Travelling allows you to discover the way people do things in their country. As a guest in their country, it is our responsibility to respect their ways, and embrace the unfamiliarity. It is why we travel and hence the expression “When in Rome…”
Take eggs for example. Here in Tuscany, we find them on store shelves – not refrigerated. I guess they are that fresh, for we have been eating them everyday and have yet to be ill.
The meat is incredibly tasty, lean and dense. It strikes me that our food supply in North America has been tampered with so much, that we don’t réalise how much water is in our meat, and how tasteless it is. Here, the butcher is your friend. He prepares it how you want it, for the meal you are making.
The produce donna is also your friend, and will direct you to the tomatoes that are fresh from the day. By the way, you don’t handle produce here. You don’t touch every green pepper until you find the one you want – unless you are wearing disposable plastic gloves conveniently placed next to your produce, for your handling. When you are done, you dispose of the glove in the recycle bin next to you.
Coffee is best as an espresso, one small cup in the morning – perhaps with a biscotti… and I have it with a hard boiled egg.
Stores close from 1 to 4pm. It’s just how it is. There are stores just devoted to household and personal soaps. Laundry soap, hand soap, shampoo, even mosquito repellent that smells like lemon soap.
Houses, with land are gated. I haven’t figured out yet if it is out of necessity, or born from tradition or culture. The gates are stately, made of iron and masonry.
No one eats while doing something else. You are hungry? You stop, take a seat, exhale, have a meal or a refreshment and then you get back on your way. You don’t have drive-thrus, or see people drinking Starbucks in their car. There is no Starbuck in Italy.
And finally, the olives. The OLIVES!! I will never be able to eat olives that are not directly imported from Italy. We will likely be seeking out shops in Ottawa Little Italy from now on, to obtain our cured meats, cheese and olives.
Travel does change you a little bit at a time. I like it!