Love affair with breakfast (Indie 30 – Day 21)

Love affair with breakfast (Indie 30 – Day 21)

BootsnAll prompt: When we travel, our senses are heightened. We feel more alive and we’re more free to do things we might not at home. We can be who we want. There’s an air of urgency to everything we do – we know our time here, in this place, and with these people, is limited. If we want to do something, we have to do it now. It’s no wonder then that many travelers have relationships on the road. Tell us about a “special someone” you met while traveling.

Anyone who has spent time with me knows that I have an ongoing, serious relationship with food. It’s more than just a need for nourishment, it’s a full-blown, deep love. I have flings with different ingredients, cook old standby recipes when I need comfort, and cheat on favorite ingredients (local apples) for guilty pleasures (Velveeta cheese) and new found loves (like Zeke’s Coffee that I discovered on my birthday).

When I lived in Italy, I had many food flings: apple sorbetto from Grom, blood orange juice, fresh ravioli stuffed with cinghiale, arrista alle prugne, kebabs from Mesopotamia Kebab, schiacciata from Pugi, arancini from the bakery around the corner…

But my true love affair was with breakfast.

Every morning I made a plate of cheese, nuts, and dried fruit. Usually, I went for a salty pecorino, some almonds, and soft, sweet dried strawberries. Sometimes I’d add another fruit like banana chips or apple rings, but I never found anything I liked as much as the strawberries, despite having a wide array of choices. If I had it on hand, sometimes I’d have a slice of salami or a hunk of pane toscano with olive oil, too.

 

I’d sit at the kitchen table lingering over my finger foods as the sun streamed in through our window. I’d chat with my roommates as they got up and plan my day. Sometimes there was class and homework, but more often there were long walks and sightseeing.

 

I would cap my breakfast with espresso at the little coffee bar around the corner. I’d try to get up early enough that the bar would be filled with local businessmen in black suits and shiny shoes instead of the tourists popping in before the museums opened. I liked to be the only American in the place. I’d order a macchiato and sip it while listening to the cadence of conversation around me. Italian is a language of rhythm, excitement, and passion…it filled me with energy before heading out into the city.

 

I loved shopping for my breakfast as much as I loved eating it. The cheese always came from Carlo’s. He had a small stall in a back corner of the Mercato Centrale and I would practice speaking Italian with him. He called me “bella” and told me stories about his family.

The fruit and nuts came from a stall upstairs in the market run by a quiet man with chin-length gray hair. We spoke only as customer and seller, but he knew me within a few weeks – knew I always wanted strawberries and something else. There was always a line at his stand, but I never minded standing in it. I would go over the Italian names of dried fruits and nuts in my mind like poetry: fragole, mandorle, mele, nocciola.

 

That was one affair I was sad to see end…I like my eggs and cereal now, but it’s just not the same.

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