[Much thanks for reader Delphine Chevalier at Chez Mlle Delphine who suggested the earth-shattering idea that I should start numbering my letters...but if you are the creepy, thirsty guy she warded off, stay AWAY from her house!]
The previous sets of letters are #1, #2, #3, and #4.
Dear Cheaper Italian Espresso Pot:
When I purchased you in Rome as a literal last-minute impulse last April, I had no idea how well you would work. I never imagined that your no-name, no-brand status would actually function better than the Bialetti Espresso Maker I encountered before you. Early this week, I discovered that not only do you boil coffee faster, you also bring out the aromatic flavors more than your pricey cousin.
Had I known you had existed, I would have easily skipped purchasing the Bialetti pot and gotten 3 of you instead.
Dear Bialetti Espresso Maker:
No offense, old pal. I still like you, but you really haven't proven yourself to be worth the money I paid for you. I still remember the joy I felt when I first saw you in Italy. I had gone on vacation to the boot-shaped peninsula with a friend and had made it a personal goal to buy an authentic Italian espresso maker during my once-in-a-lifetime stay. This goal was inspired by my memories of my family once owning an Italian espresso maker that lasted for nearly 10 years. I was fed up with using the low-quality "Made in China" varieties and just wanted something that would last a little longer. I figured that because I was in Italy, I would be provided with an endless stream of espresso makers.
Boy, was I wrong. I first spent two days scouring Venice visiting the tourist essentials and I only managed to find ONE store that sold kitchen equipment; it was closed. Then, when my friend and I went to Rome, I miraculously found a shop that specialized in only Italian goods. There, I found a coffee pot and bought it with full confidence that it would be a bona fide 100% Italian product (I even asked the shopkeeper if the espresso maker was of Italian origin and he assured me that it was). I walked out of the shop, shopping bag proudly clutched in hand.
I then checked its packaging. Next to an image of the Union Jack, I read the words "Made in China."
Made in China.
Not Italy. CHINA.
I simply refused to leave Italy with a Chinese espresso maker.
It promptly went back to the store where I informed the respectable-looking elderly Italian shopkeeper that what he had sold me was not Italian. I won't forget that moment: his eyes bulged dangerously in his withered face, vein throbbing upon the temple. He turned to his co-worker and then, while viciously strangling the foreigner, started yelling in the Romance language I do not speak. I could only grasp that he was just as scandalized as I was that the coffee pot in his 100% Italian product store did not meet his required qualifications.
I promptly received his apologies and was given a full refund.
So Bialetti, you can understand how, after this ordeal, you became a long-lost hope in my eyes the moment I saw you. It was my last full day in the Italian capital and I simply needed to seize the desperate opportunity. Despite your hefty price, I bought you.
It wasn't until I was checking out of the hotel-campsite which I had stayed in for 3 days the following morning that I saw your much cheaper cousin. I decided to buy him too because I could not bear the insult of having scoured two espresso-makerless Italian cities only to notice on my last moment that it existed.
On top of that, once I returned to Dijon, I soon found a shop that sold coffee and tea items. There, in the display window, I saw one of your siblings. And he was cheaper than you.
How insulting is it to find that the same Italian espresso maker is cheaper in France than in its native Italy?
So, again, my friend, I have nothing against you. We share great memories together, but you just don't work as well as my other coffee maker. I'm not being an ingrate. I just honestly feel ripped off.
Dear Half-Pound:Thank you for finally going away from my body after stagnantly lingering for over two weeks. I can now officially claim that I have lost a total of 20 pounds. You have truly frustrated me for two weeks. Please don't ever come back.
Barb the French Bean