Thursday, 25 January 2018

Foodie stuff!

Oh boy, I have been hearing about the Impossible Burger. It’s a fake burger for people who dan’t want to eat actual meat but still want the taste. Personally I find this a bit of a silly idea but I am prepared to listen to the arguments. Apparently providing a realistically meaty artificial meat is going to be good for the environment. We are eating too much meat, the production of which is using up too many of the world’s resources. Well, personally I am not contributing to this problem as I have not eaten red meat for years and years. But a lot of people cannot live without their fix of red, bloody meat and the Impossible company is producing something which they might find acceptable. What an odd world we live in!

A young friend of mine claims to have lost almost a stone in weight by going on a meat-free diet since the start of the new year. A fish diet seems to be doing the trick. I do wonder, though, just how much meat he was eating before if cutting it out has made such a difference. Or is he just eating fewer chips, mash, roast potatoes and the like?

I am frequently surprised at the quantities some people are able to eat at one sitting. Packets of fresh pasta which allegedly serve two people usually contain enough for two meals for Phil and me. The first time we went to Italy to a language school we stayed with a delightful old lady, Donna Antonina. She lodged students from the language school, providing company for herself and extra language practice and excellent evening meals for the students. However, we had to ask her to reduce the portions she was serving. A huge mound of pasta was simply too much, even for Phil, who was praised by Donna Antonina for being a “buona forchetta”, a good and appreciative eater - literally a “good fork”.

We were discussing visits to language schools in the Italian conversation class the other day. One of our number, self-confessed antisocial, declared that she could not possibly stay with a family - too much stress after working hard wrestling with language classes. Phil and I really enjoyed our stays with families, especially with the crazy, Che Guevara-admiring Maria, with pictures of her hero all over her house!

Another member of our group is off to Venice at Easter, returning to stay with the family who have hosted him on previous occasions, happily cooking for him fish that he bought fresh from the market. We told him that it was just as well his host family were prepared to do this as some people have had problems eating put in that fair city.

Four Japanese tourists had a bill of almost £1,000 for their meal. And they didn’t even simply get ripped off on the wine; they only drank water. Another three tourists, presumably in a different restaurant but you never know, paid just over £300 for three plates of seafood pasta. All of them coughed up and then lodged complaints later.

The police chief and the mayor of Venice have promised to take action but the owners of the restaurant say they have no recollection of problems with Japanese customers. Hardly surprising if they just paid the bill and left.

I wonder why they meekly paid. Even if they had very little knowledge of Italian a simple refusal to get out their wallets would have got the message across. We would have kicked up a stink immediately. But then, much as we love Venice, we avoid eating anywhere near St Mark’s Square. Even without unscrupulous restaurateurs selecting certain tourists for extra charges, the prices are way too high.

A cup of expensive coffee and a splendid view of the square is the most we would go for!

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