by Melinda Gallo

Sundays are my favorite

Sunday is the day that I go to my in-laws' house for lunch. I usually get ready by gathering all the containers I received from the Sunday before that were filled with food so that I can return them to my suocera (mother-in-law). I leave the house around 12:30 p.m. and can never wait to get there.

When I arrive, I can smell the food the second I get into the stairway of their building. Today I could smell the pollo arrosto (roasted chicken).

I take off my jacket and shoes and leave them in Alessandro's old room. His mother has two pairs of slippers for me: one for the summer and one for the winter. I put on the winter ones and walk into the kitchen with my bag of containers.

We talk about our weeks and what has gone on. Even though we generally talk at least once during the week, we always have a lot to say to each other. Either its about what our plans are or about things we've both seen on the telegiornale (TV news).

With my suocero (father-in-law), we discuss the last partita (soccer match) that the Fiorentina played and which calciatori (soccer players) are going to be playing in the Sunday partita.

Alessandro doesn't get off of work until 2 p.m., so the three of us eat lunch without him. My suocera serves up the primo (first course), which is generally pasta and somehow I'm always the last one to finish. I'm not allowed to get up during the meal, so my suocera picks up my plate and then serves me the secondo (second course).

I eat a few pieces of the pollo, some patate arrosto (roasted potatoes), piselli (peas), and insalata (salad); however, no matter how much I eat, my suocera wants me to eat more. I know that there is always a dolce (dessert) afterwards, so I try to pace myself.

I try to refuse, but somehow more food always ends up on my plate. I finish whatever is there and then watch as my suocera takes my plate to the sink.

She then puts the fruit on the table and we each eat a piece. Today, she sliced up fragole (strawberries). I assumed that would be the end of the meal, but instead she pulled out a torta (cake) that she made earlier this morning.

Usually while we are eating our dolce, Alessandro comes in and his mom warms up the pasta for him. Alessandro's dad and I talk together with Alessandro while his mother cleans up the kitchen.

A little before 3 p.m., we head into the soggiorno (living room) where the TV is already on. We sit down to watch the partita and the doorbell rings. The neighbor from downstairs arrives and settles on the couch with us. Another friend of my suocero who lives in San Niccolò rings the doorbell and sits with us.

In the end, all five of us watch the partita while my suocera stays in the kitchen to watch something else on her small television set.

After the game, I go back to the kitchen to say goodbye to my suocera and she has already filled up a bag filled with food that I take home. As usual, she has included fruit and vegetables as well as fresh brodo that she made earlier.

Sunday is the day of the week that I feel as if I have a new mom who takes care of and spoils me. It's the day that I feel a part of a family that accepts me. And, it is the day when I feel as if my life is truly perfect because I get to spend it with my husband and my new family.

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