There are few things more important for an Italian than food. Family, I guess, but in the Italian culture family and food are so intermingled that it’s hard to have one without the other. In fact, despite sitting at my computer for a good 10 minutes preparing to write this, I can’t think of a single thing that even comes close.
It must be genetic. There must be a food gene that gets passed down from Italian mamas to their Italian babies that predisposes them to be food focused. We think about food all the time. It’s a bit of an obsession, to be honest but because of that darn food gene, it’s truly beyond our control. We literally look for ways to incorporate eating into everything we do.
Super Bowl Sunday is no exception.
I know what your thinking. Everyone eats during the Super Bowl. In fact, there are entire parties that are thrown around the Super Bowl. Spicy barbeque chicken wings, creamy 5 layer dip and lots of cheese and crackers will grace many a coffee table tomorrow afternoon.
But here’s the difference. For those without that darned genetic predisposition, the focus will be on the game.
My friend Steve is a closet Italian. Actually, he’s Jewish, which in many ways is close enough, but Steve also possesses the food gene. I have rarely met anyone who thinks about food as much as I do, but Steve comes close.
“What are we going to eat on Sunday?” I asked him during the week.
“Who’s playing?” he asked me.
Now you might think that an odd question, but truthfully, it wasn’t that weird to me. We had watched the playoffs together just two weeks ago but we were also eating barbeque beef sandwiches and coleslaw and I guarantee he remembered that. Remember, it’s not about the teams, it’s about inspiration for the menu.
“New England and New York,” I replied and we launched into a discussion of foods from the region that might be suitable for tomorrow’s gathering. Would we go traditional or ethnic? Street food or classic restaurant style? Meat or seafood? And the million dollar question… what would we have for dessert?
“What time should we come over?” he asked after we had sorted out the menu.
“Kick off is at 3:30,” I informed him as if it really mattered. After all, to those afflicted with this genetic disorder, the game time is inconsequential.
What he really wanted to know was, what time do we want to eat?