by Melinda Gallo

A mad dash to the mercato

Medicine or no medicine, I think colds just have to take their course. And, it doesn't help that I stay up until 2-3AM reading every night either. Although I have finished a few more books! I looked in the fridge at 1PM today and noticed that I had nothing for lunch. We didn't get up until after 11AM and were just starting to get hungry.

I took a quick shower, got dressed, and ran out the door as I wrapped my wool scarf around me. It was already 1:30PM and the mercato (market) at Sant'Ambrogio closes at 2PM. It's only a few blocks form our house, so I knew I could make it in time before it closed; however, the outside vendors begin to pack up at about 1PM.

As I got there, my regular ortolana (green grocer) was getting ready to leave. I asked her, "Hai ancora qualche lattuga?" (Do you have some lettuce?) "No, le abbiamo giÓ portate via," (We already took them away) she told me. She asked the ortolano next to her stand if he had any and he sold me two.

I didn't like being passed on like that, so I decided to get my other vegetables at another stand. I picked another stand across from where I usually go. A petite redhead woman said, "Mi dica." (Tell me) as she smiled up at me. "Vorrei due cetrioli e i pomodorini." (I'd like two cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.)

I left her stand and went inside the building to get meat. As I walked up to the butcher's counter and my maccelaio (butcher) walked away. A young girl was standing in the back, but didn't move. I left because I still had a few more things to buy at the other alimentari. I came back and my maccelaio was there so I bought a chicken. I decided after he asked me what I'd like that I'd make some chicken dumpling soup for Dave and me.

I realized that to make the chicken broth, I needed a few more things from the ortolana. When she saw me, she said, "Cose ti sei dimenticata?" (What did you forget?) I told her, "Voglio fare il brodo e ho bisogno di carote e cipolle" (I want to make broth and I need carrots and onions). "Non potevi dimenticare...sei tornata per rivedere me!" (You couldn't have forgotten...you came back to see me!). "Anche," (Also) I responded with a smile.

As she handed my vegetables, she said, "Non dimenticare niente. Grazie, ciao!" (Don't forget anything. Thanks, bye!) And I responded, "Grazie a te...ciao!" I rushed home and tried to walk as much in the sun as possible. Finally, it wasn't too cold out, but the sun didn't warm me up quite enough.

I handed off my groceries to Dave when I walked in the house and sat back down. Shopping in such a hurry is exhausting. I'll have to go back on Saturday since I didn't get to buy everything I needed for the weekend, but hopefully I'll feel better and also not get up so late!

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