Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My big fat Italian family


If you've ever been to Rome and toured the Colosseum, you know that there is a room that is named "the vomitorium."

This room was used during times of feasting so that those who got too full on all the goodies could then use peacock feathers and vomit only. Then the feasting would continue.

Voila! We have the first certified bulimics!

Is it any wonder than with my Italian heritage that I have food issues?

My mom was born and raised in Rome, Italy and came over for college. She met my father and the rest is of course, history.

She also brought with her my Nonna. Nonna's behaviour about food always perplexed me. She had the nasty habit (and lack of tact) of calling people fat. Fat was the enemy. Fat was a thing to be avoided at all cost. Fat was simply not acceptable.

If you gained 5lbs she noticed it. So you'd think a woman with this kind of mentality would encourage everyone to eat healthily. You'd be very very wrong.

Every dish my Nonna served came with a helping of good old fat and carbohydrates and a very generous side of guilt and nagging.

Our relationship went like this:

"Here have some more pork!"

"Sure Nonna!"

"You are so fat, my little chichoni! You're tummy is so big! "

And if I refused:

"Have some more farfalle."

"No thanks nonna, I'm dieting."

"But I cooked and slaved for you and you don't eat? This is no nice!"


Now you can see where my issues come from! Food was both the enemy and the golden calf.

My goal in life besides being healthy is to encourage a healthy relationship with food to my future children. I do not want them growing up like I did. Food brought both guilt and comfort, two extremes that led to my fat behind.

It's a never ending cycle. Eat, feel guilty about eating, eat to comfort the feelings of guilt, and then feel guilty again.

So here's to learning that food is fuel. I'll still enjoy my lasagna and suppli.... (for those that don't know what suppli is, it's a fried rice ball with mozzerella in the middle...they don't make it in America even in Italian-American cooking) but I'll stop eating a whole pizza when I'm sad.

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