My favorite place to have lunch in Rome was actually a pleasant little Chinese place across the road from my parish church. One memorable day while studying St. Thomas Aquinas on a particular point, after praying at the little shrine to St. John Paul, I realized exactly what Thomas was doing. Emperor’s chicken never tasted so delicious as on that day.
When near the Vatican I used to have a different chicken dish, the roasted chicken at Da Roberto’s. I think it might have cost 7 or 9 euro, which is great on a student budget. There, as everywhere, it was obvious that food in Rome is really only an excuse for a good conversation. However, the chicken was good–although not as good as the “tram chicken” at Sant’Anselmo.
Rome is a place of talking. One morning I had run out of espresso at home and so was waiting for my first macchiato of the day at a little tourist bakery, but it was very slow in coming because the man who was making it was much more interested in arguing with another customer who was standing on the other side of me about something. Politics, I think it probably was. It was a loud and long conversation, and probably seemed even more so because of the wait for the coffee, which again tasted very good, once it came.
Knowing something juicy, some news, tastes very good in the mouth. Telling it seems for a moment to show power, knowledge, control. This is particularly true for us German-Irish Americans, for whom words, used sparsely, mean something definite, permanent, and enduring. It’s perhaps less important in cultures where language is a means of exploring ideas, not only expressing them.
All in all, I think something ought to be borne in mind: No leader will appreciate the suggestion that he has been manipulated. Besides being often untrue, and almost always concerning matters that are much more complicated than one thinks, it’s insulting and divisive.