My parents were in town last week, which is why I haven’t posted in a bit . . . oh, and I’ve been sick. But I’m about to start getting caught up. (I know you’re excited … you know, if anyone’s actually reading this.) So, here’s a taste of the type of conversation that happens when guests come to Italy:
We went out to dinner at my favorite pizza place in Rome (ReCafe) and, as was the theme for the week my parents were visiting, we ordered too much food. At the end of the meal Mom said “That’s ok, we can just take it to go.” . . . Cue the waiter:
waiter: You are American?
<waiter leaves the table, walks back and forth across the restaurant a few times, says something to the bus boy, points to our table, and finally returns to the table with a box>
waiter: Only the Americans want take away. Americans have a tiny piece this big and want take away. Tomorrow this will be cold pizza, and I don’t want cold pizza! Tomorrow I will go and get hot pizza.
<a little while later, Dad wants to order dessert>
waiter: You can have dessert, but no take away! No take away!
While it seemed, at first, like the waiter was annoyed and exasperated at us, I think he was just ultimately amused. And with his explanation I finally understood why they think it is so weird that we want to take food to go. Because food is so important – it’s so important to serve it just right, and to really appreciate it for its full flavor. Why would you settle for second best? Why reheat food at all when you know it won’t be as good as it was originally?