I was surprised reading Ms. Hardesty’s article on European food (“My passion for food,” Sept. 13).
Apparently your critic didn’t understand what dining is about in Europe. If you want to get an idea about European food, you don’t order sashimi. In Europe, you forget about American coffee (especially if Italy is one of your destinations) and begin to familiarize yourself with espresso, so that when you get to Florence, even if you still won’t drink espresso, you may enjoy some other kind of coffee (there are so many types to choose from: strong, light, with milk or foam, served this or that way, in a cup or a glass etc.). In Monaco (and not only), you avoid “canned food” (!), and in Florence, if you order a steak, it has to be a Bisteca Fiorentina.
Lastly, “a starter, main course, and dessert with wine, coffee, and cookies” is by no means a “gigantic meal!” An appetizer and a first dish, a second dish with “contorno,” wine, dessert and coffee is what usually people eat in Italy when they dine out, without junk food snacking between meals, and with no butter and bread to start the meal.
Some of the places Ms. Hardesty visited have a tremendous tradition in food preparation. At the same time, food there is considered a major contributor to quality of life. While progress has been made in many places in the USA and for many societal groups, we are still on the steep part of the learning curve.
Please, next time you go to Europe, do your homework, and be a little adventurous with food.