Eating antipasti is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. I love to combine cheeses, roasted vegetables, breads, olives, sun dried tomatoes, avocados, melons, and other Italian meats on a marble slab or large platter and sit reading the paper and catching up with my man. Traditionally, antipasti is a combination of varied Italian delights that are served before the meal (of pasta). It is said that nibbling on a little antipasti before dinner will stimulate the appetite and taste buds without ruining your dinner. However, I like to eat it as a snack in the afternoons during the summer to replace lunch and dinner when I feel it is too hot to cook inside my tiny Lower East Side apartment.

Cured meats, cheeses, and breads are not exactly known for their nutritional value, however; any activity that is done in moderation that helps one reduce the stress of their life is a fine addition to a healthy lifestyle. When your life is full of stress and you have no way to blow it off your body goes into overdrive burning out your Adrenaline gland. The Adrenaline glands are located on top of both kidneys. We need this gland to help in several body functions, most notably in the “fight or flight” reflex and sexual functions, such as a hard erection or lubricated vagina. If your adrenal gland is not working sufficiently you will experience not only a drop in your sex drive, but irritability, depression, poor response to stress, and fatigue. Now, I know what you are saying…”Everybody feels this way, it’s just life.” But, if you are feeling these signs look at your lifestyle. Are you drinking too much alcohol? Smoking too much? Or, running around town like a nymphomaniac? (Yes, there is such a thing as too much sex.) Then, possibly you need to rebuild your adrenaline gland by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and learning what you need to do in your life to release stress. For me, as I have already mentioned, it is to relax, eat Antipasti, and share a bottle of wine with my man.

Antipasti has endless combinations. Generally, it is separated into hot antipasti, which usually consists of fried calamari, grilled shrimp, breaded and fried eggplant, baked clams, sauteed mushrooms, and fried mozzarella. Cold antipasti customarily is made up of cheeses, prosciutto, sausages, olives, bottled peppers, roasted vegetables, cold shrimp, seafood salad, and fruits. Traditionally, it is eaten along with an Italian digestive, such as Campari with soda water. My favorite variety of antipasti is the cold variety, in which I use raw farm cheese from my CSA, fresh mozzarella, provolone cheese, prosciutto, melon, roasted red pepper, zucchini, a half of an avocado, and ciabatta bread. However, you can arrange your platter of antipasti any way your heart desires. Just remember Antipasti is meant to be eaten in small doses so that the fat and salt does not get the best of your heart and your hips.



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