The Catholic Church has passed on its prehistoric dogma from one pope to another for nearly 2,000 years, with none — until now — having the foresight to modernize enough to attract a new generation. How were young urban Italians going to react when John Paul II went to Tanzania in 1990, on a continent where, according to AVERT, a United Kingdom-based HIV and AIDS charity, 5.5 million people suffered from AIDS, and told them using condoms was “evil”?
Yesterday I learned to be a better cook. I took my first cooking class in Rome. I emphasize first. When you’re retired, you’re shocked at how much time you have. I find myself revolving my days around one scheduled event. The rest of the time is spent with whimsical wanderings through the windy streets of Centro Storico or lounging on my couch reading about soccer. Or I’m in the kitchen making up recipes with whatever ingredients happen to look good in the market that day. Right now, my fettuccine with sausage and bell peppers would go for about $20 in any Italian restaurant in Denver.
I became addicted to public markets during my first stint in Rome from 2001-03. Mercato Trionfale was a sprawling open-air food bazaar not far from the Vatican. I got to know the Cheese Boys. I fell in lust with the Olive Goddess. I chatted up the Pasta Princess. It’s a great way to shop. You go to one stand for your cheese, another for your sausage, another for your bread. Then you stop at a tiny alimentari and get a bottle of decent Chianti for 2.50 euros.
About the only thing Mayan in Cancun is the occasional hotel maid. She must look at the Sigma Chi rush chairman stumbling around in a sombrero and wonder what has happened to her proud, 3,500-year-old culture.
Where she finds it is the same place I did: the dining table.
The tall, striking blond filleted the fish at my table with the precision of a surgeon and the care of a mother.