My first taste of Italy was the best. I’d just moved into a small room in an apartment in Florence when my padrona — or landlady — requested I join her for dinner. The meal was simple — salad, fruit, pasta with some vegetables — but I remember biting into it and thinking it was the best thing I’d ever tasted. So this is what Italian food really tastes like, I thought. I had no idea.
I was lucky to have a padrona that treated me like family. She invited me for dinner nearly every night, and for over two months, every meal she made was unique — every pasta dish was made just a little differently, every meat cooked a unique way, and every bite was just as good as the last. Once she served nothing but cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, a combination that made me wary. I was pleasantly surprised.
“It’s all about the ingredients,” my padrona told me in her thick Italian. “Quality food is good food.”
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