Monday, November 5, 2012

Florence shouldn't look like Minnesota

I have a friend who once said to me that every time she used one of those emoticons or a texting shortcut spelling that a little piece of her soul died. Today I was walking in the historical  center and walked by a new Subway restaurant. I had to look again to be sure I was seeing right (sadly I was) and I swear a little piece of my becoming Italian soul died.

I've accepted the McDonald' was here before I was. I was saddened to hear that the Hard Rock Cafe was going to open; I was dismayed to discover a Burger King conveniently open across from the train station and on the same block as McDonald's. Seeing the familiar Subway sign on a street that should only be lined with local restaurants and businesses just broke a little piece of my heart.

I don't know if I'm angry with Florence for allowing these restaurants to open, or if I'm just abysmally disappointed that American companies are exporting businesses who's crowing glory isn't that their food is outstanding; their only redeeming quality is that their food is predictable and bland. It isn't enough that they've spread their homogenized version of American cuisine to the four corners of North America, oh no.

Now you can take a vacation and never leave home, so to speak. You can have your Big Mac in any big city in nearly every country on the planet. The same probably goes for the Whopper. I'm sure Starbucks has their own plan to replace the beautiful culture and flavor of coffee here by sticking a store smack between the McDonald's and Burger King and conveniently located at the transportation center of the city so that every traveler finds something familiar as soon as they arrive and never has to venture out and try something new.

I will now step off my soap box and make myself the most intensely Italian meal I can think of. It won't make the fast food industry close those stores, but it might make me feel better. At least till I see the next American export and marvel at the absurdity of it all.

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