by Melinda Gallo

Celebrating Independence Day

I haven't been in the US for at least three years to celebrate Independence Day. I always associate this festa (holiday) with having friends and family over for a barbecue, so when my friend Sarah proposed that we have a party, I thought it would be a great idea. The only problem was that because it's not festa here in Italy, our American friends were mostly busy, so we ended up cancelling our barbecue.

To celebrate, Sarah proposed that we go to Rose's Caf in via del Parione for lunch. She told me that they make great hamburgers. The idea appealed to me since I haven't eaten one in at least a year.

Her Scottish friend Luisa arrived after me, and we got a table for us. It's usually quite busy at lunch, so we were fortunate to get a table right in front so Sarah could see us when she arrived with her baby.

When Sarah arrived, she put an American flag on her belt and walked into the restaurant. A few of the other patrons looked at us, and we had to explain to them in Italian, " festa negli Stati Uniti oggi... la festa dell'indipendenza." (It's a holiday in the US today...it's Independence Day.)

When she sat down, Luisa handed us US flag stickers and Sarah put two on her shirt. Luisa told the couple next to us, "Non sempre cos. solo oggi che diventa un po' nazionalista." (She's not always like this. It's only today she becomes a little nationalist.)

We each ordered the same thing, "Un hamburger, le patatine fritte e una Coca." (A hamburger, fries, and a Coke.) I ordered a Coca Light (Diet Coke), but I haven't drank one in many, many years.

The hamburgers were quite large, but we finished them off quite easily along with the patatine fritte. I was impressed to see many Italians eating the same thing as it's such an American dish. If I would've come any other day, I probably would've ordered an insalata (salad) because I saw how good they looked.

The cameriere (waiter) brought us stuzzicadenti (toothpicks) to put on our hamburgers with an American flag on them. Luisa told him, "Non sono americana." (I'm not American.) And, he responded, " uguale." (It's the same.) "Ma che uguale...non mica uguale." (What do you mean the same...it's not the same," I told him. He just smiled and walked off. Luisa took the stuzzicadenti out of her hamburger and gave it to Sarah.

The only Italian touch to our lunch was our caff macchiati that we drank afterwards. Our meal was a true americanata (something usually only an American does), but we enjoyed it very much. It's nice, once in a while, to eat something typically American. Although it might be another year before I eat the same meal again.

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