Ciao from Cortina: New Year’s resolutions

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Now that 2015 is upon us, I’ve been thinking about what New Year’s resolutions to make (and break) this year.

There are the typical resolutions: lose weight, read the classics, take up jogging. One year I decided to improve my baking skills by whipping up a new cake or bread each month — then that didn’t happen because that was the year we moved to Italy and didn’t have an oven.

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Sophie Dingle

Another year I was going to tackle homemade gnocchi. Last year, I was going to only eat fresh pasta. (I don’t know why all my resolutions have to do with food, but Italy must be rubbing off on me).

In thinking about my resolutions for 2015, I realized that I’ve never heard an Italian talk about New Year’s resolutions. So I did a little research and I found a list of typical Italian resolutions, which included “cut back on espresso," “don’t eat as many carbs," “vote for a more stable government” and “stop letting your mother cook every meal for you.”

Obviously, the Italians are in to breaking their resolutions, too.

Italians can’t go for two hours without having a coffee and one always is handed to you the minute you set foot in someone’s home. A typical Italian breakfast consists of a roll (and the first of 15 coffees that day) and lunch is pasta so I don’t think anyone is cutting back on carbohydrate consumption. Italy has had a series of “interesting” political leaders. And it’s not uncommon for 28-year-old men to live at home, letting their mothers cook for them and do their laundry.

Obviously, these resolutions aren’t working out so well. So this year, instead of thinking about what I should stop doing, I decided to think about what I could do more of. Ski more, cook more fresh pasta, stop for more espressos while grocery shopping, speak more Italian (and hopefully better Italian, too), try new cheese and different wine and take drives to different towns. Learn how to make a good antipasti plate. Wear Italian shoes. Watch an Italian movie.

This year, my New Year’s resolutions are to embrace the Italian lifestyle and culture while we live here, and if that involves drinking more red wine, so be it.

And I’m happy with these resolutions because I think I’ve set myself up for a very exciting and fulfilling year. And hopefully a prosperous one, too. It’s an Italian tradition that at midnight on New Year’s Eve, you eat a plate of lentils, which represent prosperity for the new year, with their round shape symbolizing coins.

Tonight we’ll be having dinner at a hotel in town, which is what we’ve done for the past three years. We eat a five-course meal and then we gather in the hotel bar waiting for the clock to strike midnight.

And when it does, plates of warm lentils and Cotechino sausage are passed around and we eat more and hope for prosperity (and some people hope that they’ll cut back on espresso while others hope that they’ll drink more espresso) and we’ll welcome 2015 with very full bellies.

Sophie Dingle is a freelance writer living in Cortina, Italy, where her husband and Steamboat native, Ryan, plays professional ice hockey. While in Italy, she loves to eat, cook, explore and drink red wine. You can follow her adventures online at www.sophiedingle.blogspot.com.

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