Enzo Ferrari built a brand. When you think of Ferrari, you think of Italian excellence in engineering and performance.
I like to think that being Italian is a brand of its own.
Italian people are special and unique. I can say this because I am 100% Italian and I would not trade that designation for love nor money. However, with that label comes a host of traits and attributes:
- A deep suspicion of people, especially non-Italians.
- Family is serious business and sons are favored. (it is what it is)
- Skeptical of “Italian cooking” that did not come from me, my family, or any other true Italian that I know.
- Kinky hair. Nothing more to say.
- Great skin, thank you gene pool.
- No need for suntan lotion. We naturally bronze.
- Passionate, often loud but fiercely loyal and loving.
- I can sing the chorus of Volare or “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (its official title) originally sung by Domenico Modugno in 1958. (Thank you Grandpa Vincenzo.)
- “You’re not hungry? Sure, you are.”
- Coffee? American coffee is just brown water. That’s not coffee.
Superstition runs deep.
My secretary Phyllis (Sicilian, not Italian) was convinced someone gave me the Malocchio, or evil eye. She went to Staten Island and had a priest bless a small red ribbon which she proceeded to reach into my shirt and pin on to my bra. I had to wear it for 30 days. Explain that to the airport security people when the pin sets off the wand alarm!
I am proud of my heritage, my ancestors and their passion, fearlessness, and drive to raise their families in tradition…specifically Italian traditions!
Now all this being said, my arguably 100% looking Italian husband, Anthony, is indeed only half Italian. Painful, I know. I never told my grandfather this sad fact and, my father-in-law spoke impeccable Italian to my grandfather, so the illusion was complete.
But, the brand is now diluted. My children are not 100% Italian. Further, if they do not marry someone 100% Italian, the dilution gains momentum and I feel that pure Italian blood slipping away.
Does it really matter you ask? Not really but, wait, yes! it does.
When I met my husband’s Grandma Rose, she asked me where my people were from.
“Schenectady,” I said.
“That’s not what I mean,” she replied.
Somehow I knew that. Thank goodness I had four grandparents from four regions of Italy…I was covered.
My Irish/English mother-in-law was annoyed and offended by this very large Italian clan. Italian people can be in your business, asking questions, pretty much torturing you under the guise of “I love you and I am looking out for you.” Really?
Yes, really. Italians are fiercely protective and loving. Don’t fight it-Just go with it. What will happen when the brand is further diluted?
Who will teach these ways to the next generation?
- How to make sauce.
- Knowing when and how to give the Malocchio and mean it.
- The Christmas Eve Seven Fishes
- The difference between Parmesan and Locatelli and when to use each.
- Espresso, macchiato, cappuccino…. There is the right time to drink each of these, do you know when?
No problem, I will impart my knowledge of the traditions of the Italian people on the next generation. (wink-wink, with or without permission)
My daughter has been dating “Skates” for some time now and I believe it is serious. I like him and he loves Amelia, who could ask for more than that? Well, sadly, Skates has some Italian blood. Nothing that a DNA test cannot confirm, and I am not above asking. Yet, there goes the gene pool slipping away.
I think I need to sharpen my brand management skills….