The New Gastronome


A Food Story based in Italy

She was wiping down the groceries with alcohol. The boxes, the packaging, the plastic, and cartons, the fruit. All of it got a once over, if not more. It seemed like we were going through litres of pure alcohol a week, more in a month. Once, I mixed some into a martini, and even with a lemon twist it tasted of nothing. She spent the better part of two hours at the supermarket.


Me: when I go, it’s get in, get out, try not to touch much! 


Her: it was nice to see people.  


Tired of some things, but not so tired of others. It’s a mess, but also an invitation. To quietness? To loudness, sometimes, yes, to dance parties at home with new music you find on Radio Paradise. No ads, listener supported. 


She turned to me. 


Her: dinner? 


Me: mm hm. 


Her: I mean, what do you want? 


Me: something warm.


Spring, just giving us a little bit of a hint of what is to come. Heat. Warmth. Sun. Then, it gets too hot, and you long for the days when you can put on a sweater. Then, you long for the days you can wear shorts.




On the stove, she started a risotto. Standing there with the apron that is too large, chopping the onions with a spoon in her mouth because she says it prevents the onion tears. 


I could smell the hot oil across the room and hear the onion sizzle, the cascade of rice, the fizzle of the white being added. The radicchio was already chopped, a few specks of cheese, leftovers really, being thrown in for good measure. 


A.   D.    V.   E.   R.   T.   I.   S.   I.   N.   G.


We were out of “good wine”, so we drank white vino sfusi from the shop across town.


Her: it’s not great, but I’ll have another glass, please.  


The music was Christine and the Queens, London Grammar, The Cure. The dog slept on the sofa as if nothing in the world had changed. As if nothing was changing. 


As if. 


Later, after dinner: do you want some coffee?


Me: no. It’s late! 


Her: I just crave the taste. 


She made the smallest of the three moka pots. It took thirty seconds to percolate; the smell hit me, I wanted some, but also, no. 


We scrolled for half an hour through Netflix, but then she was asleep on the other end of the sofa.


The dog between us, me, on the other end, ready to watch something new. 


But I left it. There’s tomorrow, and the next days to watch. Who knows how long this will take.  


I brushed my teeth, washed and then smoothed the creams and oils and concoctions across my face out of vanity and then woke her up. 


Me: let’s go to bed.

The opinions expressed in the articles of this magazine do not necessarily represent the views of
The New Gastronome and The University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo.

About the author

Jesse Dart

He completed the Food Culture & Communication master's at the University of Gastronomic Sciences and works as an applied anthropologist and writer. He has written for Monocle, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Roads & Kingdoms, and many other publications.