■ 20 August 2012 by James Martin
I got the itch to go to Italy today. I mean, you might say I always have the itch, but every once in a while an event triggers a yearning so strong that it hangs in my mind, obliterating other desires. I need to go to Italy, and I need it bad.
You see, yesterday Martha bought one of those bagged, industrial chickens. Today, less then 24 hours later, I carefully sliced open the well-sealed bag. The smell of rot slithered out on big rhinoceros toes. This is not an uncommon occurrence. This is the type of chicken. I just thought you’d want to know.
So we threw the stinking thing out and the pangs began. Oh Italia! Wherefore art though?
You see, in Italy you don’t really buy chickens in sealed bags, even industrial chickens. If they are rotting and stink, you’re gonna smell it. It’s going to embarrass the butcher. It’s just not commonly done.
Italians, after all, aren’t traditionally squeamish about seeing food not incarcerated in industrial bagging. Even those goat heads the waiter brings to show us what Arthur Miller ordered when he visited Ristorante La Caravella in Monte Sant Angelo didn’t attract any attention from other diners. It’s just food, despite the eyeballs. It’s fresh. It doesn’t stink. And you don’t pay an arm and a leg to have it cooked up for you.
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