I don’t blame my mom for making me nuts. But my Italian obsession with food was definitely her fault. My mother was an Italian from the Bronx. Need I say more?

For Italians, food is always a reminder that life can be complicated and hard, sad and cold… but happiness is just a matter of few, delicious ingredients to sooth the soul. That’s why as soon I’ve finished one meal, I am wondering what the next one will be. It wouldn’t be normal at my house, if you didn’t smell food cooking as soon as you woke up. My shelves are full of food (mostly for me to give away to anyone who walks in our front door). And you cannot leave my house without an armful of something!

I guess being Italian is more than just food. It’s 14 conversations happening all at one time. It’s the Italian good-bye, where you might try to leave five times but you really never can leave until you take a few more food containers containers “just in case” “for later on.” The actual good-bye is 20 minutes later at your car (because saying good-bye once, twice or even three times is not enough for an Italian!).

Being Italian means taking 3752 pictures of the same thing just to be sure you have just the right angle of everyone. We also kiss and hug everything and everyone. I mean even strangers (which really is a total embarrassment to my children).

I also remember hearing my mom say things in the car to other drivers (along with giving them the finger – which (sadly) in 2021 could get you shot). Oh, don’t forget that everything is accompanied by a funny Italian gesture(s), to communicate what you’re feeling or to add an insult to any situation. And, growing up, having Nutella on hand was more important than having a boyfriend.

Today someone asked me a question about something that pissed me off … and I bit my hand, shook it in the air and said something in Italian. I think she thought I was crazy. I just shrugged and said, “I’m Italian.” Enough. Said.