I recently visited Italy during spring break, and eating a lot of food in America usually makes me feel so gross and bloated. However, Italian food, no matter how much I ate, never made me feel bad. Surprisingly, I didn’t gain weight in Italy, although I consumed double the food and wine that I usually consume.
The food in Italy never gave me a stomach ache like here in America. It seems that the very quality of the cold cuts and desserts was much healthier and healthier, rather than being filled with preservatives. The food was so much easier to digest after eating it and the food tasted much fresher than American food.
In Italy, the bread did not taste like sugar, like American bread. Also the food tasted richer in flavor, even the considerably bland Italian food was delicious. I ate bland flatbread with only olive oil smeared on it, and it tasted far superior to the very tasty Olive Garden Unlimited breadsticks. Why? All food in Italy is made from scratch, using whole, organic ingredients.
In addition, Italians emphasize the quality of their food sources, i.e. organic and the least processed. This gives food a richer taste and supports local farmers and food producers in the specific region: olives, grapes, rosemary, cheese, meats, breads, etc. It should be noted that even the charcuterie in Italy tasted very fresh and without fillers within it. Unlike the American versions of Italian deli meats, the American ones tasted like plastic compared to the authentic versions.
It should also be noted that the flavors of Italian cuisine are well balanced, the food is not too salty, sweet or sour; as in, the average American would find Italian cuisine pleasing to the American palate. Americans should take inspiration from Italians, use flavors to complement what’s already there, rather than adding sugar or salt to foods.
Here’s what I realized about the inferiority of American food: It seems to me that the preparation of our meals should be quick and convenient to meet our hectic and busy lives. Therefore, as Americans, we do not emphasize meal preparation in our daily lives as many of our European counterparts do. For this reason, the American Diet Goodness has a higher content of preservatives and sodium, in order to prepare a quick and convenient meal. Disclaimer, that I do not despise Americans who cannot afford to eat healthy meals or who are not educated on the subjects of healthy diets. Something has to give, it’s either our time spent making a healthier meal, or it’s time cut from our life expectancy to eat unhealthy, convenient foods.
What is fascinating about the Italian diet is the ability of households to prepare meals from scratch every day. Let’s make it the American standard for preparing home-cooked meals. By doing so, it saves us money that would have been spent on salty restaurant food and it gives us time to spend with family and friends. The Italian way of preparing food requires more labor, but it results in tasty meals for family members to enjoy, be it family, friends or roommates. We should take note of the Italian way of cooking and eating because not only will it be tastier, but it will be healthier and fully enjoyed by others.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.