That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Green Onions at the Market

One thing I love about living in Italy is going to the market. The people, there, know me by name and often greet me with a familiar Ciao and 2 syllable diminutive of my first name, which is a common custom among friends in Rome. 

The service is what one would associate with an idyllic small town market of olden days. At the fruit and vegetable stands, clerks serve you hand and foot, taking the time to place each and every one of your purchases into brown paper bags.

It's similar to a well run produce section in an American supermarket. Everything is fresh and clean, there's a large array of items to choose from ... the difference is that you basically have someone following you around, making suggestions, guiding you to the better, riper, juicier pickings and then taking what you've chosen and, if need be, removing excess or unwanted leaves, stalks and ends. And the prices can't compare to lesser products you'd find in the supermercati where many items (carrots, oranges, celery, potatoes, onions) are prepackaged in bulk. 

Meat is fresh. Do you want a beef shoulder roast? The friendly butcher will walk into the freezer, pull out an entire section of beef hanging on a meat hook and then cut it out for you right there, on the spot. Would you like him to expertly string it using a packer's knot? Sure thing, and he'll even add a sprig of herbs. Do you need 325 grams of ground chicken and pork? You got it. If you'd like to make hamburgers, he'll shape them into perfect little circles for you, one by one with the help of a patty shaper. I love the market.

When I first arrived in Italy and the novelty was replaced by cravings for familiarity and the comforts of home, I was always on the lookout for anything that reminded me of my mom's cooking, that is, Korean food. One of the ingredients that is used in many dishes is  (pa), the green onion. So one day, what did I see, but a beautiful display of long green stalks with little round white onions attached at the end. Lovely. I asked the greengrocer for 2 bundles. I would make a side dish of spicy carrots, cucumbers and green onions to accompany a dish of rice and Korean barbecued beef. Oh, the joy! The greengrocer, always ready and willing to serve, chose two bundles and then he reached for what I thought was a brown paper bag. Instead, pulling his hand from under the counter, I could see that he was brandishing a very large, very sharp knife and before my brain had time to conjure up even one possible reason that a knife would be necessary at this time whoosh! went the knife. He placed the white onion bulbs onto the scale to be weighed and on the ground, by his feet, lay 1/3 of what was supposed to be my Korean side dish. I was too dazed and confused to express any grievances and besides, my Italian vocabulary was still quite limited. So, instead, I paid for 12 little white onions and went home to ask Mr. Marito, in my not-so eloquent Italian, why anyone would throw away the best part of cipolline verde. But Mr. Marito, having been raised as an only child where food was already set when he came to the table and the plates whisked away when he'd finished, didn't know what a green onion was. 

Eventually, as my Italian vocabulary expanded and my rapport with the greengrocer more cultivated, I was able to explain to him that it was the green of the green onion that interested me. I remember him asking me, "Oh? Is that part edible?" haha Oh, you Italian person you. Even my late mother-in-law began to use it in her cooking. Her green onion frittata was mouth watering delizioso

at the supermarket, many perfectly good green onion stalks are torn off
 and thrown into the trash bin before weighing 

On the Bright Side

°while it's still common to use only the small white onion, more and more Italians seem to be learning the joys of eating the green stalks, as well

°the greengrocer and I had a good laugh reminiscing about my first time buying green onions at his stall

°Mr. Uometto learned to make a mean green onion omelette from his Nonna

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