Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The $30 can of tuna fish

So, yesterday, I spent the day at the lovely beach near the Isola Bella at Taormina. Here's a picture.
Yes, it's gorgeous, I swam in the (freezing cold) crystal-clear water, hung out on the beach and stepped on a sea urchin. It was great.
Then I went to get dinner and shop in Taormina, and happened on the Boutique Del Tonno (Tuna Boutique). I was fascinated. How could there possibly be an entire store, much less a boutique, dedicated to the most mundane of fish? I went inside.
The first thing that the salesman did when I entered was offer me free wine and liquor. How is it that a tuna store should also have a wine tasting, you ask? Well, let's find out.
After a glass of muscat and another of meloncello, I started answering the salesmans's questions about my family. How many people are we, do we like tuna (my mother eats a tuna sandwich almost every day for lunch, which is why I thought to go to the Boutique in the first place, thinking of a petrified tuna or something similar as a souvenir), do we eat it in sandwiches or salads?
I also heard the entire history of the rich and storied tradition of Sicilian tuna fishing, and after this wonderful conversation, the salesman showed me a very nice-looking and gigantic can of tuna fish.
"Your entire family can eat for weeks on this thing!" he said.
Wow, I thought, that is pretty cool.
"It's a great deal," he assured me. "Your mom will love it."
"Do you think so?" I asked.
"Absolutely," he said. "By the way, you speak italian very well."
And so it came to be that I have both a €25 can of tuna and a hangover this morning. Thank you, Sicily.

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