If an American is in charge of leading a group of sixteen on a three-hour excursion and feeding them lunch, he or she will pull into the nearest Subway, buy a few foot-longs and get a mess of paper plates and napkins, and call it mission accomplished.
Not in Italy, however. Today, the entire group headed out for an overnight field trip to Pompeii and Naples. What did we do at lunchtime? Tonio brought out tables and table cloths, real plates and silverware, homemade eggplant parmigiana, his own branded olive oil from his family’s farm, and biscotti. Then he started chopping up tomatoes, fennel and lettuce for salad. We had a lovely picnic, washed everything, and headed on our way.
How I wish I could bottle this in my own life!