12 Jul2006


Just a quick amusing post on the cheapest “street” meal we had on the entire European adventure… First thing you should know is that Marketman gets sugar lows…and when that happens, I need food instantly. Or I faint. No, I am not diabetic (yet), I have always just had this blood sugar issue since I was a kid. And now it seems my daughter has it too. At any rate, I have fainted in the midst of the Baguio Cathedral, at large stuffy markets, on tennis courts, in department stores, while riding the T (Mass Transit) in Boston, at a stress test in a doctor’s office, etc. My wife and daughter know that when I need food, I need food, and fast. So this brings us to Sunday morning, after hanging out at St. Peter’s to catch the Pope and being a bit hot, a bit dehydrated and definitely hungry. We decided to take a cab to the Trevi fountains so the Kid could see it before the crowds got there and after that we walked around but most of the shops were closed. I was starting to get the “sweats” and the next step would be “seeing stars” so we frantically started to look for a grocery or food stall that was open. We found a grocery, raced in and decided we might as well make this lunch so we hurriedly bought some cold cuts, a loaf of dubious sliced bread, some water and sodas and a bag of potato chips and paid about 8 Euro.

Back outdoors, we decided to continue walking until we found a bench or park and after 5-8 minutes this was obviously a futile goal in the heart of the shopping district that was almost all shut down on a Sunday morning. So we decided to just eat on the sidewalk and picked the cement ledge of a bank near a fairly busy intersection. We pulled out our cold cuts and made sandwiches and ate our lunch standing while all of these pedestrians (including a large tour group of Japanese folks) walked by. Large tourist buses would stop at the intersection and everyone was looking down at this scene on the bank ledge… Almost instantly, the three of us burst into uncontrolled giggles because the bread was so dry and the salami so chewy and we were battling with these ridiculous sandwiches, trying to appear nonchalant while eating standing in the middle of downtown Rome! My daughter was a little embarrassed that her parents were making her eat out of a plastic grocery bag, on the street (sidewalk, really), but thankfully, she took this in stride and with a good sense of humor. Let’s just say this is a scene that NONE of her grandmothers would have approved of. Well, at least now she is familiar with the entire spectrum of possible meals from eating on the street to linen tablecloths and sterling silver at a top restaurant. At any rate, it was a truly quick and pathetic meal that cured the sugar low. We made up for the frugal lunch with large servings of gelato just minutes later…



  1. NYCMama says:

    I am laughing because 6 years ago, my husband and I had the same plastic bag lunch in Rome, but we were lucky we got nicer bread plus delicious fruit. After this adventure, I got into the habit of checking out groceries anywhere I go. And I am quite relieved to find someone else with my “sugar low” affliction. As a child, my sibs used to tease me that I was “possessed” cause I always fainted in church! I hope you found this gelato place near Fontana di Trevi, which I vote for best gelato in Rome: Il Gelato di San Crispino (Via della Panetteria 54, Piazza di Trevi. They are so snooty that they do not use cones ever, only cups. I would walk 18 hours a day in Rome, just so I could have my late night dessert at this place every night.

    Jul 12, 2006 | 11:38 pm


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  3. Chris says:

    I think this proves that sometimes, it’s not what you eat but with whom you eat that makes the experience. Although this meal was probably one of the worst you’ve had, I’m sure this experience will be the stuff of family stories for years to come.

    Jul 13, 2006 | 12:46 am

  4. Marketman says:

    NYCMama, we didn’t find Il Gelato di San Crispino near the Trevi, but we did have a branch 50 meters from our apartment in the burbs…so yes, you have inadvertedly predicted one of my next ice cream posts coming up soon!

    Jul 13, 2006 | 6:12 am

  5. ntgerald says:

    I thought I was weird because whenever I am in serious need of food, wala ako pakialam…and I have fainted presumably from hypoglycemia as well ( I am not diabetic).

    During a nationwide conference that I chaired several months ago in a very prestigious hotel I got mad and swore because dinner had not been served yet at 8 PM, lol…I told the waiters, “if you don’t serve food hora mismo, I will not pay you for the three day conference!”.

    Jul 13, 2006 | 6:47 am

  6. Marketman says:

    If I am in a low blood sugar mode I go deathly quiet until I get food. I think it is my body’s response to cut all use of energy until it is replenished. At fancy dinner parties where food is served late, I have to eat before hand or I don’t participate much in pre-dinner conversation…heehee.

    Jul 13, 2006 | 7:39 am

  7. Wilson Cariaga says:

    i think you have hypoglycemia MM. . .

    Jul 13, 2006 | 9:01 am

  8. skymermaid says:

    my dad and i are both hypoglycemic too. we both become faint and have tremors.

    i have developed an SOP when i am hungry at parties and they are not serving until much later. if it is at a private residence and i know the hosts very well, i go to the kitchen and ask the maids to feed me. if it is in a restaurant, i go to the bar and order a sugary shake. of course i drink it discreetly and pay for it. i feel bastos about it sometimes but better that than fainting!

    Jul 13, 2006 | 12:30 pm

  9. joey says:

    Marketman, I think Wilson is right. It could be hypoglycemia. My dad and all his brothers have it…and I think I may have it too. The exact same things as you are describing happen to me also. A little candy helps…execpt I really don’t like hard candy at all. My dad carries little packets of sugar around but I can’t bring myself to do that.

    Jul 13, 2006 | 4:15 pm

  10. Mandy says:

    teehee, when i’m hypoglycemic, i get cranky! feed me then my mood gets better. :)

    but the kid getting slightly embarrassed eating by the sidewalk–she’s very cowboy! :) imagine me and my sibs–same place, in rome, with my dad who is so kuripot, insists on bringing baon for snacking, etc. and will not pay for a coke in can (even from the grocery). he thnks that a 2liter bottle is more cost-efficient. kaya, hala, that 2liter bottle is what he totes in his backpack!! together with some plastic cups!! lordy!

    Jul 14, 2006 | 12:06 am

  11. purplegirl says:

    ah, and what is this with hypoglycemia — my entire family is the same way (mom, dad, brother, sister). but unlike fainting, we get so irritable (apart from being clammy, of course).

    one of our must-do when in Rome is the no-frills gelato stand inside the Stazione di Roma Termini (Termini Station). cheap yet extremely good. a hidden treasure indeed. we’ve had to go back several times even if it’s always out of the way.

    Jul 14, 2006 | 10:37 pm


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