched beyond their limits. Maybe the way I like eating, where food is spread across the day, isn't as healthy. I mean, the Italians are all thin as rails and it seems like they consume everything in sight. But strike me down if American eating it isn't a hundred times better than the way Italians eat.

I decided to give my Italian family a taste of what it was like to eat an American breakfast. My Italian mother tapped me directly on the forehead to wake me up, saying "Sveglia! Svelgia, Gabri!". She sometimes confuses Gabby with Gabri, which I think is the most delightfully funny thing in the world. I cooked up a storm that morning, realzing that brunch would be better suited to my Italian family's way of life. I made alot of food so they could all try a little something and enough that it was about the same amount of food as they would eat at a normal lunchtime. I scrambled eggs with some shredded cheese, pepper, oregano, salt, and garlic: my famous recipe. I fried up some bacon (which was nearly impossible to find) and although I don't eat meat the smell of that sizzling pork belly made my mouth water. I grated potatoes and cut up some onions and garlic to make homemade hash browns, and if I do say so myself, they fucking rocked. I made toast in their little yellow toaster and slapped some butter on each piece-an abomination to the traditional Italian oil and bread combo. I topped all this off with a batch of pancakes. My Italian family had a package of Aunt Jemima that they'd been given some time back as a gift from my brother Justin, so I used this to make a stack of pancakes so high they'd have layered the kitchen table had I spread them out. Miraculously, my Italian family was in possesion of some syrup. I made American coffee from their what is probably stale Starbucks coffee grinds and put out some orange juice to drink.

They smiled and ate what I'd made, but I could tell they'd never have eaten it had I not invoked the "I've tried everything you put before no matter how grossed out or I was or too stuffed after course number seven to enjoy now do me the same respect" rule. I wanted desperately for them to give the meal I'd truly slaved over a chance, but their Italianness pervaded the entire breakfast. My Italian sister liked some of what I'd made, but I could see my Italian family's reluctance to eat anything I'd cooked besides the pancakes. I, on the other hand, was moaning with pleasure during the entire meal. My scrambled eggs were perfection. They weren't runny or over spiced, and the mozzarella cheese I added gave them just enough but not too much flavor. My pancakes were heavenly. They were thin and yet fluffy, and instead of water I'd added milk to make them more like buttermilk pancakes and less like flour patties. I poured enough syrup on them to fill a maple tree. In this short 25 minute span of breakfast consumption I realized exactly how American I am. One of the top five meals I had in Italy was a breakfast I cooked for myself.

It was during this breakfast that I realized why I could never live here in Italy. I'm proud to be an American and I'm proud of my American breakfast because guess what, Italy? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and its totally my favorite. And as much as I love Italian food, pesto gnocchi and raviolis with spinach and ricotta cheese and all those other favorites, America in its short reign over the land of the free has managed to make regular eating even better than the country with the best food in the world.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby.

No comments:

Post a Comment