Should you be late for cooking dinner, you can listen to this article, clicking on the player below.
Having spent 70% of my life in an Anglo-Saxon background I had quite a lot of occasions to dine or to lunch with foreign friends, guests, visitors or business partners. In these occasions I have been often overridden by internal rage for human stupidity when it comes to eating habits in countries different from their own. I have seen the most brilliant people succumbing in desperate cliches,as if they were in that area of wisdom where intelligence is forbidden. Therefore the following pages, are not only a result of this experience, but even more, they are biased, over reactive and personal to the up most.
I apologize right from the beginning for such a straight or tough approach, yet it is part of the package, which can be shared or rejected, but by alll means it is entirely Roman and may result very useful. The aim of this site is to give you a Roman opportunity. having said that, your eating future in Rome is now in your hands.
Secondary, most of the conceptions here expressed apply to any city in the world, but again, this is a Roman site and we will proceed ignoring the rest of the world.
The bye product of giving general advice to an extensive audience about any topic, is the generalization, which becomes a natural process and has to be used for the sake of results, otherwise most of the suggestions should be avoided. Take my generalizations as a part of the deal.
Last but not the least , food and sex have quite a lot in common: both are essential for the mankind’s future and continuation and over the centuries they have grown from the essential natural need into more sophisticated source of pleasure. The ancient Roman tough approach, to have large meals and then to stick two fingers up their throat to vomit and start afresh, are a typical example. Unfortunately this is not applicable to sex.
As a source of pleasure, food and sex usually are in a stupid way , practiced in a restricted span of time, as a prelude to one another , mixing the two different pleasures, cutting down the enjoyment out of both of them.
Unfortunately, for men the first signal of growing old , is the dramatic decision upon which one of the two to give precedence and exposure, often the decision falls on food , leaving food quantities unvaried, in spite of to be followed sexual problems with a full tommy. Needless to say that the following lines on eating suggestions are not dedicated to ladies , as the basic urge is not the same and the approach is different. Men strive for food and eat voraciously; ladies choose and eat calmly as they know they can have all the food in the world first and something later on , with no problem or rush. They found it out right from adolescence.
EATING CLASSIFICATIONS IN ROME
When eating in Rome, a choice must be made, based upon time, location or financial resources. The choice is in which of these three different worlds he desires to dwell:
- Nourishing yourself at a very good quality level
- Eating sitting down as we say “with our feet under a table” meeting the unknown.
- Dining out and exploring a different world, from the one back home.
I will explore these three different worlds into details, stating right from the beginning that each one of the three worlds will give you a chance to have top quality food, combined with a local experience. In Rome even Mc Donald is different from the rest of the other ones in the world. Out of curiosity or as a knowledge process visit the one next to the Spanish steps and you will be surprised.
NOURISHING YOURSELF WELL, BUT REALLY WELL, IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE NEED TO IMPRESS SOMEBODY DINING OUT
The cost involved can vary from9 euros up to 15, unless you want to taste caviar or smoked salmon,inh this case you do not need a long trip to Rome to be satisfied. If in your EMBARKED travelling luggage you put a small set , as the one in the picture which has been designed not to allarm any police officer, , this will grant you a food indipendence more exhtended than the one recognized by the American constitution.
Let us start with liquids.
ROME WATER out of public fountains is one of the best in the world, unless you go to the top of the Alps. 100% safe hygienically.
WINE If you use your wisdom and buy it in one of the hundreds of supermarkets, you have a very good choice and prices which are 25% of what you would pay in a restaurant. Naturally, keep yourself distant from wines under 5 euros a bottle, if you don’t want to join the drunkards hanging around in parks. DRINKING IN PUBLIC is not illegal, but whilst years ago it was your own business, as a result of heavily drinking immigration and worsening of local people it has turned into a despicable activity , therefore it is strongly suggested you do it in a discreet way, possibly normally dressed and showing that your food is the main concern and drinking is a secondary element. As I can imagine your eye-browning , you should consider , starting the row of sexual examples used in this article ( food and sex flock together), you should think that even in the worst bars of Caracas, the ones where you drink the best Pampero rum ( see advertising ) , you would never approach a lady with your penis in your hand, even if it is your ultimate goal , therefore there is a way in everything “est modus in rebus”. Act the same with your wine bottle.
