One evening my husband Gustavo called me at 7 pm as I was getting ready to leave the office. “ARE YOU LEAVING?!!?” he demanded. “Yes, yes,” I replied, “I’m just running out the door. “ “OKAY, leave NOW, because sto buttando la pasta.” (I am throwing the pasta.)
‘Throwing the pasta’ is an important concept all over Italy. I believe the main reason so many people need telefonini (cell phones) is so that they can let each other know that they are throwing the pasta. Pasta can take anywhere from three minutes for tortellini to 11-12 minutes for spaghetti to cook. Once it is cooked, it must, must, must be eaten immediately. Therefore, all eaters must be seated at the table. If mommy, daddy, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, wife or husband call to tell you they are ‘throwing the pasta’, it means you have a few minutes to get to the table or you are committing the gravest of sins.
With this important concept in mind, I rushed out the door of the office and squashed myself onto a packed bus. Two stops away from home, my cell phone’s “Doo-dee DOO dee dee” started up in my bag. I ignored it as everyone began looking around, giggling, and trying to figure out who had a child’s toy in their bag. It went on and on and on and on. I knew it was Gustavo and I did not want to discuss the ‘State of the Pasta’, so I looked around nonchalantly.
Finally, just as all eyes were beginning to narrow in on me, it stopped. Whew. Ten seconds later, it started up again. A persistant “Doo-dee DOO dee dee.” Everyone looked at me. I reached into my purse and pulled out the culprit, bowed my head and whispered, “What?” “WHERE ARE YOU? THE PASTA IS READY,” Gustavo yelled. “Almost home,” I whispered and hung up. I raised my beet-red face and, with an embarrassed shrug, muttered to the passenger nearest me, “La pasta e’ pronta.” “AHHH, OHHH” came the general response. Several heads nodded with deep understanding and profound sympathy as they cleared a path for me to get off the bus at my stop.
**Note to blog readers: I have been busy the past few days covering Italian politics and what looks like might be the end of the political career of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. This man has kept me busy with news stories for the past 17 years in Italy and I am definitely not counting him out yet. I have not blogged on Berlusconi because I am assuming that my blog readers are not interested because they get enough from news sources. However, if you are interested, let me know by sending me your comments and I will do a few posts on Berlusconi.
Post in: Italiano
Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.