Two Sides to Travel

After adjusting to life in Rome, World Hum writer David Farley discovers that eating in the Italian city is almost always delicious, but sometimes, a little intimidating as well. His humorous encounters with a passionate chef who becomes a friend are described in his article The Pasta Nazi.

Travel comes from the Latin for travail, which comes from the word tripalium, an instrument of Roman torture. And, evidenced by the word’s etymology alone, it’s not easy. We can’t expect to really get to know a place after three weeks or three months of being there, but we can let the place challenge ourselves, our identities, and our worldview so that when we walk through our front door after a trip we’re different people. We’re stronger, more open minded, more tolerant. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ve acquired an additional set of parents along the way.

dining in Rome is different. Neither pretentious nor corporate, Roman restaurants boast an atmosphere that’s more haphazard than highfalutin: Tables are scattered throughout the room as if a blind person had arranged them, menus are often handwritten (as if a blind person had gotten a hold of a pen and paper), and wine is served in glass tumblers. If you feel like you’re eating in someone’s living room, there’s a good reason for it: The strong Italian attachment to family and the fact that the cuisine was more or less born in the home (as opposed to the wealthy royal courts, like in France), means the ideal meal for an average Roman is one he or she ate growing up. At home. “When Italians eat out, they expect food just like their mama made,” a Roman friend told me. “Elevating it, like French food, would ruin it.”