“Prova Bikini” (The Bikini Test)

Only a few weeks ago we got the better of freezing cold,  loads of snow and  slippery ice in a country which seems never ready for the winter season.  Some  even gained victory over tire chains, experiencing the thrill (and the neighbor’s deep respect) of having them properly fixed around the wheels. We should all be feeling proud and real winners.  A Northerner probably does, because normally nothing else terribly difficult will happen for the rest of the year. Not so Italians. Their next trial just about to turn up is called “bikini test” or prova bikini, a merciless day of reckoning, thorny for at least fifty percent of the population – female and male. It means that the poor things have to lay bare what has been successfully hidden for the last months through trendy clothes and ability: cushions of fat… and cellulites. The endless summer season with weekends at the seaside in fabulous bathing costumes is waiting right around the corner. Now, honestly, how could Italians, owning one of the world’s most famous kitchens with loads of mouth-watering dishes, win the trial?  They obviously  can’t. But Italy is a positive nation smiling at life and it’s inhabitants  believe that miracles  happen. Consequently, every year from about April, for a short while, people lay their body into skilled journalist’s and magazine editor’s hands, teaching how to loose 2, 4 or 6 kilos in  1,2, 3 or 4 weeks without any sacrifice.  It is the season of good will and desires and everybody gets their chance to shape up for summer with the “summer crash diet”, the “expert’s diet” or the “summer strategies at the table”. Other slimming solutions suggest the boiled egg, the cabbage soup or the raw meat diet. You can even chose a special tanning food plan. However, Italians are extremely fond of pills and powders and in the end this kind of product has the lion’s share in the slimming business. Then, from one day to the other, maybe tired of untrue promises or boring food, they remember one of their most important heritages: the Mediterranean diet. From one day to the other they throw the journalist’s advice to the wind and consume what they like and what they have been eating for centuries:  plenty of fish, vegetables, fruit, some nice pasta or rice dish; a little meat, a little cheese, a little wine, a little dessert; olive oil and lemon juice or wine vinegar for dressings. It is surprising  how, all at once,  the earlier  “unaesthetics” turn into feminine curves, men’s bellies look sexy and tanned orange peel  skin does not look so bad after all. In the end, Italian summers always turn out easy and fun; hardly anybody will loose weight, but they won’t gain it either. It looks like another example of deep love for life enjoyed in the best possible way! One could start to envy them…

Recipes “Bikini Tested”:

Farro and Shrimp Summer Salad

Grouper Ceviche with Mango Citrus and Cilantro

Summer Grilled meats, Vegetables and Sangria

Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto

Pasta Primavera