Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Readers write

A couple weeks back, quite a few readers wrote to me about one of my columns, so I thought it would be interesting to post some of their comments here.

The particular “Dish” they were referring to was written a few days after I’d gotten home from a trip to Italy. It was a plea mostly to Starbucks — as our main café option on the South Shore. I asked that they start offering small, low-cost, locally made, simple sandwiches with fresh ingredients — and to serve them on napkins (the way a donut or cookie can be offered) from platters without heavy-duty plastic packaging.

It was also a rallying call to everyone who cares to help us create a more beautiful everyday life experience for ourselves through simple local pleasures.

Most of the comments I got were from people who agreed with my sentiments, but one was from someone who thought I was such a pretentious snob that my editor should be fired for letting me go on about such trivia!

Here are some (slightly edited) excerpts from some of those who wrote in:??”I LOVE A PANINI TOO, but I like even better what you’re really saying here, which is that community is stronger when we can gather together casually and eat good stuff. Europe really does know how to do this in a way that the States hasn’t quite embraced fully. And the thing is, it’s not that difficult, like you illustrate with your homemade sandwiches. As you say, making our everyday lives better in even the smallest ways makes a big difference in our enjoyment of life in general. Thanks for pointing that out.”

“OMG. How pretentious is this woman? Poor thing…how difficult it must be for her to return to little ole USA after one of ‘her ten trips to Italy’. Pleeaasse, spare us all of your ‘troubles’. What a snob. Her editor should fired for allowing such a trivial matter to be printed….A Plea For A Good Panini? I think I’m going to be sick.” ?

“I didn’t get the snob… I got the love. It’s the joy, the taking time, the fresh stuff, the making it yourself….. It’s Slow Food, without the pretension of calling it that: It’s about pace, and food as part of the fabric of what we’re doing.”

“Ah yes, great memories of stopping in at Café Bonari in the heart of Paganico (Tuscany) — a sandwich with fresh, local bread, ham, gorgonzola, and arugula along with an outstanding cappuccino… take me back.”

“Yes, I too wish there were more cafes serving delicious paninis around here. It’s definitely harder for these smaller, lesser known places to compete with Starbucks… Even though I CAN think of some good sandwich places in the Boston area, I definitely prefer the culture in Europe of sitting outside at a cafe relaxing at lunch and enjoying a bite.”

“I think your article carries a lot of merit…. Europeans have the finesse to provide an environment whereby eating becomes an art and relaxation goes along with their plan….I abhor food placed in styrofoam or plastic containers. I am leaving for Europe next month and I fully anticipate enjoying my food in Italy, France & Switzerland so much more than here !!! They know how to do it right!!!!”

“I’m glad that you’re giving a plug to my dear ‘ol Starbucks. For all the bashing we hear about the corporate giants, I feel that they know how to do it right. They create a great balance of community and commerce, and I for one love them. Would I prefer to have a family-run shop on every corner, with cafe tables and chairs, umbrellas and waiters with aprons whisking in and out — sure. But until that happens, every time I step into a Starbucks I feel at home. Students feverishly studying, a couple on a “coffee date” and me. “Decaf Iced Grande Americano please…”??

“I just finished reading your article on the lack of good cafes here on the South Shore. I enjoyed it very much! I agree with you that we need a more European approach to our way of ‘dining.’?I do have a suggestion, though, regarding good cafes. While they are probably incorrect in labeling a single sandwich a ‘panini,’ I think you would like the offerings at Circe’s Grotto in North Scituate. All fresh ingredients and simply delicious…..Their gorgonzola is the best I’ve ever had!?I have dreamed of owning my own Italian pastry café in Scituate Harbor for many years. A place worthy of a walk down Hanover Street in the North End. A place to get an expertly made expresso (in real porcelain cups, of course) to enjoy with a homemade Italian pastry. I am a former cake decorator who had to change career paths, but hope to return to my first love of baking. Ah, someday….”?Good luck on your quest to find a little Rome/Venice in our neck of the woods!”