Funny things happen all the time in Italy, and sometimes there are things Italians do or say that are just too amusing to keep to myself. I am not advanced enough in the language to know if they are true lingual expressions or if it is just some funny Italian making stuff up. But, Peppe’s dad, like most Italians (and many hospitable grandmotherly-type Americans) feels it is his life’s mission to keep “us kids” fed.
And, I let him down.
It isn’t that I don’t eat well, ’cause I do. But, you see, it is just NEVER enough! If I take one piece of chicken, he (tries to) push two. If I take two spoons of peas, he wants me to take three. If I have an average-size plate of pasta, he thinks I need one more spoonful. It is a constant tug-o-war, but in his defense he really DOES NOT THINK I eat enough. He even confesses his worries to his sister who in turn, asks me to “please eat more” so he won’t worry. (That in itself is funny enough, but I’ll continue.)
His epicurean habits aren’t limited in concern for me. He also gets frustrated with Peppe when he doesn’t eat first and second plates followed with fresh fruit – at – every – meal!
Now it is important to point out that while neither Peppe or myself are necessarily overweight – neither of us would perish if we lost a few kilos. Papa just doesn’t see that.
If he offers something and I decline, if is often followed with, “e’ buona”, or “it’s good!” Yes, I realize the food probably does taste good, but I just don’t want another piece of Eggplant Parmesan…or a little bit of mozzarella…or an apple! It makes me laugh because in his mind, why on earth would I not want to eat it??? It must be because I don’t think it will taste good – that is the only reason I would turn something down! Right??
Well, today at lunch I had two small slices of grilled chicken on my plate with an over-sized helping of broccoli (thanks to Peppe’s dad). I was eating, as always, more slowly than everyone else. Peppe finished his lunch of a nice-sized slice of chicken, broccoli, and bread and was about to help himself to strawberries when his dad began to urge him to take seconds.
“Noooooooo …” Peppe insisted. “I don’t want more chicken.”
Grrrr… (yes – it really sounds like a growl)
I look over to dear old dad and he is shaking his head in disparagement. He looks to me, then to Peppe.
“Look at her,” he grumbles.
“She doesn’t eat anything!”
“And now you have contracted her disease!”
After double-checking with Peppe that I understood correctly, I “contracted” a good case of the giggles – and I couldn’t stop…for a long time.
Ahhh … Italians say the funniest things, don’t they? Stay tuned.