From strange foods and scary fruit vendors to Vatican pin-up photos, here are the souvenirs I did not buy in Italy.
Cinnamon, a former coworker of mine, started making dolls over two years ago. She works out of her Bronx one-bedroom at night, after coming home from her full-time graphic design job.
A few months before she left New York, my friend Audrey started experimenting with menu-delivery services. For about $60 per week, companies like Blue Apron and Plated will drop off ingredients for multiple dinners for two people; each ice-packed box contains recipe cards, plastic-encased protein and vegetables, and mini-bottles of seasonings like marjoram to miso. Cooking from these "dinner kits" largely replaced our regular restaurant outings—once or twice a week, Audrey would invite me over or bring her ingredients to my kitchen, I'd buy a bottle of wine or dessert, and we'd cook, drink, eat and talk.
There were large, sweating bottles of beer that had been replenished several times over the course of two hours. I dropped the zeroes, divided by three, double-checked the trickier-than-it-should-be conversion of baht to dollars and—it was still $65.