I love to eat! So much so that I tell everyone that I am a fat guy stuck in a smaller guy’s body… the SlimFatFoodie. I eat food, blog about it, photograph it… I always seem to be indulging in something or planning what is next up on the menu. The funny thing is as much as I eat I always complain about being hungry… but am I ever really hungry?
The last time I was in Italy my wife and I were enjoying a meal, of course, as we chatted with our tour guide. The tour guide and I laughed as we exchanged stories about how our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers would try to feed us beyond our limits because they always thought we were still hungry or told us we were too skinny. This is the truth. If you are Italian you know the delicate dance of trying to turn down a 3rd helping of food without insulting anyone or making anyone feel like you don’t want more because the food was not good… and being on a diet is NOT an acceptable excuse.
After laughing for a bit the tour guide looked up and smiled as he explained,
“You have to understand, when you look back there was a time when they knew what it REALLY was to be hungry and struggling to put food on the table for the family. When they were able to leave those times behind them they never wanted their children or grandchildren to know what it meant to be hungry. So that has been passed down through the generations.”
This explanation had never crossed my mind up until that point. It upset me to understand it from that point of view. It made me feel foolish. It made me think about the people today who know hunger and made me grateful for not knowing what it really means to be hungry.
As I let this all sink in, a pasta dish was brought to the table with grated cheese. He looked at it and with another warm smile said,
“In those days the amount of grated cheese you used on your pasta was as much as you could afford… now you use as much as you want.”