It is well known that Italians love food and conversation. Sunday lunch time is the perfect time to combine the two and restaurants across the land burst with life. Everyone's happy as they take their seats with some of their favourite people and settle back and decide what they'd like to eat. No matter if you have to wait, the drinks will arrive straight away, jugs of prosecco and wine, mineral water and a Spritz for who wants it. There is an endless supply of breadsticks and rolls so raise your glasses and then lean in to catch up with each other's news, discuss the latest Italian political situation, shake your head at some gossip and discuss plans.
Some expressions you will often hear at an Italian table are:-
'L'appetito vien mangiando.' The more you eat the more appetite you'll have
'Non si invecchia a tavola.' You won't grow old sitting at a table .
'Piu che ti mangia, piu ti voglio bene.' the more you eat, the more I love you.
These phrases are all designed to make you eat. A lot, and be sure to enjoy it.
The waitress appears, a young girl with enthusiasm and wit hanging over her like a morning mist. Her hair is bright orange, she has numerous piercings, she entices you to try the dish of the day.
While we're waiting for our meal, watching the trays of pasta and huge mouth watering steaks be handed round someone tells an anecdote.
'A man went into a restaurant and asked the chef what was the best dish on the menu.
the chef told him to walk a mile down the road and then come back and he'd give it to him.
Sure enough the man came back and found his meal waiting. He devoured it all, wiping the plate clean with pieces of bread and then sat back patting his stomach.
'That was the most delicious meal I've ever had. What is the secret''
The chef poured himself a glass of wine and sat next to the man.
He raised his glass and winked ' It's simple, the most simple ingredient of all, a healthy appetite.'
As we were leaving, full of love and joy at having spent time together, happily full and still laughing we past a blackboard with a sentence by Bertrand Russell written on it. He must have known what he was talking about mustn't he?
'L'entusiasmo è per la vita quello che la fame è per il cibo.
Enthusiasm is to life what hunger is to food.