by Melinda Gallo

Back to the mercato

I didn't really think that I missed the mercato (market) that much until I went yesterday. I've been so happy with Esselunga's delivery service that I haven't made the 10 minute walk to the mercato since the end of last year. I have absolutely no complaints about Esselunga, but I do miss the milling around the mercato and being tempted to buy everything that looks delicious.

I used to go to the mercato without having a real idea about what I was going to buy. I had my mental list of the basics, like latte (milk), lattuga (lettuce), and parmigiano (Parmesan cheese), but I didn't know what I was going to make for lunch or dinner until I went shopping at the mercato.

I first walked to see my two fruttivendoli (greengrocers). They seemed to not have noticed that I haven't been around in a while. I bought some mirtilli (blueberries) and pesche noci (nectarines) in the hopes of making a fruit cobbler.

I entered the building to see the brothers who sell formaggio (cheese). When the younger one saw me, he said, "Siamo stati sulla trasmissione "Chi l'ha visto?" per sapere se qualcuno ti ha vista." (We went on the TV show "Chi l'ha visto?" to see if anyone has seen you. It's a television show for missing people.) I didn't get to talk to them much, but I was happy to see them. I used to talk with them at least three times a week. I realize that I used to buy a lot of formaggio.

I went to the alimentari (grocery store) and bought a few things. I always stopped of there to buy dry pasta and panna acida (sour cream). The woman who works there is nice to me and always tells me about the new products she has. She showed me a new succo di frutta with mirtilli rossi americani (cranberries), so I bought it.

I purchased some olive verdi piccanti (spicy green olives) at the pasta place along with some fresh gnocchi to go with the gorgonzola cheese that I bought earlier.

I saw the young macellaio (butcher) across from the pasta place. When he saw me, he said, "Eh la...come stai?" (Hey, how are you?). We spoke while he was serving me. I wish I could buy all my meat from him as he's really sweet, but my old macelleria (butcher shop) has better meat. Simone and I argue about it a lot, but to me there's a huge difference. The other guy in the back at the macelleria yelled, "Hey, Miss America!" from the back. I waved at him, smiled, and said, "Ciao...come va?" (Hi...how are you?). He seemed to be in a good mood. Sometimes when I used to go, he'd barely say hello to me and today he was all smiles.

I had to toughen up before I went to my old macelleria around the corner. My favorite macellaio works only in the mornings and when I saw him last, he practically turned his nose at me. The problem with this macelleria is that the men who work there are a bit grumpy. When I tell anyone that I go there, they tell me that they're all di cattivo umore (in a foul mood).

I stood there, and one of the men recognized me and actually said hello to me with a smile. Unfortunately, he was helping someone, so I stood there to be waited on by another macellaio. The one who is usally always antipatico (unfriendly) to me just stood there and looked over at me. I looked at him, but he didn't want to help me. I didn't care: I would've rather have waited for the nicer guy to help me. A few minutes later, he came up to me and tilted his head up at me as a way to ask me what I want.

I told him what I wanted, and after he packaged it up for me, he'd say, "Basta?" (Is that it?). I kept responding, "No,...volevo anche..." (No, I'd also like...). I didn't look at him much. I was afraid that if he smiled his whole face would crack. When he gave me my change, I smiled at him and said, "Buona giornata! Arrivederci!" (Have a nice day! So long!). He mumbled something to me under his breath, but I couldn't hear him very well.

All in all, my trip to the mercato was fantastic. I came home and made gnocchi with pesto because for some reason my gorgonzola went missing. I have made a decision to go to the mercato at least once a week if I can. I admit that many of the products, like the fruit and meats are much better. But, you can't beat someone delivering food to your door. I guess I was just seduced by the convenient of shopping on-line.

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