EATING in public, is so common that the City Council had to issue a bill prohibiting people to eat on the Spanish steps. Public benches are the best areas for your meal, whilst your wine bottle can stay a bit apart, slightly under the bench.
Having cleared the liquid part, let us discuss the solid food: where and what to buy ?
In Rome there are thousands “alimentari” where together with bread, they offer a wide choice of filling. However , the whole process starts with the bread choice as in the case you plan a long travel and you have fixed the destination, the vehicle is the next logical step and this is the function of the bread, to bring the selected food into your stomach, accompanying it with an underlying sound track.
At this point a picture illustration is necessary and you will find it below, Salumeria first and then baker shop
I have selected the most popular types, you can find everywhere.
However, this is the first major turn in your visiting Rome, eating and interacting abroad, as this imposes a personal contact with the person on the other side of the counter. Before going any further, I feel I have to make the following strong suggestions ( most likely generalizations ), out of my personal experience.
Ladies, the world has realized long ago that you are the most beautiful creature in the world and that soft spot which is the centre of your physical beauty is a gift that God has given to you only and nobody else: but please consider that there is not a chance in one million that you will donate the center of your beauty to the person on the other side of the counter and even if you would, he is not aware of it: for him you are just a customer and nothing else
Therefore be normal, smiling and avoiding your bossy finger flying in the air and look at his eyes when you talk to him whilst choosing what you want. If you smile at the fellow, recent studies have shown that this will never create an unwanted pregnancy with the fellow you are talking to. Your mummy, long ago , has talked with you about “safe sex”, but this does not apply to personality exchange in a foreign country: do not wear a soul prophylatic. Differently from what you believe, he is not there just to serve you and nobody else in the world. If you tease him treating him in a snubbish way, he can turn your purchasing in a negative experience.
German men, your economy is strong but the fellow does not care :you and your petty calculated purchases are simply a pain in the arse, don’t be bullish.
French guys, your snubbing approach is not appreciated.
Russian and neighborhood people, you are very good wrestlers, but bear in mind that you are not going to wrestle with the guy , he is not your opponent .
Chinese, keep smiling, but for Christ sake let the other person understand what you want, maybe with some slow relaxed gesticulation which helps . Ladies you should be more interested in giving signal, more than covering your lovely mouth, whilst smiling.
Charming and lovely American folk, it is quite clear that in that shop they sell spaghetti, but this does not imply you are in the set of a spaghetti western film , with your hand ready to draw your pistol. R E L A X: that guy sees so many people in a day that he does not care about cheating you: he has no time for it Enjoy it.
My dear English friends , you know I have a soft spot for you, so I expect that you teach the others how to behave abroad. Having had colonies for a long time you know how to behave with these "locals" pictorial people: however tell your lovely lady, travel companion, sweetly, that her grandfather, a British army officer, has left India ages ago and times have changed since then, alas .
Recenty the Audio glossary has been added , with a special audio and written sections about sandwich. I would strongly recomend to go through it, before going any further.
OK!! Let us start with the rosette ( small roses) as per picture below on the right
Rosetta, singular, rosette plural. You find them everywhere, even at the hairdresser, tasteless, rarely well cooked, they are like aids, if you know them, you avoid them . I mention them as they are the most used as flexible to use, but surely not the top of the top. Whilst below I show you the delicious and comfortable , PANINI ALL'OLIO ( Oil bread)
Good, soft, they are like Jane Austen's ladies, not the best for a torrid sexual mediterranean affair, where you need "pane casareccio", but more for a lifelong relationship, especially if your teeth are not at the best.
Next we haveCiabatte ( literary slippers , for their form),very comfortable and tasty enough, a middle way between panini all'olio and pane casareccio.
