Cranky Pants at the Mercato

After a late night out to catch a show by jazz musician, Avishai Cohen, at Paradiso Jazz in San Lazzaro di Savena, I find myself bleary-eyed and wandering the aisles of Carrefour, our local giant supermarket. There may have been a time when a post-midnight date, and a pre-7am rise would not have devastated my body systems, but I can’t think back that far. Nowadays, the next day of usual activities – running to school before 8am, doing errands, working, meetings, making food, chauffeuring to after school activities, dealing with homework/baths/dinner/bedtime – becomes a pure hell, traveled through in a state of mental and physical exhaustion that utterly negates whatever fun was had the night before. Hence, the precipitous decline in such frivolous behavior.

So, wondering why I bothered, but knowing that somehow it’s helpful to spend time alone with your significant other doing things together that you once thoroughly enjoyed, I am dragging myself through this Walmart-sized place starting with the produce section, which is enormous, and full of lovely things. However, it involves donning this ill-fitting fashion accessory:


No doubt a remanent rule of Mussolini-era fascism, you’re not allowed to touch anything without it. Sure, I could ignore the regulations but who wants to risk the scorn of the nonna in the tangerine aisle, who will not hesitate to tell me how unhygienic I’m being, maybe even hiss “schifosa” (revolting) at me?

Another thing that makes this the most time-consuming and tedious part of the food shopping experience is this infernal machine…


and the Italian custom of having to mentally record the “tasto” number of each thing you choose, get to a scale, enter said number and weigh each item separately. When you have to do this with 10-15 items, it’s kinda painful. (I know, I know, first world problem, but I’m cranky!) Not only this, you’re also obliged to place each item, no matter how big or small, in a plastic bag. Feeling guilty about all the plastic in the world, as any good first world-er generally does, I’ve tried to get away with not bagging some things, only to have an annoyed check out lady scold me and send me running back to produce. Have these folks somehow missed the news about that giant island of plastic floating in the Pacific, or not tuned into the millions of recycling sermons out there? And don’t people wash this stuff when they get home anyway?

Since I know that this morning, it’s me and not them, I’ll finish up this post with some of my favorite parts of this store…

Beautiful veggies!



Wheels and wheels of parmigiano reggiano and grana padano!


Every kind of cured meat possible, including the giant piece in the front, pride of the region, mortadella, aka Bologna!



























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