Italian women all seem to share a passion for food, which is probably why life in Italy has always revolved around the kitchen. An Italian grandmother can throw together a meal at the drop of a hat, and often out of just a few ingredients, sometimes even leftovers. They use the freshest ingredients they can find, which is why Italian cooking is so seasonal. Even today there are women who go to the market each morning to see what is fresh before planning their evening meals for their families. I feel they express their love for their families with the food they prepare to fill their stomachs, which is probably why they always seem to be chasing family members around encouraging them to eat.
When planning an Italian meal, whether it be a casual, family dinner, or a formal party for twenty, one needs to understand the individual courses that may be involved. Many people have the impression that an Italian meal is a very complicated, multi-course affair that takes hours to prepare. Though formal meals like this are enjoyed in restaurants, or eaten in the home at holidays or when entertaining, this is not typical of everyday home cooking. Italian meals today are very flexible, consisting of one or two courses that are meant to compliment each other.