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Do you speak pasta?

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Does speaking Italian make your pasta turn out better?

In preparation for my move to Rome I’ve gathered Italian language cds and find the best time to listen to them is in the kitchen. I was throwing around some pasta tonight, repeating words like “Ciao” “buono notte” “gratzie”. I find some of the words are similar to the French vocabulary that I can still remember. Some French men explained to me in Dublin how similar the French from the south and Italians are to each other, that some of their words overlap. The French men from the south said they have more in common with some Italians than they do with French from the north of France . I was surprised. French is French right? Italian is Italian right? Not to these French men.


I find that learning language is best combined with cooking regional food. Though my dogs look at me strangely as I repeat the same word over and over while I am bent over the stove pouring olive oil. To me the smells and textures and flavors of the food I am touching, chopping, tasting, cooking mix with the words that I am stumbling over. And honestly, when I’m in this little red kitchen, looking out over the Mediterranean , fixing the pasta, that’s when I am excited to learn these new words of Italian. Italian thrills me. I always think of the scene in the film A Fish Called Wanda, where Kevin Kline, pretending to be Italian throws out words like “mozzarella” “fettuccini” “primavera”. Even though they were just names he had pulled off the food aisle at the grocery, the way he said them with such enthusiasm, that’s what excited me about the Italian language and made me a bit hungry as well. My own scene tonight, fixing dinner and singing random Italian words, resembled Kevin Kline’s but I’d like to think it was with a little more authenticit

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