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LoraM

Lora's Rants and Reviews

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Only in Naples

Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law - Katherine Wilson

by Katherine Wilson

 

Non-fiction.

 

This story is non-fiction and is the personal experiences of the author when she visited Naples and ended up marrying an Italian man. She comes from a well-off family and found herself at that crossroad where one decides what to do with their life, and against all convention for her 'set' chose Naples as her destination for a holiday before going to college.

 

She takes us through her discovery of Italian culture and a very different attitude towards food than she grew up with in a part of American society where eating disorders are far too common. I found her comments on the Italian women's awareness of their physicality very interesting from a cross cultural point of view, as well as her observations of how regular eating schedules left her feeling satisfied after meals and no longer binge eating.

 

Other aspects of the differences between American and Italian culture were also interesting to read, as she had a familiar intolerance with some of the different customs. There seemed to always be something to upset or confuse her, or she would blunder in ways that upset the natives and taught her an ever expanding set of customs in a culture very different from what she had known.

 

I found the writing very engaging and although I don't come from the same sort of background the author did, I could identify with her bewilderment in some situations and the juggle of trying to fit into a different culture while still learning the rules. I was also pleasantly surprised at the end because she gave detailed recipes for some of the more popular food she told of in the story. I now know how to make authentic Neapolitan Ragu! I'll leave the octopus for others though.

 

Altogether a very satisfying read that left me feeling like I had experienced Naples from the inside, among the natives.