Most people would not be able to formulate one word that personifies their essence and life. Many think, “How can a single word capture my complex, multi-layered life?”but then, there are those that perceive the ability to be second nature. For me, I am able to effortlessly condense my life thus far into one word: food.
Food is the center of my universe. My interests and pastimes all derive from my affinity of salty, doughy, crunchy, sweet or mouth-watering food which arose through my parents’ influence. I come from a family of big-time eaters and without difficulty, my father and I can inhale an eighteen-inch pizza in less than twenty minutes. Even my petit sister, Steph, can pack a few avocado smoothies in. We claim that we were bred for eating and each time we sit down for a meal this proclamation is verified.
At an extremely young age, my mother and father rapidly introduced me and my sister to different ethnic foods. Even in the womb, my sister and I had our “taste” of foreign delicacies. In fact, before each of our births, my mom sat down to a fiery and aromatic Devon Avenue Indian cuisine. The spices must have kicked in because Steph and I were out in the open the next day.
The weekly visits to Chinatown, the late night Ethiopian food, and the small but hectic Korean Barbeque restaurants, among other worldly cuisines, caused my family’s desire to encounter hundreds of cultures through food. So approximately a year ago, we journeyed to Italy for three weeks to have our share of bella la cultura italiana (The beautiful Italian culture). We were captivated by Rome’s weathered ruins, Florence’s intensive and vast museums, Venice’s ornate churches and Amalfi’s clear blue sea. The splendor of Italy’s cities was no match for their unbelievable food. Throughout the trip, it seemed that we plainly killed time in between meals.
Other introductions to the world’s innumerable tastes unearthed my buried interests. Soon I sought information concerning the nations behind the food. It advanced to a passion for geography and while studying countries, rivers and mountain ranges, I discovered the history tied to each one followed by its languages, its philosophies, and its religions. This culminated in the decree of my current life goal: traversing the globe and immersion in various foreign lifestyles.
My exposure to multiple cultures via food enhances my abilities to relate to others and provides me with a valid basis for being open-minded. “You don’t know until you try”, my dad would say while coaxing me or my sister into tasting a dish, a phrase exemplifying the benefits of being unprejudiced. Life has countless relations to the restaurant table which would be unknown to me without my parents’ lessons. I pride myself in being a gastronome and a slight glutton because it brings us to the dinner table where the things that I enjoy most in the world: family and food. Food is not just for nourishment; it is a tool to amaze, to comfort, and to bring people together. In Italy, the day revolves around meals and like me, they live to eat.