There's a saying in Iceland that goes like this, "necessity teaches the naked woman to spin". Of course in English we have our own "necessity is the mother of invention". I prefer the Icelandic version.
At the ripe old age of 40, I'm learning to cook, and it ain't because I've discovered its joy. It's necessity. 100% pure necessity.
So, like, I live here in the food capital of the world. Sing all the praises you want of Chinese, Mexican, french (please!), Thai, Japanese cuisine but they just do not compare to Italian. Of course I mean in that overall you're-on-a-deserted-island-and-you-can-only-pick-one-type-of-food kind of way. If there was a food Olympics Italy would be like the USA is in, well, the regular Olympics. "The gold medal in cheese goes to Italy" "The gold medal in appetizers goes to Italy" "Synchronized plates...Italy" "Green vegetables on the side...Italy" "First courses...Italy sweeps!"
This is precisely why I'm learning to cook ... Ethiopian food. Yes, I might be the only woman EVER to move to Italy and learn to cook Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian, Bangladeshi, ANYTHING but Italian (and French, but that's a personal preference - French food sucks). It's necessity, my friends.
Here's the thing. Italians KNOW that they have the best food in the world. It's just fact, so they don't bother with anything else. Ok, here and there in the bigger cities you can find a Chinese restaurant. And a number of the Chinese places now serve Japanese dishes (perhaps they think we don't know the difference...most of us probably don't). Once we found a Mexican restaurant but when David ordered chili rellenos and got a plate of lasagna we gave up.
As it happens, I too think that Italian food is the best in the world. But, the thing is, I'm not on a deserted island (although it may frequently sound as if I am, particularly when I compare myself to Gilligan). I want some choices, a little variety goes a long way.
So, initially, that friend of mine Necessity pushed me toward Mexican. I can now whip up some fajitas like nobody business and I don't even use a seasoning packet. I'll repeat - NECESSITY. If I could buy a seasoning packet I would have done thereby avoiding the NEED to learn to do it without. And, heck, that was so easy I decided to branch out! Ethiopian - Doro Wot! So tasty and so simple. Today I borrowed a Thai cookbook from my Swiss friend. The SKY is the limit! Really, I couldn't be more thrilled with my new skills unless of course my name was Björk Guðmundsdóttir and I'd just learned to ply on a spindle.
PS. Has anyone ever heard the Italian national anthem before this post? Yeah, me neither, and I've lived here for almost 10 years. That must be because there is no food Olypics just the regular ones and Italy, well...
Baseball isn't big here either.