Another turkey dinner rolls around, and all the leftovers remain in our fridge instead of finding their way home with the guest family members who have actual families, and bob has to fly off to Italy for 5 days for some academic meeting under duress, leaving ani all alone, so the remnants of the turkey breast get stored in the fridge for bob's return, requiring immediate action at reentry. Meanwhile ani gets the idea of turkey pot pie from a young colleague at work who had already gotten a full set of All Clad pots from his parents for Christmas (they asked him what he wanted, and he told them) and therefore whose taste could probably be trusted. Googling it came up with a recipe from Allrecipes.com which she then faithfully executed the night before bob's return.
Ani advised bob to reserve an emergency exit isle seat 22C in economy class on the Al Italia flight out of Newark to Rome. For more leg room in an increasingly cramped low budget traveling environment. But they wouldn't seal the deal until bob showed up to prove he was "man enough for the job", in the sense of the idiom and not literally in terms of sexual classification. Good advise, it was pretty roomy, especially since the flight was not full and no one was sitting between bob and the exit door. This was bob's first trip with Al Italia since his seven year personal strike against TWA for having old planes many years earlier when there still was a TWA, pretty stupid since TWA had a frequent flyer program and a whole lot of mileage went down the tubes. Al Italia did not. And all these years later was still using the same old outdated entertainment system.
The food in Pescara (Abruzzo, directly across Italy from Rome on the other coast) was pretty good during this late fall visit, bob's first since 1980. The leaves change color there too, even if you are not around to see them for decades. The food on Al Italia out of Newark had not exactly been impressive. bob had reserved a vegetarian meal, but got two mediocre rice dishes for the entree. Maybe the return trip would be different, departing from Italian soil where food seems to be better without trying.
As usual, something goes wrong. Some idiot in Barcelona wrongfully gave bob's earmarked seat 22C to another traveler on a connecting flight. Fiumicino guy pretends to see what he can do but of course there is nothing to do. bob rolls over and accepts an isle seat 11H against the front wall separating business class from the low class. Not so terrible. A little inconvenient since bob's big feet can't slip underneath the next seat which wasn't there. He sits down next to a woman of comparable age, no sign of acknowledgement, no smile. Okay, he can handle that. Begins reading the latest copy of The Nation, a progressive political magazine. Minding his own business. A few minutes later suddenly some man is asking bob if he might consider moving. The woman is smiling. "Ah, you're together." bob gets it immediately. The guy explains he had a business class seat upgrade but failed to get a companion upgrade once everyone was seated. One for his significant other. Seated next to me. So he was offering bob his seat to be with his lady in economy. 4A. Not an isle seat but why quibble. An offer bob could not refuse. Upgraded by love. How Italy. An unexpected bad thing unexpectedly turns into a good thing.
Part of the good thing was the food. bob's vegetarian meal got lost with the unofficial seat change. And the service up front was excellent. bob even abandon's his usual smart traveler alcohol avoidance for a classy red wine from Puglia. Catches a really cute Italian romance comedy on the outdated entertainment system.
So expectations were not high for this waiting turkey pot pie that had been preannounced and prebaked the evening before the flight, but a sufficient number of hours elapsed between the Italian lunch time on the flight and supper at home due to the 6 hour time difference, so being overfed was not a problem. However, this pot pie turned out to be amazingly tasty, in spite of its second act to haute Italian cuisine. Although a bit shallow compared to what one might have imagined beforehand, the flavor was right on, even in the leftover stage on successive days. Surely this will be the fate of more future turkeys in our kitchen.