A Passion for Pasta
For Italians, the most important thing in life is food. And the most important food in life is pasta. The love they feel for their food, like any other form of love, is sensual and passionate. The Italians see little difference between love-making and cooking. They are both essential and pleasurable, both necessary for long and happy lives. And Sardinians love nothing more than to discuss both. If I had a euro for every time someone told me to stir a sauce slowly, like I was caressing a lover, or to handle a fruit gently, like I was fondling a breast, I’d be a very rich woman.
For many Italians a day is not complete unless they have eaten pasta for at least one meal. Luca's favourite dish remains Pasta al Pomodoro, and he is not alone. Whenever we discuss what we might eat for lunch or supper, he always pipes up hopefully, a child-like grin spreading across his face, ‘mangiamo la pasta?’.
I can well understand this love. There is something so very satisfying about pasta, it is both a fall-back and a treat. I’m secretly glad when I look in the fridge and see it is sparse, and thus know that we will have to eat pasta. It s an innately happy-making food; it in impossible to be unhappy whilst eating pasta, it takes you back to being a child again.
In fact, The Italian claims pasta & love-making are the keys to happiness. He puts his parents’ extraordinarily happy (and long-lived – they have been together since they were 12) marriage down to these two factors. I asked him recently what the secret to their success was and he thought for a moment, and then said earnestly, ‘well ever since I was little I remember we would always have pasta for dinner on Thursdays, then my parents would go to their room and lock the door, for fare l’amore. I think this is it’.
The key to happiness is shaped like a farfalle.