Friday, April 26, 2019

His Dying Thought: Oh, right; this is how you die in Italy

Indexing previous reporting from my 2019 Italy trip:
The Naples Diet
Lines in Italy Explain My Exasperation

After several days of playing the video game “Frogger” around Naples, dodging, in terror for my life, between angrily speeding cars in a dystopian laissez fare traffic system that would make any pointy-headed Ayn Rand disciple nod in resigned recognition of the real-world perils of unrestrained human id, I remembered that I’d previously known about this.

I’ve heard about it. I’ve read about it. It was in my head: Risking demise beneath the wheels of some boxy little European vehicle is one of Naple’s defining features. Come for the sfogliatella, stay for the crushed sternum.

So why was it a surprise?

My first time in dusty western New Mexico, I was chowing down in some roadside diner when a dude strode in with a cowboy hat, and cowboy boots, and a Sam Elliott mustache. “Look at Mr. Cowboy”, I snarked to myself, catching myself a moment later. Whoops. Mr. Cowboy is an actual cowboy. No disrespect, sir. Howdy, or whatever...

All the great truths sound like Cola ads, and this is no different: There’s nothing like the real thing.

There will follow some postings where I report culinary revelations, tracing my process of discovering that long-held assumptions were completely wrong. You can learn a lot about a topic from a distance. But whether the surprises are big or small, the real thing opens a new framing of perspective, whereas secondhand knowledge just throws data on the pile.

Next installment of my Italy trip: The Surprising Truth About Real Neapolitan Brick Oven Pizza

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