Monday, August 27, 2007


Is this a cat's life? Eating a succession of fine meals accompanied by a veritable bowl of wine and then time in the afternoon to rest and think of meals past and meals future? Is this what it means to purr contentedly? I am of course referring to my most recent trip to Italy, and if all of the above includes worrying about adding too much fat in the wrong places then I think it is.

I don't want to alarm our Italian friends (hello friends) into thinking that I am like a starving refugee washed up on their shores (though it often seems like this). I do sleep in a warm bed, and I had seen hot and cold running water before being in Italy. What I had not seen (since my last time in Italy - admittedly it was only June, but it seems like the dim past) was a succession of fine meals ranging from a low of 13 Euros (a deliciously thin pizza and a carafe of red wine) to the bank-breaking extravagance of 40 Euros for a no-holes-barred, 4-course meal at a fancy spot. At my neighborhood spot in London I would pay 20-25 pounds for one of those meals where you carefully tiptoe across the menu like a minefield in order to convince your friends that you aren't either very stingy, poor, or suffering from an eating disorder (I'll have a side of field greens please and an ice water).

Yes, there was more than food on this trip. There was art, typically the older masterish variety.

There were mediaeval towns. There was driving and road trip music (more on the latter some other time). There was a wedding.

But as my stomach grumbles at getting back to dry toast and Danon Activia, my mind seems to wander back to a plate of truffle scented pasta and a half litre of Montefalco Rosso.

(Note the wall that is used to keep out starving foreign tourists.)

Prrrrrrr ... grrrrrr...



Lola Is Beauty said...

More about food! I can't wait, I am in fact salivating at the thought of Italy...

Bombay Beauty said...

Only half an hour to go before I eat my "delicious" protein bar for lunch. If I think about food I'll faint. But more soon! Perhaps the goal (too ambitious?) is to try to recreate that delicious truffle-scented pasta. I took the precaution of shipping 18 bottles of wine home. All that will then be missing is a 0.5L carafe! BB

howler said...

the eating in italy is fabulous. and if you haven't been, try and hit bologna some time - its littered with
superb restaurants.

i had to work a bit to eat well in florence and vienna. but even random picks in bologna were outstanding. and its such a pretty town too.

do you have the slow food guide?

Bombay Beauty said...

Never even heard of the Slow Food Guide! Thanks for the tip.

I've had some great experiences in Bologna. In Florence, there is good food to be had, but one has to really go into the side streets off the beaten track (I have the benefit of a local friend there--- many of the places he frequents are on the south side of the Arno).

Vienna - problematic for a vegetarian such myself, but fortunately I can survive on pastry for a few days, and Italian food has conquered (at least in an adulterated form) bland Northern Europe. I used to eat every other day at a pizzeria called Al Cavallino. The staff was obnoxious but the pizzas baked in a wood oven and perfect.



Bombay Beauty said...

Just read this credo from the slow food guide:

a firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life.

Brilliant. Thanks again. BB

howler said...

oh - i grew up vegetarian (i'm maharastrian), but then got used to eating all kinds of things in parsi, punjabi, bengali etc households.

but i still love vegetarian cooking the most, which is why i think lebanese restaurants rock in london.
i dig all that stuff: hummus, motabel, falafel, muhammara, foul muqqala, grilled haloumi cheese, fattoush, tabbouleh, labneh ...

Anonymous said...

Oh God, you had me howling with laughter... we are looking forward to your visit in Venice!

Bombay Beauty said...

Mia-- Me too! BB

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