Cooking and fashion go hand in hand, complimenting each other through culture, richness and passion.
Easter always signifies the beginning of spring to me, and with spring comes a rejuvenated spring wardrobe and attitude. New York winters are long and cold, and this winter seemed to be dragging on particularly longer than average; (Although I seem to say that every year). Regardless, Easter was a warm welcome to my closet.
A few weeks ago I found myself uptown, wandering into New York City boutiques on my way home from the gym, fascinated by the brightly colored dresses draped on the mannequins in the windows. After a bit of poking around, I finally settled on a bright orange tunic boasting a paisley pattern, worn as a short dress and cinched at the waist with a golden leather belt. It was fantastic, especially because bright orange is the new “black” for uniformed New Yorkers this spring.
Later that week I was chattering with my Israeli friend Jillian on the phone about the upcoming Italian Easter fashions while baking a traditional Italian Easter dish, “Pizzagainia”, pronounced “Pizza -Gain”, in Neapolitan dialect. Jill is always interested in learning about what Italians eat during the Easter holiday, especially because she knows that the long table at my father’s house is always full of delicious foods and liquors, with Sinatra on the stereo, every chair around the table occupied, with others standing around the island in the kitchen, picking on the antipasto talking in loud, inflective voices.
In the meantime, I was telling her my mother’s famous pizzagainia recipe, passed down through generations of women in my family.
“Ham, salami, basket cheese…”
“OMG-You’re a fashionista by day and a Betty Crocker by night”, she told me. “Not normal!”
We both started to laugh, but her statement made me think about the cross relation that Italians have with fashion and food…the finer things in life. I grew up with the ideas of: not only dress well, but eat and drink well too. It’s a theme to live by and creates a “feel good” attitude.
Cooking and fashion do go hand in hand, and they complement each other through culture, richness (in the savory sense), and passion. They are both a huge part of my life, as they are to many Italians. Even some of the most famous television shows in the USA and Italy involve fashion or food challenges!
People pride themselves on the clothing they wear and the meals they cook, as a representation of how they want to be seen. It’s a fun concept to think about, especially because it’s safe to say that Italy is most famous for both its fashions and culinary ability, as is Manhattan.
So what was an Italian Fashionista to do when the weather was getting warmer and the holiday was getting closer?
I slipped on my orange tunic and put the pie in the oven.
Valeria Carrano is Fashion Director for Italia Living.
To learn more about her, visit our About Us page.