We’re trucking across the southwest on our way to Austin and then home, but Andy still reminisces fondly about all the little things that made Italy and Spain so awesome….
It’s probably not news to you, but American coffee is kind of embarrassing. Sure, it’s got the drugs in it, which lord knows is the raison d’etre for a drink so absurdly involved to make, and generally pretty bitter to taste. But boy-o, the American version just doesn’t taste or smell the same as what you’ll find in the meanest Italian backwater. This is coming from someone who routinely asks people to smell milk for him and wouldn’t detect a gas leak until his apartment became a powder keg. And yeah, when it comes down to it, I’m sure I’ll reacclimate to American coffee pretty quickly [takes a sip, ruminates]… yeah, that’s delicious. But the coffee thing got me thinking about some of the other differences between road life in Italy and Spain, and in the States.
Whereas we have the Flying Js, the T&As, and the combination Pizza Hut n’ Taco Bells, etc., etc., Italy has the Autogrill. One company at every single roadside stop in the country, laying down the world standard for road food. You want an eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and tomato sandwich lightly grilled for less than $5? Done. How about some roast turkey in a white wine and pine nut sauce with a side of freshly made porcini mushroom tortellini? I’m not kidding. And that only begins to scratch the surface of what you can get at these places. Maybe you want a whole leg of prosciutto. I know I do. And for $60 plus a bribe at customs, I could probably be cradling one in my lap right now as I type. Speaking of pork…
On the road in Spain, you can get a plate of ham, bread, some mixed seafood ceviche, and a beer at 9am and no one will think you’re anything less than a perfectly sane foreigner. While Spanish roadside attractions lack the ridiculous quality and comprehensiveness of their Italian brethren, they do tend to make of up for it with their adherence to the national pastime: eating pigs. The Spanish are completely and utterly obsessed, and mostly oblivious to the extent of their obsession with pork. They have a popular chain market actually called El Museo De Jamon. It’s slightly alarming, but mostly just endearing how much they love it, and I joined in with all 32 teeth.
But now we’re back in the states, and as a shameless opportunistarian, I have already returned to eating mostly vegetable-matter, dairy, and fish. It was a fun food holiday, and we played some music.
(ps… In all sincerity, I would like to thank everyone in Spain and Italy who helped put on a show we played, saw us play, or bought some merch, everyone who prepared or served us food, turned down our myriad hotel rooms, and especially our road managers. We appreciated it all.)
(pps… I am aware that The Italian Truck Stop sounds like one of those weird hypothetical sex moves that people make up to gross one another out. If you know what that move entails, please send all correspondence to BillyB@jcbusmusic.com.)