I still remember the exact moment it happened. I couldn't believe it. One minute everything is normal and the next he’s walking towards me and I begin experiencing what I can only explain as a kind of emotional tsunami. Before I know what’s happening, he’s walking up to my front door with a bag of cold cuts and a box of Italian cookies.

I had no intentions of telling you this story, some things are private.

I blame the women in my Italian Cooking Class I taught many years ago. Okay, I may have started it. And I may have still held some hope. But the moment I made a tiny reference to my Italian ex-boyfriend, everything changed. One minute we’re knee deep in handmade orecchiette and the next everyone’s leaning in for the story. This is how we are.

“Every girl needs an Italian romance,” they laughed. Although at the time I may not have, today I strongly agree.

I still remember the exact moment it happened. I couldn't believe it. One minute everything is normal and the next he’s making his way over to me and I begin experiencing some kind of emotional tsunami. Before I know what’s happening, he’s walking up to my front door with a bag of groceries and a box of Italian cookies.

His perfect balance of self-deprecation and charm got me into serious trouble. I didn't exactly fall in love with the guy, I dove into his arms exactly the way a cartoon circus animal dives off a high platform and into a small cup of water, vanishing completely.

For the next two years we had a ball. I learned the Italian way. The magic of wrapping a fig with prosciutto, how the only thing a seared ribeye needs is salt and pepper. I learned about pasta and how its reserved water is the magic to the final dish, how utterly delightful a large board of Italian meats and cheeses really is when surrounded by family and friends. 

I'm sure you know how the story ends, and I know what you're thinking. How could I be so naive? How could this one person affect me in such a way? Believe me, I’ve asked myself these same questions. Seriously, I have no regrets–an experience that reshaped my life forever.  

I learned the meaning of La Dolce Vita, the sweet life. I learned the undeniable devotion between parent and child, how the family is the most important thing. 

I learned how what I had been searching for, I already had. How in good times and in bad, nothing takes the place of family and friends around the dinner table with carefully chosen ingredients and a few simple techniques, experiencing beautiful delicious food.

xo Mari

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