The first time I read Eat, Pray Love – the Elizabeth Gilbert book that has gone on to launch a feverish array of vacations and products – I got lost in the “Eat.” That section focused on Gilbert’s determination to learn Italian in Italy and to give up on the North American focus on the size of her waist and focus instead on really enjoying the food, culture and lifestyle of a passionate country. Later in the book she would also dive into meditation and chanting in India (Pray) and eventually the ability to share her life and love again (Love) in Bali but when it was over all I remembered was the eat.
I love food.
And though I’m a poor cook, I make chefs blush with my ability to dig in and enjoy a good meal.
And so, true confession, when the opportunity came to watch the movie a few weeks ago, I really could have gotten up and left after she finished in Italy and been happy. While others drooled over James Franco, her love interest, or the stunning scenery, I was focused on the way her knife sliced through the stuffed zucchini flower so that the cheese oozed just so out the middle. And the pasta! Plates and plates of it. If I’d been able to rewind and replay those scenes I’d still be in my seat at theatre.
When it was over my friends and I had no choice but to head directly to a restaurant with pasta offerings. It was a start but true happiness would’ve been if I had left the movie and walked straight to Italy.
Years ago I visited the spot in Naples Gilbert proclaims as the best spot for Pizza.
The lineup was ridiculous . The book had just hit it’s peak of popularity and people were willing to wait for hours for a chance to taste it.
Me? Not so much. I turned and headed into the joint across the street and met
a pizza so delicious it changed my tastebuds.
I’ve been to Italy twice now. (The first time was with the kids.) I’ve eaten my way through enough pasta, pizza, zucchini flowers and gelato to make an Italian mama proud.
And I have every intention of getting back there to do it again as often as I can.
As Gilbert points out in the book: It is so worth the muffin top.