There are reasons why I chose to live in Italy. Most of the reasons have to do with food and lifestyle. For one reason or another I find both of these things more manageable here, more civil, more humane. But at the same time when it comes to food I also find myself defending the culture of quality and that is quickly growing and gaining importance in America. Italians are quick to assume that there is no good food in the United States. That we do not no know the value of a local market or a quality cut of meat. And to this I just say, not so. You must come see what’s happening where I’m from. Things have changed. But will they change enough to create a lifestyle of good eating?
An Italian who spends a significant part of time in the States told me that it’s not impossible to find good food in the US, it’s just more difficult. This is partly true but more that it being more difficult, it is more expensive.
Here in Italy it is not a privilege to eat well and to drink a fine bottle of wine. And it’s not expensive. It is the way it’s done. This is the major difference. There is not such a gap between have and have not’s in this country and so the playing field on the dinner table is level. Across the board the quality of the food is high and discussions, regardless of age, center around food. If you eaves drop on phone conversations and discussion on the street in almost always turns to food. What was eaten, what will be eaten, how it was prepared and how everyone liked it. High quality food is a priority and you learn this at a young age. At the same time no one really makes a ton a money, people live with their parents in small homes and just get by. For me this is preferred but it doesn’t match with what it typically American.
So despite everything good that happening in with food the US, everything that I feel so proud of, is it ever possible then to level the playing field in a country like America when it comes to food? I suppose I don’t think so. Improving our diet is becoming a large bullet on our to do list for health reasons but we are still missing, as an entire nation, an identity that makes the pleasure of eating a priority.