Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling book, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is about a Chicago librarian named Henry who is cursed with a rare genetic disorder that causes him to travel back into time. He often vanishes at a moments notice as his wife desperately tries to build a stable life together.
This dramatic fantasy, of course, does not parallel my life but I often feel like my husband could write a book that describes our travels in Italy based on its premise. The title would be: The Taste Traveler’s Husband with a plot summary that might read something like this; a Northwest Indiana teacher/consultant suffers from a gastronome gene disorder that causes her to be transported to Italy again and again. Over a 10 year period she travels 10,000 miles eating, cooking and shopping in Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria with her Italian family and friends as they introduce her to an Italy seldom seen where she discovers the historical and cultural traditions of Italian food and the pleasures of eating al tavola. She travels down Roman roads, past castles and Etruscans ruins, around alpine lakes with mountain vistas, visiting Renaissance chapels and Gothic cathedrals. As time passes it becomes more difficult to leave the Italy of her family and friends and she longs to bring Italy home. So she opens a on-line shop with artisan food products and handcrafted items based on her experiences (www.cosituttimarketplace.com).
Deciding to make this fantasy a realty took some doing with a shifting timeline and a journey that was somewhat unexpected. Of course my taste travels through time are on Swiss Air and although I would like them to be more frequent and arbitrary they tend to be confined to twice a year. Another difference between Henry and me is that my husband, Michael, isn’t left behind on these taste travels. He would have none of that.