Originally Posted by Simone Metalli
Thanks for your explanation, is very interesting...I didn't think about the time for a lunch for example...yes, here in Italy we spent a lot of time at the table...
my impression is that Italians spend a lot of time at the table OR--- they don't ..... and when they don't they will tolerate a level of food that is so low it would make an american shudder.
While i'm sure that those who come into your restaurant have plenty of time to eat, that's just because those people HAVE the time to eat, but most people don't.
For instance, where i work (if you know rome, in Aventino - a very posh area, actually) there are several bars that cater to those who work in the area.
They sell the worst sandwiches i have ever eaten - a dry roll (panino all'olio that's been sitting out two days) with a lot of REALLY horrendous cheap snack-bar commercial mayonnaise and a very thin slice of ham (prosciutto cotto) that is actually made of compressed scraps, and does not even cover the entire space of the roll, but sticks out enticingly in front so you think it's full. Sometimes there will be a paper think slice of mozzarella.
Or they sell a salad that is made up in the morning and sitting there all day, dripping wet, with lettuce, horrible canned olives (it;s hard to find bad olives here but they do), pale cherry tomatoes all year round, some dried-out grated carrot, small "bocconcini" mozzarelle - that taste of nothing (and who wants milky mozzarella in a salad of lettuce???) and (get this) CANNED CORN.
And this is typical.
I see these places FULL at lunch time. I can't stand this food, and bring my own lunch to work.
AND while an American would never consider having even the fastest meal standing up, most of those who eat in these bars eat standing. They gulp down these terrible sandwiches standing at the crowded counter.
So if you want a three course meal (and i would like to know just what job you can do here that gives you time to eat like that during the day) you have the alternative choice of eating crap standing at a crowded counter.
Some try to give hot meals to the business crowd, and they have pre-made commercial frozen dinners - pasta dishes they defrost and warm in the microwave.
Don't get me wrong, I do love italian food, and there are wonderful places to eat if you have time and can sit around for hours waiting to be waited on and all that, but this does not mean italians are necessarily very particular any more of what they put in their mouth.
For one thing, there are very few places in Rome, maybe enough to count on the fingers of one hand, that will make a sandwich to order, that hasn't been sitting around all day since early morning, getting dry, where you can eat it sitting down. And most people have to have sandwiches now for lunch. . (The exception is at a grocery store where they will make it up for you, and it can be quite exceptional, but you can't eat it there, and certainly can't sit down to eat it. Also most of those close at lunch time).
Perhaps in Bologna people have more time, they can make it home during lunch and their businesses have a two hour lunch break. Not so in Rome. And there are some places that have quite nice sandwiches and other lunch items like fresh pasta done quickly, grilled meat, etc, and cater to a faster crowd (the other place i work is in Trastevere, and there you can find a decent sandwich, or a quick meal) but what shocks me is to see how many people seem to be willing to eat the bad food they eat.