Thursday, June 25
Eating out in Italy: TV Dinners
Last night I got to watch the USA beat Spain 2-0 in the FIFA championships. The best part about it is, I got to watch right through dinner. Now, to most Americans who eat in front of the TV, this is not big news. But I am actually one of those people who firmly believes that dinner is a time to be spent with the family, around a table, and with no outside distractions especially of the nightly news, big brother brain dead jibberish, game shows or tits & ass varieties.
I did not make an exception to this rule because of the USA game. I actually had no choice. I was in an amazing little trattoria outside Rome, with friends eating the best pizza on planet earth. Like most restaurants in Italy, the television was set up front and center – never mind that it clashed with the décor – for easy watching. The volume turned up so loud you could barely hear those across the table.
This scene is played out throughout the country. Even when I’m the only one in the trattoria, begging them to please turn it down, they won’t. Or even when nobody’s watching the thing, the decibel level raised to exorbitant heights, they won’t give in.
I’m curious to know who the interior designer was that thought huge-screen TVs would be a welcome part of any meal out. Probably the same one who goes home for dinner each night and has a meal with his TV blaring straight through the pastasciutta. In reality, I believe it’s a throwback to the days when only one bar in town had the tube. Villagers would crowd around the one screen and watch the 1950s American musicals, dubbed appropriately in Italian, except for the songs.
At least one thing’s for sure: Everyone would have heard them belting out Singin’ in the Rain.