MONTEROSSO, ITALY - This week a famous American bride, on honeymoon in the Cinque Terre, almost didn't stay in Italy with her new husband.
The famous woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, happily flew to Italy not knowing one word of Italian, with the exception of "dove si trova la toilette" (where is the bathroom?).
At the couple's first Italian meal in the hotel restaurant, the wife was perplexed when faced with a menu printed only in Italian. Her husband, who assumed he knew more Italian than she did, offered to peruse the menu for something she would enjoy eating - a chicken dish, perhaps?
The bride, confident her husband had her best interests at heart, allowed him to order the chicken dish he had selected on her behalf. She then waited in anticipation since she was ravenous and hadn't eaten all day.
The bride was thrilled to be in such a lovely restaurant with her brand new husband. She admired the surroundings, then noticed the couple at the next table, whose table was extremely close as is the custom in Italy, were obviously Italian. They were speaking to each other in Italian, ordered in Italian, and were very well-dressed, as most Italians are.
When the food finally arrived, the waiter placed a lovely plate of perfectly cooked white fish before her husband. Then, with a flourish, the waiter placed a large steaming bowl in front of the wife.
To the dismay of both wife and husband, the bowl contained not some delectable Italian chicken dish, but rather a swarm of carefully prepared baby octopi, with heads and tentacles intact, swimming in an unidentified sauce.
The Italian couple, sitting about a foot away from them, glanced over and nodded in approval at her wonderful choice, which made her situation that much more difficult. How could she offend the Italian people, who were so obviously proud of this local seafood speciality, by not eating it, which was her first and only inclination?
Grimacing at her husband, she then decided she had better eat some of this dish, as she was famished. She began to cut up the octupi into bite sized pieces, as he, in turn, started to eat his deliciously prepared white fish.
Taking a bite, she could barely chew, as tiny tentacles clung to her tongue and the sides of her mouth. Grabbing a glass of water, she washed them down as best she could and almost gagged.
"Eat up!" said her husband gaily. That was the moment she almost decided to book a flight home on the next plane, without her new husband.
But romantic feelings won out over hateful menu choice made by new husband. She remained in Italy with him, and is currently having the time of her life. She has, however, made a vow to learn Italian.