The Daily WORD is FOOD SEX
(In six days I’m flying into the land of curry and dal, so here is a memory of Italian food. Traveler’s Tales published the granita part, so here is the whole thing.)
Gelato drips down Joan’s arm and mine, spackling stones where Roman legions marched. We slip through shadows of two thousand year old walls, past fountains that ripple and splash and seem to talk, each marble form a work of art. Strolling down the twisting lanes, we praise gelato flavors. Even more divine with whipped cream lavished.
Gelato hour is sacred hour, our Nones, our Prime. The nuns we pass lose custody of their eyes to gelato. A papal dispensation permits the Holy Sisters to indulge their eyes when they do not have time to nudge their way into the marbled room with flavors posted like the stations of the cross. Every afternoon we must worship at the gelato altar. It is unRoman, unChristian, unUs not to have gelato with whipped cream between three and five .
And after that, espresso, one euro for the java jolt flung down by Zeus. Yes, we simply must have espresso, unless . . .
. . . we have granita at an outdoor cafe and watch Italian men strut by. Boldly we stare, wired into the afternoon with ice crystals of coffee shimmering darkly in a glass, layered with drifts of cream. We whisper that we are sirens, humming to the strutting men in tones that vibrate bone. They look at us as they pass and we all know what is going on and that it is good and simply what is done when one is having granita in Rome. At our age, we cannot do this every afternoon. If we were younger we would do it twice a day. We murmur about the possibility of multiple granitas, but we would miss the Vatican. Worse, we would miss dinner.
On granita days, we dine later, after the cold shower has stiffened our knees and drowned our sighs. Two women in Rome without a man! One man would be enough, a man who struts. Plodding, shuffling tourists are not attractive, not after granita has had its way with us.
Dinner! Bruschetta with fresh-picked tomatoes oiled and lounging on a thick toast bed, haloed in the essence of garlic. Next the fried artichoke, each leaf arching to be plucked. Eating an artichoke takes patience to uncover its small soul that visits briefly and is forgotten when the waiter delivers the roasted lamb, dripping smoke and sizzle on our plates. The brazen meat, sprinkled with rosemary and herbs unnamed, unknown until this moment, that roasted lamb with its harem of tastes twirls into one orgasmic feast that leaves us mute. We would follow the waiter through the Catacombs, for he is the one who urged, “order the lamb.”
We shudder. How close we came to ordering pasta with clams.