Articles / Dispatch From Rome

Dispatch From Rome

Published May 19, 2023

The omniscience of Amatriciana; cheap and good wine; and vegetables instead of pasta (sometimes)

I can see myself turning into a boring old man, spinning yarns of my youth; it might have happened already. In the week I’ve been here (Rome), I’ve probably, without exaggeration, started five sentences with “When I first came to Rome, in ’76…. “ Half the people I say that to weren’t born in ’76, and I almost feel as if I were talking about rolling in with “our boys” in ’44.

The first of the three times I used “When I first came here in ’76,” it was to explain that, back then, American friends who’d lived in Rome told me, “You must eat spaghetti carbonara,” which was little-known in the States in those days. Upon arrival, however, I was instructed by Romans that Amatriciana was the thing. They were right, of course: Carbonara, by comparison, is baby food.