A Quest for Food Purity Which Lead to the Discovery of Spirit Authenticity
in myself & in others………..
I took a trip this summer with the intent of finding authenticity, my destination was Italy and specifically the Lingurian Coast, or as some are familiar with it as, the Italian Riviera. My desire to visit Italy was not the average choice as far as destination goes. As most venture solely into Tuscany seeking the richest and most robust red wines, others seek Pizza in Roma and then of course most salivate for Piedmont, rich and cheesy pastas. I sought out Linguria and the Italian Riviera for my two great loves; the ocean and fresh herbs. I was seeking the authentic in life and not necessarily in the way people make food, but their spirit towards life and how food continues to play a major role in their everyday peace and contentment, something I am working at incorporating more in my own life; making it more authentic that is regardless of what is happening in it and regardless of what I am doing in the moment. As most of my followers friends and creditors know, times have been tough and I am constantly trying to move ahead in life professionally while still trying to grow and evolve as a person and learn and absorb the lessons and that are constantly being put in front of me. My journey to Italy was a bit impromptu and out of left field as so many of my actions and certainly trips are, but I accomplished what I set out to do and then some. Finding authentic inspiration and refreshed and renewed energy to keep moving forward during difficult times was my main focus. My secondary focus was to discover another part of the world and a new culture I had yet to experience. Italy was the solution and when I took to google out to plan the trip, I of course couldn’t get my mind set off the water (the beach bum in me prevents me from venturing to far from the sea) and in the discovery process I learned about the rich herb culture on the Lingurian coast. I instantly fell in love before even going, as for me an area set on cliffs and rocks and vibrant blue seas that is renowned for food and culture revolving around basil and pesto, seemed to be the ideal magical location for my own inner authentic search and inspirational journey.
I took all my points from all my traveling in the past years and spent them all on a ticket and hotels and mapped out my journey, trying to get as much of the coast, the herb culture and variety of people as possible. The trip began in Genoa, Italy, home to the famous Genovese basil. The idealic Italian city filled with narrow streets and tall buildings with its beautiful Romanesque-Renaissance architecture and medieval yet modern feel engulfs you. You walk through the mazes of pathways between the buildings dark with hints of bright sunlight at the top feeling as if you will never find your way out, yet this relatively small city, seems to always spit you out into one of its landmark promenades or fountain squares. This was my first experience with Italians in Italy and at first I was a little taken back, I have to admit. They were quick, assertive and pretty much could care less about me, that is except a few really old men who proposed marriage and babies! Their slightly abrasive and disinterested attitude made it difficult for me to find the courage to ask questions and seek out the city’s best food and culture experiences in the short time I had stationed there (24 hours). I found myself put off by this a little and will admit my first few meals in Italy were highly disappointing. But as all thing sI do and experience and I think in traveling I feel it even more, there is something to be learned and absorbed from that disappointment and lack of understanding. So I did what I usually do and pushed myself to a point of uncomfortableness vowing that despite the major language barrier I was facing that I was going to find their authentic and my own in the short time I was there! I began to think of Italians kind of like New Yorkers, busy, set in their ways and moving, when they did stop they were friendly and lovely as can be, my mind and energy opened and my experience became greater. I learned that shutting down for me is not an option, to keep seeking the answers or in this case a good meal.
As I traveled down the coast to Rapallo, Portofino, Comolgi, and then to Cinque Terre, I was blown away by the sweeping and breathtaking beauty of the sea but also equally blown away by the lives the Italian Riviera folk lead. A world where no to go cups exist, a world that shuts down for 2-3 hours in the middle of the day and a world where firework shows go on for over 8 hours at a time and 4 days straight. I discovered a passion that I don’t typically see in my everyday life and a passion I know exists in me. I discovered a loyalty within the selves of people, meaning they were loyal to themselves, not looking about what could be or what might be, but a quintessential concentration on what is. And often times that what is, has been around for centuries and generations. I had read a lot in the past few years on how Italy is losing many of its traditions to the lure of the big city, television, video games and the new and vast interconnectedness of the world. And I certainly saw this a bit along the coast and specifically in Genoa, but I also took notice to the simplicity in which most lived, and the celebration of what they had not what they wanted to get or achieve. A greater focus on attention to detail the monumental HERE AND NOW acclamation just simple exists here and through that I think people are able to have a richer food culture and culture in general.
The countless people I met time and time again were passionate and filled with knowledge about their food and culture. Their vibrancy of detail of the historical journey both their peoples and food have been on, was inconceivable to me and beyond anything I had ever heard recited and I have always been in awe of cultures who are so engulfed and knowledgeable of the details of their history. The Italians were amazing as their history and their food was one. I began to understand the allure of Italy when it comes to food and food culture and I began to understand how despite my not being Italian I was very much authentic in spirit just like the Italians and I began for the first time to understand that I am a bit of an outsider not coming from a culture with this rich of authenticity of spirit when it comes to food and food culture, but I can continue to seek out the authentic spirit wherever I go and it will continue to seek me out, as it did and happened in Italy and with this cooperation of spirits we can connect ourselves to many cultures as the world is pushing us all to do and perhaps we can convince each other to keep moving in the direction of authenticity in all we do regardless of what we do and regardless of who and where we are. I myself know that I want my authentic spirit to shine brightly in the work I do, the person I am and for certain the food I create and I want all the authentic spirit I encounter on my journey to be present in it all as well. So certainly these days my authentic spirit shines brightly with the influences of my Italian Riviera journey and those who I encountered along the way and my cooking will never be the same again.
Thank you Italy for the journey & the discovery!
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