Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Super Target, Italian Style

We have a farmer's market in our front yard. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

This morning, we decided to take the boys to the park around the corner before doing anything else. This proved immensely helpful in tempering the 2-year-old's tantrums, and allowed Christina to become the fancy of a young, Peruvian Justin Bieber who was escorting his little sister. After some swing time and a quick tank up on cornetti (pastries) and cappucini (obvious), we dusted powdered sugar off our slimming hips and made our way into the open-air market where we've come to do most of our daily grocery shopping.

Oh, I almost forgot, we also ducked into the Italian equivalent of Dollar Tree in search of canvas storage bins (fail), where Joey immediately became enamored of an 15 Euro (about $23) plastic shopping cart. Being at the point in my endless supply of motherly patience where any outing with him has become a near occasion of sin, I happily slid my plastic for what turned out to be thee best purchase we've made in Rome, so far.

'I effing love you, Mommy'
He was oh so helpful, and I say that in all honesty. He wheeled through the market place, causing swooning Italian grannies to clasp their fluttering hearts in ecstasy while he blew kisses (I kid you not) and yelled 'ciao, ciao!' to each and every proprietor of every stall on the mall.

The market is set up like kind of a flea market, with each stall selling a different product or type of product. The stalls on the very end of the row seem to change their content daily, but there are a few dedicated spots for the butchers, the fishmonger (really?), the bakers and the fruit and veggie vendors. It sounds magical, because it is. But, but...everyone is smoking. Like, smoking over your cut of meat, smoking as they slice your (amazing!stupendous!) cheese off the wheel, smoking as they bend to tousle your child's blonde hair. So, there's that. Cultural difference for sure.

I don't mind a good puff every now and then, but call me Mother Prudence as I hesitate to light up in front of my children. Nevertheless, I've gotten many a stink-eye for trotting my wee ones out in freezing rain with only hooded coats on (no mittens! no scarves! no leg-warmers!) ... only to realize the affronted Italian mama/grandmama glaring at me was clutching a Camel in her leather-gloved fingers, the other hand pushing her stroller.


Back to grocery day. We're hosting a kind of housewarming party tonight, and our extensive guest list includes Dave's co-worker and his wife and child, and an older gentleman and his, um, lady friend? (we're not quite sure) who has befriended us after renting us our first apartment when we arrived. His name is Giuseppe (of course it is), and he has been like a surrogate father/grandfather figure to us. He has helped us with everything from negotiating the parameters of our lease contract to moving into our new apartment to finding bedsheets. Oh, and he lives on a farm outside of Rome and presses his own olive oil. Can't make this stuff up.

So, party for 8. Per Sig. Giuseppe's request, I am making 'American ahmburgers' because he loves them, in addition to strawberry and spinach salad, twice-baked potatoes, and tomato and basil bruschetta. Plus some fabulous Roman white wine, and gelato for dessert.

For this, I did 90% of the shopping at our lovely market, and I spent about 45 Euro, which is around $60, I think. Not bad for dinner for 8!

Some evidence of our efforts:
The whole haul.

Sunflower Market was cleaner, but their strawberries never tasted this good.

I love cheese.

breakfast of champions

vino, acete balsamico, and acqua frizzante
My trusty front-kick. Nothing more fun than a 9-month old infant who won't be put down.
I can't imagine why people stare when we go out in public...

I'd love to tell you aaaaall about a couple other fun adventures we've had this week, but I have to step outside and smoke or drink something, while the dynamic duo continue their satanic pterodactyl imitation contest from the comforts of their cages.

Parenting toddlers is not for the faint of heart or the abstinent from alcohol, I tell you.

And don't forget to cast your e-ballot for yours truly. It would be truly Sheenazing to win. 


  1. I just want to say that you look fabulous!

  2. You look so beautiful! Italy agrees with you, even if you don't always agree with it. Love the shopping cart, perhaps he and Tia can do the shopping from now on. :)

  3. Oh, J! I'm so happy to hear about your adventures. I hope you're finding some Italian black beans!!

  4. You look wonderful, you apartment looks great, and the food looks amazing!

  5. Omigosh I just started salivating over that cheese...and just the idea of Italian Wine!! It looks marvellous-I'm sure dinner is going to be great!

    And I've always said, people who don't appreciate wine have never parented toddlers.

  6. In so many ways I am jealous, and in so many ways I am in awe that you're doing this!

    Also, I think it should be illegal to be pregnant and not be able to drink. Just saying.

  7. you look great, jenny! it is fun to read about your adventures! i am glad you guys are getting settled in. it is so weird to think that you are so far away. i was going to call you and ask if you wanted to meet up at the museum this week... :( give your little occasions of sin a hug for us, and give dave a little pat on the head. :) God bless you guys - you are constantly in our prayers!

  8. This post makes me miss Italian grocery shopping (although I always had mini panic attacks when I didn't have correct change and knew they'd yell at me), mostly because it makes me Italian food. Fresh, wonderful food. Mmm, mm.

    You look fantastic, and I hope you're savoring every minute of the chance to eat gelato and cornetti without gaining weight. How I miss walking everywhere!

  9. Great post, Jenny! You look beautiful, and the picture of Joey is my favorite!!!

  10. Look at your place! Look at your hotness! Look at that food? can I come visit?

  11. Just read most of this post aloud to my husband. Love it!


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