Fast Food Category

An EDD-ter’s Tour of Italy – Along the A1…

One of my favorite things to do while traveling, especially in foreign countries, is to stop and eat at rest stops dotting the highways or at shopping mall food courts. Sure the food is fast and cheap, but it’s the weird snacks, foreign takes on typical foods like burgers, never-before-seen or sampled local eats, and of course a unique view of local life that make for some of the most memorable impromptu visits.

On the A1 toward Florence, we stopped at a Cafe Express. The name sounds innocuous enough, boring really, but my jaw dropped when I walked through the automatic sliding doors. Imagine a dungeon crawl of sorts, only the “walls” are stacks of dried pastas, cookies, pastries, bread, chips, canned tomatoes, chocolate, candies, and pretty much anything else that comes in a shiny vacuum sealed package. It’s a labyrinth of food of every kind, in every foreign language, and it beckons you further and further into its winding corridors.

And you can’t get out.

The walls are high enough that you can see a lit-up array of salami, prosciutto, and mortadella paninis glowing like a beacon on the other side, but any attempt at a short cut would cause a disaster of Godzilla-like proportions.

So you have no choice but to press ever further into the maze of delectable delights – picking up too many things a long the way – wishing you’d grabbed a basket at the beginning. Darn it!

Seconds later (or apparently 20 minutes later according to your husband waiting for you on the other side), you realize you’ve made it through despite the ache in your arms, both of which are embracing (and balancing) 3 chocolate bars, 2 bags of chips, a package of cookies, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, a jar of Marcona-stuffed olives, and a bag of trofie pasta with a pretty red, green and white bow on it.

But a waft of fresh espresso and fragrant savory salami draws you out of the haze, and you realize, you’ve made it. And now, yes now, is the time to partake of your spoils.

Mwahahaha!

OK, OK so I didn’t make it out of the store with ALL that stuff, but boy was it glorious while it lasted. See how much fun road stops can be?