Citizen of the world, breath and gait, I walk through countries among all nationalities and think of how we differ, how we are the same. Traditions dissimilar, languages too, human condition the same. Pause. Breathe.
It was once the land of bountiful harvest and honored kitchens, of slow movements and deep thoughts.
It saddens me to see this country has undergone such upheaval and I feel it is in part globalization and in part economic depression and that which follows organically from both.
In search of vegetables I stumble upon a "frutti vendolo" I must have gone for blocks seeing one supermarket after another before finding an open vegetable and fruit stand, the heat has turned most of their produce limp and bruised. I reach for the only seasonally green leafy vegetable they are harvesting at the moment, a singular green varietal of chard. I think about Whole Foods for a moment, one green leafy bunch after another, dandelion, rainbow chard, mustard greens, kale, bok choy and so on. How did this happen? In part I am happy, living in America, that this is so, but the other part of me mourns the loss of this in Italy. As I walk through the all to common supermarket here I am shocked to see what is going into the shopping carts, prepared foods, plastic wrapped prepackaged lunch meats high in nitrates, cookies, frozen fish and ultra heat treated over pastuerized milk products. This was the America I knew 15 years ago, the one the Italians balked at.
So now in the country where not too long ago it was meshed into everyday life to spend hours in the kitchen and prepare multi course feasts for each day, it appears more like the America I grew up in. The America where mothers worked long hours and crockpots were invented to make dinner times almost a non effort. The America where microwaves served as ovens but cooked in a matter of minutes instead of hours. It's a natural progression, albeit a stretch to call this progress, from the stay at home mother to the working mother the working daughter and higher level education more prominent among many not only the privileged few.
Somewhere along the way America realized the downward spiral of poor eating, obesity, mental and physical well being and a new surge of buzzwords began to circulate, artisanal, local, free range, organic and so on. Wellness in the form of more whole body consciousness, yoga, namely became a super trend. A large portion of our society has truly embraced this return to basics, and for this I secretly smile.
So I have gone in search of this here. Early Thursday morning brings me to a sought out yoga class, in the city center a beautifully appointed studio, great windows overlooking one of the main thorough fares between Piazza Navona and Campo Dei Fiori. Unusually large proportioned white marble busts of robust men holding the capitols like bookends flank the windows to the space, each downward facing dog puts me up close to one of their giant alabaster fingers. The class was a satisfying, grounding class for me, the dynamics of family travel for such a prolonged trip, I needed this. After class hunger pains drove me to find the new phenomena of Bio or organic restauarant/ smoothie cafes.