Wednesday, June 29, 2016

To Pay or Not to Pay

by Kate Storms
In the United States, generosity is thought of as being generous with your friends. However, in Italy, being generous is something more powerful than sharing with your friends. Instead, generosity is to give to everyone, literally everyone. 

While sharing a meal with five other students, we were blessed to know the chef, because a student had met him earlier.. He proudly flaunted his talents by providing appetizers and the house bread, which he described as pizza with rosemary. (Additionally, it had sea salt and olive oil). After a delicious meal, the chef brought out six bottles. 

The bottles contained various alcohols including limoncello, a banana liquor, visciole (cherry desert wine), and a deep chocolate wine with peppers. With respectful care, the group of students excitedly tried each bottle. . Upon sampling the banana liquor, I had to ask where I could obtain some to share with my family. 

Instead of allowing me to purchase the wine or telling me where I could purchase it in town, the chef took a different course of action. He searched his inventory; deciding he was not satisfied with his choices, he went to the back, found a bottle, and washed it. Using a funnel, he poured the larger bottle of banana liquor into a newly cleaned bottle. The chef urged that I take the bottle at no cost to me. 

I graciously agreed to take the bottle. It felt wrong to take the bottle without paying, but it clearly would have been more wrong to insist on paying.