Long Live Müller (or anything that tastes like it)
While studying in Italy this past summer it quickly became apparent that going out to eat was not going to be option for me (because salads in Italy are actually pretty bland and I go sick of tomatoes and mozzarella). Pizza, pasta, bread, and pretty much everything that anyone on the trip wanted to eat was out of the question for me because I…I have a disease. Just kidding. Sorry. Celiac joke. Anyway, the “food routine” became this (since we were usually not somewhere that I could cook myself food): go sit in the restaurant with my friends, feel embarrassed because Americans are SO loud and everyone notices it, order a drink, watch my friends eat, and then find the closest supermarket and get (depending on the day/meal) peanuts, chocolate, fruit, and, most importantly, YOGURT. Yogurt is one of my favorite Italian memories. I seriously had about three a day. My friends and I cleared out the shelves at Il Centro of Müller yogurt all the time. And as we traveled yogurt was one of the only things that we could find consistently from city to city, so it was a quick staple. Well, the morning we left from Rome I went to the market in the bottom of the train station and I bought all the yogurt that would fit in my purse. The taste of those yogurts has lingered on my tongue for months now. Two weeks ago I ate my first yogurt since returning from Italy. It was rough. It’s just not the same. And I am sad about it.
Luckily for me, however, the tables turned yesterday afternoon. My friend’s Mom has been telling me for a while, “Missy, have you tried Kefir? It’s a gluten-free yogurt drink and it is so good.” Well, I knew she didn’t understand the attachment disorder that developed when I left Italy, so I didn’t bother telling her that I hadn’t eaten yogurt in almost a year. I kept hearing about “Kefir”, but I ignored any mention of it because I was NOT going to eat yogurt. It was just too hard. Anyway, yesterday I took my Mom grocery shopping so that she would have food for me to eat at the house, and while we were standing in the produce section I suddenly thought of “kefir" and I ran over by the yogurts. I looked for a minute and realized they had one flavor—vanilla. “I liked vanilla yogurt in Italy,” I thought (even though I have never liked vanilla anywhere else), and I grabbed the bottle of yogurt and went back to my Mom. She asked what it was and I said matter-of-factly, “kefir”, and she stopped asking questions. I had to go pick up Natalie from school and I still had the groceries in my car. I grabbed the bottle and looked at it very skeptically. I opened it, smelled it, and took a tiny sip. Um…OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO GOOD! My taste buds were happy for the first time in a year! The tangy vanilla flavor was bouncing all over my tongue and I could smell the open-air markets and see Antonio, my leather-selling Italian dreamboat running toward me with open arms. I tilted my head back and chugged this blessed drink for at least ten seconds. For a moment I was sure I was sitting in the living room of 85* Tabani in Florence staring down at the commotion in the restaurant below my apartment and wishing just a little bit that we were allowed to actually hang out with the Italians that asked us to do something with them every night. I thought I could hear the dog barking in the apartment below and smell the potent odor of alcohol that drifted out of that apartment every night…but then I realized that I was sitting in front of Salt Lake High School East and my little sister who is trying out for the cheer squad in a few weeks was walking toward me. So I tipped my head back and drank more kefir. It made me feel better. (But I was happy to see Natalie, too).
Posted by Missy Johnson