When did grocery shopping get so complicated? I remember the days when I’d go to one store, pick up everything that was on my list, come home...realize I had forgotten a few items...add them to my list for next week and put everything away while the kids helped and snacked on all the best goods.
Now it goes more like this: drive to the store but while the rapini looks pretty good, the peppers and eggplants are disappointing. Too mushy. Hmmm...what to do? Buy the rapini and a few other things. Drive to another store for some firm and amazing peppers only to discover the eggplants are musha-musha over there too. What is going on? It’s January that's what. Soooo…it’s on to store number three for the melanzane while nursing a headache. If they’re not primo over there, I’m not buying them this week which gets me thinking about being Italian, or European, or just a Foodie who is so particular about veggies that are firm and flawless you’d think I was shopping for diamonds.
And so, another list comes to mind as I drive home. I'm on a roll now so instead of cooking dinner, I focus on my list of You know You're Italian when and take my last emergency-backup lasagna out of the freezer for tonight's dinner. Must make a couple of backup replacements for the freezer this weekend! You never know when the next emergency will strike. So here goes.
You know you're Italian (or a Foodie) when...
1. The size of the cantina might stop you from buying a house.
2. Family members check out the cantina before you sign the papers.
3. The brand of tomato paste you buy can be an issue.
4. Whether or not you buy tomato paste at all can be an issue.
5. You’ve had countless conversations about which pasta doesn’t stick when you cook it (with or without oil... another cause for discussion), how many packages of meat are left in the freezer, and how much money to put in the envelope.
6. Someone in your family works in the food business. No worries. If they work in contracting or hairdressing, they’ll know someone in the food business.
7. You can have your hands on a Pizzelle Iron in one or two phone calls.
8. Picnic is another way to say Family Reunion.
9. You’ve driven up to an hour to pick up cheese, meat or porchetta.
10. You’ve gone as a group.
11. You’ve done this more than once.
12. You’ll do it again.
13. At least one person you know owns a 40-year-old stove that sparkles like it just came off the assembly line.
14. You recall hearing “Quanto arriviamo a casa facciamo i conti” of days gone by and know it has nothing to do with math. Your parents most likely said it to you after you ate more than your fair share of cannoli at Zia’s house.
15. When you visit your parents or aunts and uncles, you sit at the table, even though it’s not lunch time. It’s not dinner time either. But there's food on the table.
16. Summer camp involved dusting and vacuuming the house for your mom or cleaning out the garage. Then you made pizza or biscotti. Or both.
17. Your parents’ idea of downsizing is giving away only one of their pasta machines.
18. Your parents’ freezer is packed to the brim with food even though they’re empty nesters. They never know when they"ll have to feed a crowd at a moment's notice.
19. Your kids started peeling garlic to help with dinner when they were three.
20. Going to the grocery store for eggplants only to find them mushy all over town can drive you more than a little crazy. But you know you'll do it again.
Enjoy your grocery shopping this week. May the first store you visit stock everything to perfection so you don't have resort to your emergency back-up plan. I can't wait to see the Farmer's Market again this summer. How about you?