If this point were not already obvious, I enjoy food. When we traveled to Europe, and even around the US, my souvenirs were always comestibles. The biochemist in me can make a satisfying meal from radish greens, slightly stale goat cheese and toasted bread. I have menus planned for weeks ahead, but the family knows the planned dinner is not certain if I go wandering through markets on a given day. I have the fun; the family reaps the rewards. With minor exceptions the system has worked for twenty years.
So when my Italian friend asked if I would like to order from her “Cheese Man,” a grocer who drives up from Italy on Thursday nights to deliver to Vienna’s Italian restaurants on Friday mornings, and to meet with private clients in the afternoon, the question was truly rhetorical. I brought along a friend to rein me in if necessary.
Friday arrived. The designated meeting point was established.
On schedule, the unmarked van pulled down the lane.
Pointing. Translating. Purchasing. More pointing. Tasting. More purchasing.
Fresh ricotta (and a couple of toasts tossed in with which to sample the cheese), a kilogram of handmade salsicce, marinated melanzane, and a portion of savory green olives to tempt me for “Cheese Man’s” next visit.
There will be a next visit.