I love that Pavarotti quote. It is true, no matter what is happening in our lives, good or bad, and no matter how busy we are, we must stop to eat. But not just eat, we have to really take the time to enjoy our food. Sitting down to enjoy food is one of life’s little pleasures, a pleasure many fortunate people take for granted.
When we first moved to Europe it took time adjusting to the way people ate here. Here, in Europe, when people go out to eat or sit down at a cafe for a coffee, there is no rush. Meals, snacks, or afternoon treats are an event and the wait staff expects that you’ll be there a while. The table is yours until you are ready to move on or until the restaurant closes.
In Europe you don’t have wait staff coming to your table every few minutes asking if you’d like something else. At first it was a bit strange to us and it even made us feel that the service was perhaps not the best. Slowly we came to realize that this was much better than conversations or relaxation constantly being interrupted. It became clear to us that sitting down at a cafe or restaurant was about relaxing and enjoying the food and drink with limited interruptions.
Now when we reflect back on restaurants in the US, we can see how things are a bit more rushed there. In the US you are expected to eat your meal quickly and clear the table for the next guests. Perhaps the wait staff is instructed to visit tables often to either push more food or nudge the eating along. I’m just speculating of course, but I do know that constant “nudging” was annoying to me and made me want to leave sooner. It is something I do not miss at all.
I’m not saying that every restaurant in the US is the same, or that people there don’t appreciate food like they do in Europe. I’m just being honest about what I’ve experienced from living in both places. Of course it also comes down to people’s personal dinning experiences and preferences.
My husband and I have, of course, been greatly influenced by our time in Europe. Our meals, coffee breaks, or midday treats, whether at home or at dinning establishments, have become more relaxed. We are lucky to have the freedom of making our own schedules and allowing as much time as we want for eating, so we take advantage of it. Each meal we try to really take the time to enjoy it, the ingredients used and the effort it took to prepare, I’m sure many of you share the same sentiment. This meal of tri-colored spaghetti with Italian pork sausage was no different.
Some of you might recognize these ingredients from last Sunday’s Snapshots. We picked them up at a small Italian shop in our neighborhood. My husband was actually the one who picked out the ingredients. It was a very simple dinner but one we very much enjoyed. The unique spaghetti was so flavorful, usually other colored pasta isn’t but this one was. Instead of masking the tomato and spinach flavors with a tomato sauce I let them shine on their own with a simple coating of olive oil and garlic. The pork sausage was also very flavorful, very peppery, and it was the perfect pairing to the pasta. It’s not much of a recipe, but I’ll list the ingredients I used.
- 1 pack of tri-colored spaghetti (the flavors are plain semolina, tomato and spinach)
- 1 pack of Italian pork sausage, ours had 5 small sausages
- olive oil
- 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- grated parmesan
- tomatoes, cut into wedges
- serve with bread and olives
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions, drain and lightly coat with olive oil. In a small pan heat some oil and saute the garlic until soft and cooked through. Toss the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese with the cooked pasta. Set aside. Grill the sausages until cooked all the way through.
- Serve the sausages with the pasta, and decorate pasta with tomato wedges if desired. Serve with rustic or country bread and olives of choice. I also served a small salad on the side.
See how simple that was, and no real recipe required. Somehow the pasta and sausage went together very well. I don’t think it’s a very traditional Italian recipe, but I just went with it. It was a simple dinner but one we very much enjoyed, for two days actually. I have to give credit to my husband for picking out such fantastic ingredients, he did a great job. We will be visiting the small shop for more supplies soon. Maybe next time I’ll try this recipe but with a tomato sauce, we’ll see. For now I’ll keep reminding myself not to forget the importance of not only fueling the body but the soul, no matter how busy I may be.
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” -Sofia Loren