Peasant I am and a peasant I will always be when it comes to the table. Poor as a kid and somewhat comfortable now, I still maintain and follow my peasant Mediterranean diet, the one that my mother brought with her from Italy and the one that respected nutritionists claim to be the source of longevity. Virgin olive oil is the main staple of this culinary approach to eating.
Everything fresh, like broccoli rabe, fennel, legumes, arugula, nuts, figs, South Philly Italian bread, fruit, home made pasta, calamari, octopus and salmon. If and when I do eat meat, it is chicken, veal and lean cuts of beef and pork. Naturally, two glasses of good red wine, Nappa only, serve as the key libation when dining on our Mediterranean selections. Forget about the home made stuff.
One's fork can be a lethal weapon. I don't mean using it to inflict a mortal stab wound. It can carry killer food into mouths which clogs up the plumbing, causes diabetes, gout, stomach ulcers and a whole host of medical complications.
I am thankful that I have never shed nor forgotten my peasant background, even though most parts of my daily existence smack at a solidly entrenched middle class style of living. I tap into my glorious past to capture the art, music, architecture and our mellifluous mother tongue. Many non-Italians have steadily turned a new leaf in their eating habits and have adopted a Mediterranean approach to what they and their families consume.
My daughter who will be returning from San Francisco with her three hybrid Gamble sons, half Irish — half Italian, has copied her mother's Mediterranean recipes to the tee. These boys who look like poster children for an Air Lingus commercial have subsisted on food which goes back to antiquity.
Now back in this area, the boys will be exposed to other aspects of their half Italian make-up under my guidance and influence.
Sam Alfonsi is founder of College Bound.