Food and eating are an important part of everyday life and any social gathering in southern Italy. At a wedding reception, the meal becomes the central event that all other activities revolve around.
The bride and groom were very concerned about accomodating all of their guests' particular food needs, so several different variations on the menu were provided. There was a children's menu for the kids, cooked mollusks for those who don't eat raw mollusks (a delicacy here), special dishes for the diabetics, and, since I am intolerant to gluten and lactose, a special meal for me. The headwaiter introduced himself immediately and told (ordered!) me not to eat anything that had not been served to me directly from his hands!
When I saw Mario, the man in today's photo, making mozzarella from scratch I had to go meet him and take his photo. He assured me that I could eat his cheese because he cooked it at 90° celcius which, apparently, destroys the lactose. When it was ready, he personally brought me the first dish of tiny knots of exquisitely delicious - and fresh - mozzarella. Unfortunately, my personal waiter saw me eating it and threw a fit...he went directly over to Mario and scolded him! It was like having a food bodyguard...ready to fight for my digestive system!
In the end, we got the misunderstanding worked out. But, my waiter remained ever-vigilant...all the way up to the cutting of the cake, when he brought me my own special slice of no-gluten, no-lactose cake!
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