When my mother and I talk about my childhood the first thing she usually says is that I’ve always been interested in food. The second one is that I used to like trying different types of food, but: What kind of food exactly?
About this topic I have to tell you that I’ve my own funny memories that have been also confirmed by my mother’s.
A hungry child: chubby and dangerous
The fourth of five children, I was the only one with a constant appetite, my brothers and sisters, in fact, used to be quite fussy about food.
I remember they would rarely leave their plates empty and it was hard for my mum make them try new recipes or fish. My elder brother Giuseppe, for example, ate only frozen fish sticks, instead of fresh fish until he became an adult. Nevertheless I was there to help them and so I would finish their portions even though I had just finished my huge one two minutes earlier.
With such a hunger it’s not hard to believe that I grew very well and also that I was a little bit chubby at that age. But it wasn’t my figure my mum was worried about but rather the anxiety that I could have choked myself during one of my “eating experiments”.
Those experiments, in fact, were made with a particular kind of food which was completely tasteless, very hard to bite and of course impossible to digest: objects!
My poor mum, indeed, had to hide from my view not only the appetizing titbits like candies, chocolate bars, but also some objects in the house which could resemble things to eat. This is because she had found me sometimes eating this kind of “food”.
Eating or playing?
My earliest memory concerning my “eating habits” is when I was just two years old. Even though I was so young, I still clearly see that scene: I was sitting on the big couch in the living-room and watching the soles of my new pair of shoes when I suddenly took one of the shoes straight into my mouth. The soles, in fact, looked exactly like my favourite types of biscuits “Plasmon” and my thought in that moment was probably like: Why did mum put my biscuits under my shoes?!
Another time I almost ate a broken necklace. I remember it was made of many little, white, round pearls and my mother had put it into a drawer in her bedroom. She hoped she could repair it sooner or later, but when I found it I must have thought it was very similar to rice grains!
I don’t know how my mother didn’t panic when she found me next to her bedside table eating piece by piece one of her favourite necklace.
Fast-cook vs. fast-food
In spite of my dangerous eating experiments, I must say my mother is a very talented cook and she was also when I was a child.
I really love eating her dishes and to me every single recipe made by her represents an important piece of my childhood. But there’s one thing that I’ve never understood about her way of cooking, and it still surprises me today: how can she cook so well by spending a very short time at the cooker? (Being a working-mother of five children is probably the right answer to this question).
I can safely say, in fact, that my mother is a real fast-cook who doesn’t cook
fast-food, but the most amazing traditional Sicilian dishes, like my favourite one: Caponata!