When I love something, I will go to the grave loving, respecting, promoting, and defending it. I am loyal to a fault. Maybe it’s the Southern Italian mixed with Scorpio and raised in the True New York, which no longer exists, that makes me so passionate. I have no idea. I love the beauties of Life. I love my culture. I love Italy. I love it for being the single culture to have contributed more to humanity than any other. From science, to art, to food, to everything under the sun and moon, Italy has created and inspired. A cookbook from one small region of the 20 Italy boasts has more in it than most countries have in their entire history books. Again, one small region’s food listings surpass another country’s entire lifetime productions. These are not opinions, but facts. Facts motivate me.
Pizza has been bastardized and prostituted. For many years I refused to even eat pizza if it were not from Italy, usually Naples or Salerno. I gave up on my pizza evasion when I realized how grateful I should be to even have food. But my point was an important one.
I could not take it anymore after years of having to listen to people arrogantly scream their opinions about “good” pizza. It’s as if they just came from interviewing God. “What do these people know?”, I often ask myself. Given their judgments, not much apparently. There is also a crazy belief among Americans who come from outside of New York that you cannot get bad pizza in this city. These people must really be accustomed to eating garbage if they think so many NY pizzerias serve great pizza. Worse, they readily continue to say these clichés as if they were preaching the Gospel.
I must mention that while I love pizza, I love pasta much more and should I be given the choice of pasta or a new heart, I would take a well-made plate of Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. Pasta outside of Italy has truly been raped BUT pizza really attracts more so-called “expert” opinions. I felt like someone with the true cultural understanding of pizza must say something.
My parents are both from Italy. My mother comes from the beautiful province of Salerno, near Naples where Pizza is at its truest. I spent many summers eating and sightseeing. Getting to know the people and environment added depth to my insights into Italy, her culture, and contributions. Perhaps I was spoiled. Or perhaps I have the necessary information and understanding to comment.
No culture, people, or race takes food as seriously as Italians. 10 year old Italians can give you whole monologues on why a certain vegetable must be grown, cultivated, and prepared for the table in a certain way. That’s all Italians talk about. The Italians have understood the science of digestion millennia ago and they prepare and cook their foods with this knowledge in mind.
My appreciation for the culture and lifestyle was naturally born. There is no political or sociological reason for me to feel this way. I do not hate my country (U.S.A.) and find no need to identify with a sophisticated, foreign example just to put myself above others. This is what I am, what I know, and what I love. You may not like what I love, but it would be honorable to respect the passion.