One of the aspects of daily living in Rome that we’ve been adjusting to is the art of grocery shopping. For yes, in fact, it is an art. First of all, there is no way to find out where groceries are located other than stumbling upon them as you walk in the city. Believe me, I know, because I vainly searched every platform possible to find out before we left for Rome. Sure, a few of the “chain supermarkets” will have some poorly designed and never-updated site, but those are not always within walking distance anyway. This has led to many little adventures in finding stores, discovering which ones carry which things, and most importantly, getting to know the proprietors.
Obviously, we didn’t come here to eat out every night, though that would be delicious. I’m afraid our budget is more designed to my experimentation in our funny little cucina here. Which means, we must grocery shop. The landlord kindly pointed out the two nearest alimentari, little groceries with the basics: fruit and veggies, pastas, a salumeria (our equivalent of a butcher but only with cured meats and lunch meats), cheese, a few dry goods, and various and sundry household items. We’ve gotten some really delicious salami, mortadella and different kinds of cheese at one, which is owned by two young brothers, Valentino and Erico. I totally offended them by asking for “il conto” the other day (the receipt, because Tom has to keep all of them to prove to his funders that he didn’t waste all his money on drink and gambling). He’d already printed it and put in under the change, but I didn’t see it, so then he wanted to make sure I knew he was “serious…..ehhh …. very professional!” Oops. Ugly American, right here.
The other alimentari is literally 2 minutes away, at the end of our little street, and has a better fruit and veggie section, but here, you must wait for one of the employees to select and bag your produce (there’s a sign up above in English commanding us not to touch!), and they watch you like a hawk. Not in a suspicious way, exactly, but it’s definitely a far cry from leisurely scanning the rows of produce at Giant or Trader Joe’s, and feeling for that perfectly ripe whatever. Add to that the fact that our Italian is still “coming along” so we don’t ask too many questions.
Another difference in grocery shopping here is that one must really go every day. I was a big fan of my once-a-week plan all the meals and marathon grocery shop experience. But here, everything is sold in very small quantities (e.g., I’ve never seen more than a half dozen eggs). Plus, the milk goes bad within 3 days, so…yeah. This is probably a good thing, because each time we go, we learn new quirks of the grocery scene and understand a little more than the last time. We have yet to find a place that sells a normal amount of meat for a normal price. We’ve concluded Italians eat all their meat as deli meat. I bought about a quarter pound of chicken breast for approximately $6 today. Crazy. The internet, naturally, has no record of butcher shops nearby, so we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled.
And now, the real meat (ha, ha…ok I’ll stop) of the post: pictures of the bambina. Did I mention she’s the hottest thing in the city? Turns heads left and right. It’s like these people never see babies. Plus, she IS ridiculously cute, even if no one can tell her gender. Last night, right around St. Peter’s where we were strolling, a gaggle of nuns passed us and one tiny one, and I mean like 4 ft. 3 inches tall, stopped and marveled at Lucy in Italian and then kissed her fist. So cute, and of course I didn’t capture it on camera. But here are some moments I did: