The Food Smuggler

Written by Katie Parla on December 14, 2009


I have officially become the type of person I used to ridicule. The person who travels to the UK with a suitcase full of food, as though there is nothing edible on this whole island. When friends would travel from Rome to London for a long weekend, they would pack sandwiches with them. Well that is not completely true. Their moms would do the packing. But they gladly transported the goods, nibbling on their mortadella sandwiches between meals at really terrible Italian restaurants. This still makes me laugh. The notion that canned tuna on a rosetta is superior to anything in England could not be more absurd. I swore I would never become a weird food hoarder. But the compulsion is just stronger than I am. On my most recent trip to the UK , I filled my suitcase with oil (5 litres of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil to be exact), pasta di gragnano, parmigiano regiano, pecorino romano, caciocavallo, pesto, biscottini , Taurasi, and Barolo, leaving just enough room for 3 sweaters and a pair of socks. What can I say? I am totally dependent upon Italy’s DOC and DOP products. I can’t live without them. And now I am the one who is ridiculed. But mostly for wearing the same sweater no less than twice a week.

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