Tuesday, December 13

Italy: the Grapes of Wrath

The fruit of the spirit by Magnolia Heartbeats
One of my good friends and loyal blog fan, Carolinrome held a warm holiday evening so I could present my book to a group of women readers & expats...We all enjoyed a few good laughs doing what women do best: Tell incredible stories.
Using the book chapters as a launch pad, it wasn't long before everyone was telling one of their own...These ran the gamut from post office woes (where one woman actually called the toll free number pondering exactly, why, people didn't 'go postal' in Italy given the services were so much worse) to toilet flushers (from my brief run-down in the book called Royal Flush).
We also discussed some of the other unique features to Italian living, such as never ever touching one's food with one's hands.  In my book (Peel me a grape, Beulah - click here for entry), I imagined this was for pesticides but then again, I decided it was just germs combined with the impeccable table-training at the apron skirts of mammas everywhere, in order to exhibit one's exceptional Bella Figura. 
Turns out, I may be wrong.  A woman stated that her own (Italian) husband, will not let her peel his mandarin oranges or clementines for him...She discovered that it upset his bodily harmony...Again, I immediately assumed this was due to the perceived onslaught of germs perhaps from her handling her fork prior that might be lurking around just waiting to get under that orange peel and onto a juicy slice.  I was wrong. 
In what might lead to a certain revision in the book, she was told in no uncertain terms that the way she peeled the tiny oranges released acidic juices so as to upset his stomach.
As I stated in the book, In Italy, stomach upsets out-trump all other existential conditions.  Therefore she was left with no other choice than to simply serve the oranges as nature intended them and let him sort out his own gastric juices accordingly.  
As a postscript, I found these warning labels for grape eating on the website The Perfect Shape.com: 

Although it seems that grapes can have a huge positive effect on the human body, there are some RESTRICTIONS/ WARNINGS regarding their consumption. Here are some of them:
1. Neither grapes, nor grapes juice are recommended for persons suffering from stomach ulcers, diabetes and obesity;
2. Eating grapes or drinking grapes juice can cause dental problems. If you have a cavity in a tooth, it is not recommended to consume grapes, as they will intensify the destruction process of the tooth;
3. Grapes cannot be consumed along with a relatively large number of food products, like: milkfish, beer, mineral water, melons, etc. The combination of these kinds of food products with grapes can cause serious stomach problems.
Perhaps we should all wisen up and take our cue from the Granmammas whose health precautions are probably the soundest advice one could ever have gotten prior to the internet (and even afterwards)!

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