Land of giant everything

2 Aug
An embarrassment of riches aptly describes the retail scene in the U.S. What an amazing thing it is to walk into a Safeway store after 3 years’ absence and see aisle-after-aisle of options! Acres of wine, miles of frozen foods, yet a rather humble selection of pasta types. The Safeway was at least five-times the size of our “big” neighborhood grocery store, DOC Parioli, but DOC has five-times the pasta.
The wine aisle in a Safeway store.  Una scelta imbarazzante!  (A     selection so grand it's embarrassing!)

The wine aisle in a Safeway store. Una scelta imbarazzante! (A selection so grand it’s embarrassing!)

Going for coffee at an independent coffee house in Portland, we chuckled over the large cappuccino one patron was nursing. Ric took a picture with her hands and laptop in view for perspective. I was excited to get espresso over ice without the barista cocking an eyebrow and looking down her nose at me. It just isn’t done in Italy. You can have a shakerato or a sweetened caffe’ fredo, but over ice? I had more ice in my single drink than I can even fit in my Roman freezer.
Iced, iced iced! In the foreground my iced espresso, which is a sacrilege in Italy. Ric's "small" iced coffee (rear) was not only huge but undrinkable due to a burned taste.

Iced, iced iced! In the foreground my iced espresso, which is a sacrilege in Italy. Ric’s “small” iced coffee (rear) was not only huge but undrinkable due to a burned taste.

Coffee in the U.S.  is even more expensive than I remember, and it takes a long time to make an espresso. In Roma, from ordering to drinking is the blink of an eye. At Starbucks the other day I waited at least five minutes. What takes so long to pull a shot?
Land of the giant everything, a "bowl" of cappuccino at neighboring table.

Land of the giant everything, a “bowl” of cappuccino at neighboring table.

14 Responses to “Land of giant everything”

  1. ckleonard August 3, 2015 at 00:33 #

    Your comparisons to what you are seeing, reseeing, here to Italy are so welcome. We need to be reminded. Keep them coming during your visit.


    • gooddayrome August 3, 2015 at 00:37 #

      That’s the plan, Carolyn, thanks for endorsing it. 🙂 See you SOON!


      • Karen Lloyd August 3, 2015 at 00:56 #

        Amen is about all I have to say. Supersize it just doesn’t cut it. I like Ava’s Roasteria in Beaverton (if you can believe it) … But then I’m a hazelnut mocha gal. Gotta echo the thumbs down for Starbucks. I am so envious of your adventures. I’ll be back out there one day!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. John Mackey August 3, 2015 at 00:21 #

    It seems that quantity always triumphs over quality in the States. Going to the two supermarkets near my mother’s home in Rome (Tigre and Conad) I always found excellent quality — even if both were less than half the size of my supermarket in Chicago!


    • gooddayrome August 3, 2015 at 00:25 #

      I would have to agree we can always get what we need — and very high quality — in Roma. While I do miss affordable peanut butter, one clearly does not need 20 linear feet of shelf space devoted to it. We have also been stunned by the lack of flavor in some foods. Red peppers taste like red peppers in Italy. Ones we bought here tasted like nothing: they were absolutely devoid of flavor.


  3. Marcia Kakiuchi August 3, 2015 at 00:08 #

    It’s so true we are a country if embarrassing size in a lot of things and and this has made us spoiled brats in so many venues!


    • gooddayrome August 3, 2015 at 00:26 #

      Well said, Marcia! But it was kindof fun to stroll through Target again!


  4. mvaden1948 August 2, 2015 at 23:15 #

    But that looks just like the cup I use when I make a cappuccino at home. I wouldn’t think of ordering one that size out though. In fact although I use my “moka” that is supposed to make six cups (tiny espresso cups) and steamed milk I don’t really think of it as a cappuccino. And I don’t do cappuccino in a to go cup either. That’s just wrong. I did try it once at Starbucks and she asked me if I wanted it wet or dry? Isn’t coffee and milk wet? Give me a cappuccino in Italy even at Florians where they charge 9 Euros!
    I have searched for orzo at two stores. Luckily I have enough to make what I need for the dinner with my Italian teacher on Tuesday. Still have another store to check tomorrow. I know I got it at Safeway last time….and Trader Joe’s…the two I checked. Do I really have to drive all the way to World Market?
    I still remember when I lived in Grenada and in October the boxes of apples came from Washington. Once a year. And they sold them by the each for $1 EC (Eastern Caribbean…about .37) and were shocked when I bought $20 EC or 20 apples. They had never even heard of apple pie. Now I whine when the particular variety (I love Envy because they taste like apples did when I was a child)I like isn’t in season….we have apples all year and tiny countries that export tons of bananas get apples for a brief time once a year. When I first came back to the states the piles of apples felt like a slap in the face.
    Probably when you were here last Target didn’t sell groceries.:-)


    • gooddayrome August 3, 2015 at 00:27 #

      I am in denial of how hard it will be to replace my beloved Italian products when we come back for good. For now I can enjoy the novelty of BIG AMERICAN SHOPPING.


      • mvaden1948 August 3, 2015 at 01:15 #

        It is way too easy to succumb to all of those temptations. I have to stay out of Target unless absolutely necessary.


  5. John Henderson August 2, 2015 at 22:32 #

    U.S. coffee is gross. Besides the fact that Starbucks had made nearly every quaint neighborhood coffee shop as obsolete as Folgers, how can you drink a cappuccino out of a paper cup?


    • gooddayrome August 2, 2015 at 22:57 #

      Amen to that, John! We are trying hard to go to the independents, but they don’t always succeed in quality and one must INSIST on ceramic cups to get one. No more “to go” for me and I love my Nespresso machine even more. In fact, we bought one for our son so we could have our usual morning fix while visiting.


  6. gooddayrome August 2, 2015 at 22:28 #

    Too true, Janet! I was truly amazed in Target today. Everything under one roof!


  7. Janet August 2, 2015 at 22:26 #

    Funny!! Sometimes we don’t think about what we have!!


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