Italian Food and a Proletarian Revelation

I am often reminded of how natural it is for us Americans to have love-hate relationships with Western European nations. Whether it's France, Spain, the low countries or even Germany, an American can easily find both paradise and things that annoy them to no end among the facets of countries across the Atlantic. The exception, of course, is Great Britain, which is just generally mediocre and crappy. I have thought for quite a while that Italy was in the same category, but I'm now rethinking that (slightly).

I'm sure I speak for many when I mention right off the bat that Italy has quite a few negatives going against it. It has, for example, done far too well in soccer when France has lost, such as at the last World Cup, which was a disgrace against humanity that does not bear further mentioning. Italy is also the unhappiest country in Western Europe as well as one of the most corrupt. (There is a connection.) It is also the birthplace of... you guessed it- Italian food.

I have long considered Italian food an overrated and over-abundant part of the American diet. I still think it is. It is also a rather simplistic array- at least here in the U.S.A genre of food should not be entirely based on noodles and tomatoes, neither of which is native to the country putting its name on the food. On my second full day in Fairbanks, however, -that's Monday the 11th- I was shown that culinary creativity and quality can shine through even in Italian food.

After our first day of refereeing State Cup soccer games, my father and I went to Bella Pasta in downtown Fairbanks. I was intent on eating as few calories as possible and continuing with my dietary commitments, despite the fact that I was away from home. At first I was skeptical about the place, first because of the Italian-ness and secondly from the high prices and extra penny-pinching fine print on the menu. An extra fee was charged if a meal was to be shared and a gratuity was added for parties of five or more or if you wanted to split the bill. Me being me though, I kept my positivity and looked for the best the menu had to offer.

Among the salads, I found a very intriguing item called "pear walnut salad" which I had never heard of before, not in Italian food or anywhere else. I ordered it and when it arrived it was a quite impressive example of creativity and taste. The salad also included apple slices along with the pear and blue cheese to add yet another taste. There was also chicken, but I gave that to my dad. I had only tried blue cheese once before a long time ago, but trying it again I was immediately attracted to the taste and the taste of the whole meal. The flavors blended very well and I ate the meal slowly. It was limited calories too, of course, with the "heaviest" part being the cheese, so I savored the whole plate. It was a very satisfying dinner and it struck me that even Italian food can be unique and inspiring from time to time.

My dad and I also had a great time talking- we talked about a lot, but near the end of the meal we got around to talking about the waiter and what he must be earning at his job. As we discussed this, I suddenly realized that the cultural taboos we have against asking about another person's income are constructs of the corporatist society in which we live. My dad added- "if you knew how much some idiots make wouldn't that make you pretty upset?"

I mean honestly- why aren't we more honest about our incomes? It's because it's unequal and we know it. If you, the standard American worker, were more open about what you made, you would immediately become aware of how many other people make more than you- more than they deserve from the amount of work they do and more than they deserve because its more than you. You'd also become aware of the harder-working and just as deserving people who make less than you, which would be an embarrassing revelation for your comfortable universe. Seeing the vast injustice in our current society should be very uncomfortable. That's why we're constantly hiding ourselves from it. I do it too; my family is certainly very well off. Let's break the barrier then, shall we?

As a lazy high school senior, I make much less than my more industrious classmates. I did however make perhaps $300 this last week from my refereeing. For different KYSL seasons I may make $100-200 for the couple months of reffing a couple games a weekend. That and the permanent fund is pretty much all I get. Now for my family: I'm not afraid to say that I am unfairly advantaged both within this country and certainly compared to the rest of the world. But admitting this is a step towards understanding the inequality that surrounds us, so now... how about you?


  1. I was reading your blog (obviously)... Italian food, yes, can vary extremely. Trust me. I know. o.o And I don't find it all that fatty either, you know. When I go down to visit my Nana in Washington, I find that I lose weight there, even when she's shoving bouts upon bouts of Italian cooking into me. She even made the remark to my father that I was anorexic (heh heh, noooo).
    As for pay. I earn $45 a day babysitting a bratty little 8 year old. Pretty decent income for a 14 year old, if you ask me. My mother, as you guessed, earns just as much as yours, being that she's a teacher as well. And the same goes with my father... Though I don't think he's gotten a paycheck in a while and my mom keeps bugging him about it.

    Next time you get on MSN, I want you to tell me how to trick out my blog (yo) because mine's pretty darn boring. XD


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