The above types can be found everywhere.
However , if you really desire to have a Roman exposure and to be Roman, you have to go into the bread category which need to be sliced pane casareccio, hence the initial suggestion to carry a kitchen knife. Naturally you can ask the man to cut it for you , but this brings you to be dependent upon his mood. Strange enough, in the cases of immigrants working in shops, especially the eastern ones, they have the same reaction of the Indian waiters in London in the sixties: rough, bullish , impolite as to find a revenge on you being a stranger. ( Actually they do it even with locals, but we know the way to put them straight).
Now we get to the main decision eating approach philosophy:
- shall we use bread as an accompanying tool, switching morsels between bread and food or
- shall we use it as a bed, an house , a cottage, a grave, to our filling? The second approach in English usually is said “to make a sandwich” but actually has nothing to do with a “panino”.
- Panino, out of my personal experience, can often be better than a meal. If you go to a Roman "panineria", you can have easily 50 different choices , which will grant you unbelievable flavours.
With the morsels approach, you do not have any slicing problem: you chose the type of bread, the filling and then you walk out of the “alimentari”looking for a nice spot where to eat. In the second case if you have your own knife, no problem. Yet...., if you want real bread casareccio and choose the ones from the picture below, the best one, you still have the slicing problem as it imposes the big sharp knives.
Therefore a gentle approach to the man behind the counter is mandatory, especially in the case you wish to have regular slices which do not dislocate your jaws and this is not easily accomplished if the slicing is made up in a pissed-off hurry and you might have a problem, trying the first bite. How many beautiful ladies visiting the city are hospitalized each day in Rome for dislocated jaw caused by the initial bite!
This dictates an exchange of intentions and targets, with the relevant professional approach to gestures, which you will find explained , with the relevant video, in the following article , which is extended also to situations out of eating:When in Rome, gesticulate as Romans do
To make you overcome any language gap , in the above video, I have shown you how to use your hands to ask for sliced bread, or other things, but please do not forget to SMILE!!!
Following the video you request kindly
- to slice the bread
- how big the slices should be, using thumb and forefinger making a U
- and how many you want.
At this point, it might be necessary to make a strong comparison and remind you that any man in the world, knows that if you are getting “intimate” with a lady for the first time, during the undressing phase you should be be swift and light. You cannot stop your and her unfressing , taking ages to get rid of your trousers, folding them very nicely, choosing the right chair, or even worse reading the newspaper , and so on.
Similarly, before getting to the slicing man, recover the pieces of your family spread all over the place or the city, ask them what they want to eat, how much bread and all the rest and then, only at that point, when ready , go the man with your signals ready. Please, do everything organized, don’t jump from bread section to Salsamenteria ( ham, salami, mortadellla, etc.) and backwards as a beep beep road runner, or speedy gonzales , as what in your mind is a request, on the other side will be perceived as the following audio.
The approach should be the following:
Enter the alimentari shop , straight quick glance at the bread section: if you see 4 or 5 types of bread, it is not the right place. If you see at least two metres of bread shelves , you are in the right spot. Hang around examining the bread types but don’t buy anything: go to the salami side. (BY THE WAY!! I have been talking about salami as I love them, but do not forget the cheese, mozzarella , provola, stracchino and the other thousands), the shop attendants will understand you want a whole package.
Decidein your mind what you want to buy , revert to the bread counter and ask them the type of breand and to have it sliced, just in case they they will not do it after you habe bought the filling. Once you have the bread, 70% of times the shop attendants will get the message and send the bread to the Salumeria side, in order the bread can be filled up, but this is to be done following YOUR PRECISE INSTRUCTIONS!!
In that delicate moment, whilst you are ponting at the filling you want, they might try to get in control of you and suggest other solutions, but you, with your smile, make a clear no and indicate clearly what you want to have: should they insist, you walk out.
At least 10 or 20 labourers, every working day, at lunch time have panini in that very shop: it is no surprise for them.
