ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Author and commentator Elizabeth Gilbert was sad, tired, and sapped of energy after her divorce. But unlike most folks, she was able to travel the world to restore her spirits. And she was able to write a book about it, a book called EAT, PRAY, LOVE.
Gilbert spent four months in three countries, Italy, India, and Indonesia, trying to restore her zest for life. Finding pleasure in sustenance in Italy may be a bit of a literary cliché, but that didn't stop Gilbert.
ELIZABETH GILBERT reporting:
For me, one of the worst features of post-divorce depression was how thoroughly it eradicated my ability to experience pleasure. Suddenly, everything looked and tasted like sawdust.
My hope then was that living in Italy for a while might jump-start those pleasure receptors again, and help return me to my own enthusiastic self. So, it seemed my prayers were being answered the day a Roman friend insisted that I had to take a trip to Naples to eat at the best pizzeria in all of Italy.
Giovanni passed along the name of this pizzeria with such seriousness, I almost felt I was being inducted into a secret society. He said, Please, Liz, order the margarita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you're in Naples, please, lie to me later, and tell me that you did.
So, I got on the train with my Swedish friend, Sophie, and a few hours later we were there. I instantly loved wild, raucous, noisy, dangerous Naples, and I loved those passionate Neapolitans who talk so loud and emphatically that it's like walking through a city of short order cooks. If you can't understand what they're actually saying, you can usually pick up the inference from the gesture.
Like that punk little grammar school girl on the back of her older cousin's motorbike, who flipped me the finger and a charming smile as she drove by, just to make me understand, Hey, no hard feelings lady, but I'm only seven and I can already tell you're a complete moron. We both know you would love to be me, but sorry, you can't. Enjoy your stay in Naples, and ciao.
So we found Pizzeria Domicele, and these pies we ordered made us lose our minds. I loved my pizza so much in fact, that I had come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me. Meanwhile, my Swedish friend was practically in tears over hers, begging me, Why do they even bother trying to make pizza in Stockholm? Why do we even bother eating food at all?
Disappearing into this gummy, yummy, chewy, cheesy fever, we shamelessly ordered another whole entire pizza pie each.
A word about my body, I gained weight every day in Italy. Of course. I took in such ghastly amounts of cheese, pasta, bread, wine, and chocolate there. I was on a no carb left behind tour. Still, when I looked at myself in the mirror of the best pizzeria in Naples, I saw a bright-eyed, clear-skinned, happy and healthy face. I hadn't seen a face like that on me since long before my divorce.
Thank you, I whispered. Then, Sophie and I ran out in the rain to look for pastries.
SIEGEL: Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE. She lives in Philadelphia.