Remember how Pippin wails, “But what about second breakfast?” at Aragorn in Lord of The Rings? That line’s our new in-joke about italian cappuccino.
Okay, so it’s not particularly novel to note how things are smaller in Europe than the States – our divergent cultures respectively regard Smart Cars and Hummer H2s as normal, non-comedic commuter transport. Swap continents, though, and either vehicle would draw stares — probably been the case since classic Cinquecentos and Caddies first rolled the streets.
So: the car thing is obvious, but it’s the pervasiveness of this sizing switcheroo that’s so striking: everything here, from shower stalls to soda cans, feels of skewed scale or diminished heft.
And what was that about Italian cappuccino?
Coming from a country where the ‘Thirsty-Two Ouncer’ was long ago deprecated to a mere ‘medium’ versus a ‘large’ 64-oz. pail of carbonated beverage, a nation where the words ‘super’ and ‘size’ are not only combined, but even conjugated in an imperative verb form, and where a zillion Starbuckses huck percolated joe in ’Venti’-ounce units… I can’t help but feel my heart sink a bit, every time i’m served my Morning Cup here.
This is better coffee, for sure, and it’s better milk, no doubt, but it’s just so damn… dainty. I’ve seen Java Jackets double the diameter of the cappuccino china here. I’m not getting my fix.
Yet I’m told you can’t order two. It’s bad manners, against the rules, something only silly stranieri would do. Like ordering a capp after 11am.
Hence the Tolkien line. Our solution is the hobbit-inspired ‘Second Breakfast’, quite cunning and conniving: we’re two-timing our local cappuccino bars.
We’ll have a cappuccio at the bar closest to home, happily trading morning ’buongiornos’ all around, quaffing our coffee, and then stealthily slip around the corner, where we repeat the pantomime, down to the last drop. Topping off the tank.
Is this gluttonous? Yeah, probably. But, then again, one doesn’t get to drink Italian coffee every day of their lives…