In July I travelled around Italy a bit, riding from North to South on the trains while making jokes about Mussolini and punctuality. This meant I was often at Rome’s Termini station looking for a pre-journey meal at the huge food market there. Mostly, I chose ‘Trapizzino’, the “new” food which Romans are obsessed with. It’s basically a flatbread sandwich but Italian food is so set in its ways that this counts as an “invention” and has been duly trademarked and patented.
One summer day, however, I spotted that Termini also has a fresh pasta stall, doing short, fresh egg pasta. Long-time readers of this blog (yes, they do exist. There’s even a Subreddit) will know that short and fresh is the dream. I checked the menu. Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe, and Carbonara. All the Roman dishes EXCEPT Gricia. Luckily my language skills were now good enough to handle this situation. AQA GCSE Speaking & Listening Exercise 1: ‘You are a pasta blogger. Ask this man in a loud and busy train station to make you a specific pasta dish.’
What follows is a conversation translated from Italian. The grammar has been preserved to reflect this:
‘Good evening. Listen. Would it be possible to do me a Gricia?’
‘What ‘no’? How ‘no’? *gesticulates in vaguely Italian fashion* ‘All the ingredients here they are.’
‘The sauces are pre-made.’
‘But there is all here. Pecorino Romano, pork cheek.’
‘No, it’s not possible.’
‘But to have all these plates but no Gricia. It is ridiculous.’
‘The best I can do is a Cacio e Pepe and put bits of guanciale on top. But it’s not the same’.
‘Certain it’s not the same. It I know. I write reviews of all the Gricia in Rome. I have written 5,000 words so far. I have eaten Gricia in Rome, Bologna, and cooked it badly in Venice. Now, to you I pray, for favour, could you do me a Gricia or no?
To cut a long pasta short, he made me a Cacio e Pepe with Guanciale on top. It was not the same. 2 Colosseums. And while we’re dishing out disappointments, I lied. Obviously this blog has no Subreddit.