I was fortunate enough to be raised by two very powerful and inspirational Italian women, my mother Anna Maria and my late grandmother Elisabetta. Together they spoiled my palate as I was fed the most impeccable foods full of flavour. I was taught that food should not solely be perceived as substance. Rather, it is an art.
Risotto, veal marsala, gnocchi, insalata caprese, tiramisu-these are not just part of sunday night’s dinner, they are creations. Simply put, you could say I have a privileged palate. My mom is a chef, no seriously, this is her real profession. Cooking is her passion.
My grandmother was not a chef and wasn’t the greatest cook in the world, but she somehow could make bread and oil taste like a five-star meal. She was always willing to try something new and often strayed from traditional Italian cuisine instead she perfected the art of what she called “American Cooking” (she phrased in Italian since she didn’t know how to speak English). Hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. Of course this was done to please her audience, my brother and myself. Yet the American style cooking did have its limits, no mayonnaise, no McDonald’s, no Burger King, no Wendy’s, no KFC, no Taco Bell, no Kraft Dinner (I had Kraft Dinner for the first time in grade nine and I felt guilty for eating it).
Although cooking was and remains to be a major factor within my family, the cooking trait was not passed down to me. The stove and I never seem to see eye to eye. I can not follow any recipe and get easily frazzled.
However, one trait which I do possess is a love for fashion. As two of the most influential women I have ever met, my mother and late grandmother always taught me the importance of elegance and sophistication and the power of a good wardrobe.
My late grandmother always carried herself with grace and not a day passed by where her hair wasn’t styled. She drapped herself in the most beautiful dresses and skirts. I have never seen her wear pants. Now that I think of it, she didn’t even own a pair.
I wish I knew my mother during her teenage years. She wore the most amazing dresses and had the prettiest long cruly hair. I could only imagine how many hearts she broke. Her closet must have been filled with summer dress ranging from a number of various patterns. From floral to print, styles which still grace the pages of our most beloved magazines and our still sold in retail stores.
Looking back at pictures of my mother and late grandmother, I can’t help but notice that they never wore sneakers or flats. My mom still doesn’t, unless she’s at work of course.
I’m just like them, I wear heels always regardless of the occasion.
Style for me is a form of expression. And as much as cooking was and still remains to be an art form in my family, one’s fashion sense and style is very much the same.
Much like creating a delicious dish, style breathes creativity.
Needless to say, my style icons may not be rich and famous, but they do provide me with all the inspiration I need.
X O X O