You may also buy there mineral water, beer ( in Rome is considered a soft drink) coca cola or anything else, but not wine. For wine a big supermarket is mandatory, but do not dare asking them to uncork the bottle. It would be like asking a nice lady waiter, well dressed , in a refined tea house, using a loud voice, "By the way, my dear, with my tea, could you give me a blow job too?”. For this reason you always carry with you ( or buy it locally), a cork extractor.
Now, finally we have the Panini, filled up or to be filled up by you later, according to the individual request of your group ( do not dare asking for separate bills, if you are so miser to account for the different ingredients, forget about it ). Now your enthusiastic task is to find a good supermarket in the neighborhood and a right spot where to eat what you have bought, spending at the most , good wine included, 12 euros per person, instead of 35 euros ( on the basis of quantity and quality).
Finished with panini
The second choice of nourishing you at very good quality, but slightly higher prices, is the rosticceria, where you can find roast beef, supplì, vegetables and so on. I am not spending a lot of time on them, as to the best of my knowledge there are only 4 or 5 in Rome, worth going. One of them as an an example, is Franchi in via Cola di Rienzo 200, not far from St Peters, where they used to prepared even boiled lobster with mayonnaise.
By the way, to have the indication of a good supermarket in the neighborhood you could write on a piece of paper the following sentence to ask local ladies , who are around in their 50s or 60s, and you understand are from the same area, as for example, they walk out of local buildings.
1) Mi scusi, mi potrebbe indicare dove posso trovare un buon negozio di alimentari, per farmi fare dei panini molto buoni? ( for the panini) ( in short:please a good alimentari)
2) Scusi mi sa dire se vi è un buon supermercato fornito nella vicinanze? ( good supermarket )
Some supermarkets, further to wine , have very good food sections, however they are not allowed to slice bread.
Last section, maybe the most important for you: Pizza takeaway.
There are so many of them around ( talking in hundreds ), that I would not be surprised to find them inside Saint Peter's, one day. According to the Italian newspaper il Messaggero, the 10 top ones in Rome are.
1) Pizzarium, Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma tel 06 3974 5416. They deserve their own picture- ( not far from the Vatican Museums)
2) Angelo e Simonetta Via Nomentana, 581, 00141 Roma 06 87188853- A bit out of the way, but by bus, 15 minutes from central station Termini.
3) Volpetti Più, Tel. 06 5742352 , via Alessandro Volta 8 (just around the corner there is its alimentary section, expensive, but one of the best in Rome) open from Monday to Saturday from 10,30 to 15,30 and from 17,30 to 21,30. Not far from the Piramide or the English cemetery in Rome, or the famous Monte Testaccio (alternatively spelled Monte Testaceo; also known as Monte dei cocci) is an artificial mound in Rome composed almost entirely of testae (Italian: cocci), fragments of broken amphorae dating from the time of the Roman Empire, some of which were labelled with tituli picti. It is one of the largest spoil heaps ound anywhere in the ancient world, covering an area of 20,000 square metres (220,000 sq ft) at its base and with a volume of approximately 580,000 cubic metres (760,000 cu yd), containing the remains of an estimated 53 million amphorae. It has a circumference of nearly a kilometre (0.6 mi) and stands 35 metres (115 ft) high, though it was probably considerably higher in ancient times. It stands a short distance away from the east bank of the River Tiber, near the Horrea Galbae where the state-controlled reserve of olive oil was stored in the late 2nd century AD. The mound later had both religious and military significance. You can access only through guided visits.
3) Zazà Piazza di Sant'Eustachio, 00186 Roma 06 68801357 In the center of the center, next to the Pantheon.
4) 00100 Pizza or TRAPIZZINO Piazzale di ponte Milvio 13 tel 06 33221964, at the centre of the Roman "movida" it should open also in Via Giovanni Branca, 88, 00153 Roma. A few metres from Volpetti piu. See place info.
so far we are in the environments of 12 Euros a KG!! ( do you realize how much is 1 KG of pizza??? )
Anyway they are all mentioned in the Roman trip advisor.