I really enjoy a slice of homemade cake of ANY kind with a beautiful cup of properly brewed tea.
I can still remember the cake that my Italian parents served at my wedding reception for close family and friends -- an Italian Rum Cake made by my Dad's baker cousin, 'Junior'. It had the most exquisite taste and texture with the perfect combination of a light vanilla sponge with just the right hints of rum, chocolate, custard, and cream and it looked GORGEOUS! That's the idea of a 'wedding cake' ! It's meant to symbolize what a happy marriage is all about -- a perfect combination with hints of all the good things that we can add to the mix, so as to give joy to all that we can share a piece of ourselves with -- to one another, for sure, but also to family, friends, and everyone we meet along the way. AND, still look gorgeous! Haha!
But, seriously-- think about what I just wrote above. That is -- here's me, on my wedding day -- remembering my CAKE! I admitted in my profile introduction that I'm a 'foodie' -- and so I am. But I am not the kind of foodie who is a fabulous chef (just taste my tofu cheesecake), an expert on all fine and rare food finds, or who can tell you each fresh, foodie market in the world to fulfill all your food fantasies.
I just love great food and have been blessed to have been brought up with always having it around.
Great food was a priority in our home -- not just for ourselves, but, mainly having it to share with anyone and everyone who came to visit. That's just the Italian way! You were 'talked about' if you didn't have something delicious to offer when people came over -- even if they just casually dropped in. And, it didn't have to be a homemade piece of cake or pie or cookie, etc. A slice of honeydew with a chunk of cheese and hunk of bread would do just as well -- BUT -- we're talking the ripest, most succulent melon you'd ever sink your teeth into, a fine, aged cheese that you could savor as the perfect foil to the sweet melon, and the freshest, crustiest bread you could get your hands on!
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? And it was and IS wonderful! One can't help becoming a 'foodie' with this background. But, as I said earlier, calling myself a 'foodie', for me, simply means I have a great appreciation of great food....
Almost too great....you see, I also grew up obese.
In families and cultures where food is made such a priority -- and there are many -- not just Italian -- there's that proverbial 'double-edged sword' ready to strike to bring one or two of the happy 'campers' down. 'Priority' turns to 'obsession' -- NOT good!
In fact, it's downright destructive. All that was meant to show love and joy turns into a source of heartache and struggle. What's really dangerous is that often no one knows what's happening until it's too late. That's because, in many cultures -- a chubby child is considered 'normal' -- even a good sign -- prosperity, contentment -- good times!
And not all chubby children become obese -- in fact, it IS normal for pre-pubescent children to go through growth phases when they can look chunky or shapeless, but they are actually right on track. And many children and people are 'self-regulators' and really and truly develop a healthy autonomy about food selection and eating. But, it's extremely important that parents and family members keep a watchful, YET unobtrusive eye on the behaviors and attitudes that your children exhibit toward food. Because many OTHER chubby children DO grow up to become obese adults and/or people that struggle with eating disorders, food addictions, and often, other addictions.
The travesty is that we are, otherwise, healthy, happy people who set ourselves up for many diseases, disappointments, and frustrations -- all that could have been prevented if our overeating and/or food obsessivness, somehow, could have been caught early -- before it became problematic.
So, I'm not saying that being a 'foodie' is a BAD thing. Just be careful that it doesn't foster an obsession with food -- for yourselves, but also for your children!
'Loving' great food IS about the food itself, yes -- but MORE IMPORTANTLY -- it's about the time and attention into creating great food and in sharing it to give joy and pleasure to others.
THAT actually IS the lasting legacy I have from my very loving, great food-loving Italian parents and family.
And, I feel very fortunate to be a dietitian who truly understands what it means to enjoy food and yet struggle with food. This helps me minister better care to my clients. It's very important for me to help clients get results and to become not just better-nourished people, but BETTER PEOPLE!!! :)
I STILL love a great donut -- every now and then -- and then I TRULY find joy from it. Believe me!
But, I guess, I MORE love also learning about the how, why, who, where, and what about the donut. Because I NOW know -- no matter what, where, why, how, and who....
A great donut will never love me back!
Share something good today with someone! :)