However, because the bakery would not open for another 2 days, the next day being a Sunday followed by a Feast Day... and I didn't want to stay in Purgatory for that long, I decided to call it quits and head back to the mainland.
What did I learn, then, from such an abortive trip? I think back to what the bus driver was saying, recall that he changed the bus route so that he could show me 'the best bakery on Ischia'. What I saw was a brand new building, done up with massive, yellow wheat sheaves in lit-up plastic. It looked like a fast-food drive-in, and it made me feel uneasy, this glowing monster could swallow anything.
I thought about Michael Pollan's introductory chapter in his book In Defense of Food: He supposes that we will be asking something like "Why should I listen to an American [Pollan] telling me [a European] how to eat, surely America's food culture is worse?". He answers that we should listen to warnings from America because they've already been through the worst. For us Europeans the worst is still to come, if we let it. He argues that Europe is not superior to America in eating more healthily, it is simply behind. We have yet to experience the realisation that novelty and ease should not exclusively guide us in our choice of foods. Pollan is keen to help us avoid that point of desperation that America reached, where skill and a sense of connection to, and responsibility for, oneself and one's neighbours become so lost that it would take a revolution to recover it. Around America, in pockets, a renaissance in traditional, 'Slow' food production is taking place. People are trying to get back to the holistic life that accompanied naturally-evolved ways of making food. Despite the long-term benefits of the holistic approach, it takes a level of commitment that condemns it to remaining (sic) simply a fad for most of us if there are other, more easily visible temptations in the way. I felt the truth of this very keenly on Ischia, where the bus driver's sentimental attachment to the good bread of his childhood was overruled by the draw of clean-cut, brightly-lit modernity.