December 2, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Pork emergency

By |2018-03-21T18:53:13+01:00February 10th, 2012|First Person|
It only sits in a spot near me for certain hours during the day.

y Italian is good enough now that I could easily figure out that porchetta had to be … pork. Plus, I could smell the truck a mile away, which is about how far it sits from my Spoleto flat. The problem is that it only sits in that spot for certain hours during the day and I had yet to figure those key hours.

My small European fridge was empty and while mulling over my hunger I remembered the truck. It was pouring rain but the sight and smell of the porchetta truck convinced me that fresh slices of pork were worth braving inclement weather.

Bundled from head to toe I spotted the woman and her truck from under my umbrella. She was halfway down the hill, pulling down her awning and closing up shop for the day. It was at that instant that I heard myself yelling momento per favore! Not only was I screaming, but also I was also suddenly running like an Italian soccer player.

Dear God: I was chasing a porchetta truck!

I should also mention that the hill I was running down in an effort to purchase a few kilos of pork is a skateboarder’s dream. As I screamed momento! I was picking up some unwanted momentum — emphasis on tum — and suddenly picking up a lot of it. This was not a pretty sight and it didn’t feel like it was going to end well either. The Italian umbrella I was holding was large enough to generate upward draft. (News at 11: American woman seen flying over Piazza Duomo with pig parts in purse.)

Funny how the mind can wander during a pork crisis: I imagined my dream-man Fabio finally appearing during this sad display of hunger gone mad. How, I wondered, would I explain chasing a porchetta truck? Would I tell him that this is what I did as a child in America when the Good Humor truck came around? Would that translate as acceptable as he called ambulance? Could I simply try to convince him that I’d taken up jogging in the rain as a way to lose unsightly American pounds?

Oh well, enough about him.

I was on a mission and Porky Pig my target.

I eked out one last breathless momento! as I finally reached the truck panting, pointing, and frothing at the mouth.

Roberta the Porchetta dealer seemed quite pleased with herself that a chubby elderly American woman had run after her truck like a mad dog with rabies. I immediately pulled out my rescue inhaler for my exercise induced asthma and tried dispelling the fact that I was in full-blown food frenzy.

Roberta was delightful — as are all the Spoletinos. She carved off mouthwatering pieces of prized pork belly while giving me her truck’s hours of operation for future “visits.” As a treat for my athletic efforts she threw in a few pieces of the body parts that Dr. Oz does not endorse but which I ate with great gusto. Her bounty was neatly wrapped in pink butcher paper and slipped carefully into my backpack for my return home, an uphill journey, yes, but a safer one.

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