And so, I continued to eat.
EVERYTHING was now focused around food. Something as simple as walking down the street led me to discover the curred ham hanging above the local deli counters, & sniffing out the freshly baked bread from the shop on the corner of our street. Even Maria leaning out of her Cafe door, long cigarette in hand, encouraged the swirls of Caffeine & cigarette smoke to drift towards me, & food shopping was a whole journey in itself, with aisles upon aisles dedicated to Pasta. I’d only ever cooked with Penne, Fusilli & Spaghetti! I had a lot of research to do.
And then there’s Pizza.
The BEST Pizza in Latina is served at ‘Pizzeria Da Gennaro’ & of course I am taken there by the Mother & Children, who have been talking about the restaurant since I arrived (Absence of their Father was the norm). With chequuered table cloths & rustic white chairs crammed into every inch of the 4 walls it’s no surprise we have to hustle for a seat. Probably still warm from the last person sitting in it.
The waiter dances between diners to find a small, empty table at the back for us. He pulls out the chairs & whips a bottle of still & sparking water from behind his back, as if by magic, along with 3 tumblers. Before he can speak the Mother flicks her hand in the air muttering rushed Italian.
The waiter looks at me, then back to her followed by a nod.
5 minutes later a platter of Pizzella is slotted in the middle of the table for us to share. Fried Pizza dough balls with Tomato sauce & Parmesan to be followed by a main course of Pizza. So basically carbs followed by more carbs. Start as you mean to go on!
I turn to thank him but he is now delivering something else to another table, leaving me mezmorized by a larger than life wood burner in the corner of the room, in front of it the Chef is juggling a ball of dough in each hand. The same dough, topped with Zucchini & Anchovy, that the waiter announces is ‘For the Inglese’ when he serves it to us minutes later. WOW! I eat it in less time than it took to prepare.
The whole experience is over in less than 30 minutes. Apart from being full, it’s like it never happened & I can’t help but wish I could eat it all over again.
England feels an absolute lifetime away & the closest thing to it over the next few days is a visit to a small Kebab shop at the top of the street. Stuffed with their homemade Chilli sauce & Chips, they label mine ‘Engilish’… but I don’t feel it.