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Tycho / on Wed, Jun 4 2003 at 8:00 am

Carroto Machine

There is a sort of public market right when I leave the hotel called Campo Del Fiori, which literally translated means Campo of Something.  That’s not the point of the story.

I do not, generally speaking, have a high opinion of public markets.  Someone clearly must, because other people marketing publically, and I don’t dislike them enough to start a movement or something so it’s not a big deal.  The sort of market they have around my house can be accurately described as a sort of hippie gauntlet, where you are bufetted on all sides by odors and hacky sacks until you tell your wife you’re going home.

I tell Brenna that I would rather not attend it, if it’s all the same to her.  This means “go there immediately” through the bizarre prism she interprets my clear words, so she subjected me to it immediately.  It actually turned out sort of interesting, but I would appreciate it if that didn’t get back to her. 

It appears to be a haphazard jumble of canopies and vegetables, but there is an ecosystem that governs it.  Brenna bought spices, fruit, and something I can’t really describe from three separate booths, and each time she had to go to this sort of shifty character in the middle of them, all their areas were lashed to his.  I envisage him as a sort of Spice Lord whose word is law everwhere left of the meat guy.

I started to walk on my own to another part of the Campo or whatever, when a man shouted at me with a vigor that belied his advanced age.

“Carroto machine

I stopped and stared at him.

He raised his voice, this time approaching religious fervor.

Carroto Machine!”

Any man who can speak with such passion about a grater deserves my time, I’m sorry.  So, let’s see what this Carroto Machine of his can do.

If you must know, it isn’t much to look at.  It’s hardly a machine at all, it’s the kind of twisted metal you might find at the scene of an auto accident.  What compels him to rub, straining it against carrots, potatoes, or fish is a matter for philosophy to determine.  The state it leaves the grated object in is really quite hideous, I don’t know what you would do with the results.  I bought it so I could tell you this story, mainly. 

Oh, and get this.  Instead of the change he owed me, he gave me the most ineffectual juicer.  I bought an orange at the market and endeavored to manipulate it with “the best juicer ever,” and it didn’t juice for shit.  Let that be a lesson to you!  Never accept small pieces of plastic instead of actual money. 


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