When my husband and I vacationed in Italy, we discovered that Italians have an entirely different food philosophy than Americans do. When Dan ordered coffee at a roadside stop, it was served in a ceramic cup with a saucer—no paper! That meant he had to actually sit and sip it mindfully, rather than drinking it as we continued sightseeing.
Meals in Italy were long and leisurely affairs, with multiple courses spread throughout the evening. Italians cherish mealtime as a highlight of the day, in contrast to our approach. We tend to squeeze eating between soccer games, meetings and a multitude of other activities, rushing to finish as quickly as possible—or worse—eat while we’re shopping, driving or doing many other tasks.
As we had lunch at a street-side trattoria in Florence, our guide sat at a small table away from the group. If he ate with the group, tourists would pepper him with questions about our itinerary. Although he was accessible and polite, he preferred to dine privately. For Italians, meals are sacred—a time not to work or multitask, but to savor the food before them.
If we learn to eat mindfully, we can truly enjoy whatever we are eating and will be less likely to eat far too much of the wrong kinds of food.
How will you make tonight’s dinner special?