An American Lost in Italy
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must tell you that this is my last entry for the Spinchoon. After reading this, founder of the Spinchoon Anthony Costanzo will have definitely fired me and maybe even killed me. Especially once he reads the food section. So if I were to go missing or suddenly have died, please open investigation starting with him. Thank you.
Let me start this all off with some facts about me. I am an American. A New Yorker, some may claim that’s the worst kind of American. I am what I am and I am proud! Alright sometimes I’m proud. *sigh* I’m never really proud but I am an American dammit. An Italian American too! So I thought!
Friend of the site Matthew No Fucks Given (real last name. I promise) informed me, that to make a statement saying something like “I’m half Italian and half Irish” is a stupid American thing to do. If you state your Italian and you were born in America and only know your basic hello goodbye and please and thank you in Italian, than yeah you are not Italian.
The company I work for, whose name I will leave out of this has an office in the US that I would normally report to. To cut out all the arbitrary details I will just say my presence was finally required in their headquarters which happens to be in Italy.
Since my first thought was that I have some Italian in me, this should be easy. I really was not too worried, but the fact is, I am zero percent Italian. I am an American and I was not ready for Italy. No one in my shoes would be. NO ONE!!!!!!
As an American, this trip was just weird. So many differences in cultures make for wildly different life styles. I wont bore you with them all but these are the ones I found to be funny or just to crazy not too mention.
Flying to Italy is not a grueling long trip but its not a quick ride either. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to use the bathroom on a plane. So, I got off the plane in Milan and the first thing I had to do was run to the bathroom. I walk into the men’s room and the first thing I do is say out loud “oh shit, sorry” and walk back out. I walked into what I thought was the men’s room but there were no urinals only stalls. So my American guy brain said “fuck this is the women’s room!”. Nope, it was the guys. So I go back in and do my business and stare at the toilette for a little wondering how to flush. Turns out the lever to flush was a button to press in the wall not even attached to the toilette! WHAT?! IT IS IN THE DAM WALL! WHAT IS THIS WIZARDRY!
I get to the hotel and my bladder says time to go again, I look at the toilette and again the toilette is weird to me. Take a look at this weird shit. That big thing in the wall is what you press to flush the toilette way down there.
Walking the streets out here during the day you my not even notice this but at night its bright and lit up. All around the city are vending machines. At first you do not think anything of it. Vending machines are everywhere. Oh not these machines. They are not your typical vending machines with snacks and drinks, although those do exist also out here. There were two main ones that stuck out to me. One was more out there than the other. The first one was vending machines loaded with cigarettes. I know machines like this used to exist in America so that was not too unbelievable however the sheer volume of them is whats unbelievable. Here is the fun one. Get your self ready cause this is insane!
Yes you are looking at that right, its a vending machine with everything you may need for a night of pleasure. Lube? got it. Condoms? got it. Dildos and anal beads? Got it! Are you serious?!On the fucking street?! What the fuck Italy? What the fuck! Kids walk out here! Oh and just for giggles, in case you decide condoms are not for you and you have a child, the machine next to this had you covered with diapers, bottles and wipes. Smh Italy Smh.
Where I was, non existent. I cant speak for all of Italy but I can tell you where I was, night time is for sleeping….. or I guess sex if you use that vending machine.
I’m sure I will get slammed for this article, and I know ill get slammed even more when you get to the food section, but as someone looking at this town all I could do was wonder how the hell did they survive? Where did these people shop? The stores were mainly cafe’s or stores to buy cigarettes and that is about it! Where do you do errands Italy?! I must know!
All I want to say about the workplace is they have the best coffee machine ever. It has at least 30 different choice of espresso. You make your pick and in about 1 minute out pops your espresso with a plastic stirrer. Simply Amazing.
This may be one of the only positives I take home with me from Italy. Although they use a different currency (what the fuck with all them coins?!) the value for the Euro and the Dollar at the time of my visit was pretty close to 1:1. You can live like a king for very little money. Many nights out with mediocre food….. alright i wont start that yet. Lets just say a night out with a lot of food and a lot of beer and wine will cost you a fraction of what it cost here in America. Alcohol in stores itself are dirt cheap. In my time there what I noticed to be the most expensive item to buy was soda! Some places soda would be only a couple Euro’s short of what your food would be. If you do not believe me, challenge me. I have examples.
I have more I could discuss but its time to bring this to a close and go right into food. I will start with a positive. A wonderful meal. I may say one of the best meals I have eaten. The below pictures are of this meal. It was only 35 Euro’s and it was a chef’s choice. He made what ever he wanted and brought it to us. A meal like this in New York is easily over 100 dollars. The price shocked me and the quality and flavor shocked me even more.
Well here it is. Out the window goes my friendship with some, my credibility on anything food related but its ok. It must be said. I would like to start with a comment for Italy. All of Italy as it was multiple areas that I ate in. I think I may teach this country something right now. Alright here it goes. *clears throat*. Hey Italy, did you know there are other forms of seasoning besides salt?!?! Oh my fucking god is everything salty in this sorry excuse for a foodie country. Everyone holds Italian food up on this pedestal and my god get it down.
Ill start with two things Italy is known for, pizza and pasta. Pizza. Oh man the pizza. I was so excited to try Italian pizza, I really was. The dough is good, its light, no where near being too dense but the good qualities stop there. On top of what I will call an above average dough goes way below average sauce and inconsistent amounts of cheese. You want toppings on it? Great lets just throw chunks of toppings that make this pizza even harder to eat. Let’s not forget that the sauce and any kind of topping is loaded with salt. Pasta. Again they get the dough right. The pasta itself is great. It always tasted fresh and never over cooked. But then on top of this pasta comes yet again terrible sauce. Sauce is not your thing? That’s cool cause there are plenty of options to choose from but beware every option taste like you are biting into a giant salt crystal.
Just about every meal that I had was terrible. Nothing was seasoned properly everything was just covered in salt. If you want good Italian food than go to New York. They got everything the Italians got right and corrected and perfected all their mistakes.
They say in Italy the wine never stops its always flowing. I say, yeah that’s true, since everything is covered with salt you need to keep the liquids flowing.
As a final disclaimer I will state that my trip was not in a tourist area. I guess it would be like saying I had a trip to America and went to Alabama. I know my experience is not the same as others, however my view of Italy is forever scarred. Italian food I am done with! Take your salt and get out.
If you enjoyed this click HERE for my other article with some travel shenanigans. If you want to yell at me and tell me how wrong I am do that on twitter @Big_Broons and if you want to tell the site to get rid of me for my opinions do that @TheSpinchoon or on our Facebook page.
The opinions and views in this article are of Brian Rooney and do not represent The Spinchoon as a whole (or for that matter, any sane person)