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Give Me that Old-Time Profession! (5)


  This is the fifth in a series. Here is the first one—including the general introduction to the series.








The coffee vendor.
See this link for a separate item about the history of coffee and coffee bars. I have never seen an actual coffee vendor walking about the streets. The closest you come to that these days is to call your order over to the local coffee bar; someone will bring it over to you a few minutes later. It's usually cold by the time it gets out of the machine, onto the tray, across the street, into your building, up the stairs and to your office, but who says progress comes without a price?


The "vaccaro."
Literally, "cowboy." It's the common Italian term for those who handle these animals in the not-so-wide-open spaces of Italy. It's more like "cow hand" in English, since "cowboy" is now associated with six-shooters. In any event, the "cowboy" in this drawing is engaged in the very peaceful profession of selling fresh milk; in the days before motorized vehicular traffic, you could still see this even in the city. My mother-in-law (born in 1905) told me once that she remembered them and even claims she saw sheep grazing on our street once upon a time.





The corn vendor.  Unlike some places in Europe, which regard corn (usually known in Europe by the native-American word "maize") as unfit for human consumption, roasted ears of corn are a delicacy in Naples and are still sold on the streets. The terminology can cause confusion, though not in Italian. The term "corn" in British English means "grain", and there was some bad feeling generated after WW2 when the US shipped tons of maize to starving civilians in war-ravaged Germany (filling a request for "corn" from a relief organization that thought it was ordering wheat).






The Bagpipe player/puppeteer
. I have never seen this one, although I have seen a few "one-man bands" that come close, but never one manipulating puppets in this manner. I have also never seen a bagpipe player except at Christmas. (Here is a separate item on that instrument and tradition.)




to main index              Links to part 1   part 2   part 3   part 4   part 6