|The young helpful butcher as he was preparing our meat who easily understood when I asked him to cut the bacon thicker, stating “spesso, denso and grosso” all of which got the message across. Most deli meats and cheeses are cut paper thin in Italy with customers ordering small portions as compared to our 800 gram orders.|
|These peaches and nectarines were huge and all organic.|
Feel free to fast forward through the gentleman who’s talking in Italian, unless of course, you’ll be able to understand him. I’ve noticed in our blog stats that we’ve had hundreds of visitors from Italy reading our posts, many of whom will listen all the way through. These scenes are better than any shots we could have taken.
|Bagged vegetables are more expensive. The bulk, pick your own produce, require that the customer wear plastic disposable gloves, which are provided, prior to touching anything. Also, once placing the items in a plastic bag, I had to weigh each bag, selecting a matching photo of the item on a display screen which prints a price tag to be attached to the plastic bag. I’d planned to take a photo of the screen, but the work area was lined up with shoppers waiting for their turns. The prices are excellent, for example, the bag of 8 large organic tomatoes I purchased today was Euro $.78 which is US $1.03.|
This morning we took off for Pescia at 11:00 am, down the hairpin turns bouncing along in our “sold” Fiat rental car that they’ve (Budget Rental) yet to swap out with us for another car. At this point, we doubt that they’ll bother to swap it as the time nears for our returning it to Venice on September 1, 2013.
|More pre-wrapped produce that although more costly than the “pick your own” still was very affordable, as you can see from the prices here.|
A quiet weekend behind us, we were enthused to venture out enjoying the views along the way and to get groceries, change, and gas for the car. After today’s shopping trip, we’ll only need to grocery shop on one more occasion before leaving Boveglio. How the time has flown!
Grocery shopping in Pescia has been a pleasure for me with the freshest of ingredients, most of which are organic. There is less than a single aisle devoted to snacks, candy, cookies, and chips, basically junk foods.
A bakery, deli, and specialty meat and seafood area offer the finest products. It’s not easy to resist their made-on-site pastries and bread. I breeze by the bakery trying not to look.
Tom, on the other hand, could try some of the pastries without consequence (other than weight gain) but he too walks by without a glance. The only item I’ve seen him eyeball is the glazed doughnuts.
Not a typical Italian item, they are pricey at US $12.00 a dozen. “Mr. Frugal,” commented several weeks ago that there was “no way,” he’d spend $12.00 for a container of glazed doughnuts. Good. His pants will fit when we leave here.
The plan, as always, is to use any food products we have on hand with the intent of not being wasteful. Basic ingredients such as spices, oils, baking soda, etc will gladly be left behind for the next visitors, as has been the case when we’ve left with other properties we’d rented.
|The cheeses we are expensive, but well worth their prices. The rounds in the center on the right are a soft cheese, along the line of a Brie that I’ve enjoyed every night for dessert.|
It may seem odd to begin the process of ‘winding down” at this early date with almost four weeks to go. But, as we’ve indicated on numerous posts, we’re the king and queen of “planning ahead” leaving us with little stress at the end of our stay, other than loading our bags and ourselves into the car on the day we depart.
Shopping today was a good reminder of how much cooler it is in Boveglio than Pescia, which is 30 minutes down the mountains. With little interest in grocery shopping, Tom will read his book while waiting in the car.
|Here are some of the deli meats we’ve purchased. We’ve found the beef to be tough here, instead, eating mostly eating chicken, pork and fish. Notice the price on the rare roast beef on the right-center at Euro $34.90 which translates to US $46.31 per gram (less than a pound). We skipped that item!|
Not today. With the temperature over 100 degrees in Pescia, he found a place to sit outdoors in a shaded area in the parking lot for the over hour-long wait while I shopped in air-conditioned comfort. When the hour ended, he came inside to find me as always while together we finished in the deli and meat department.
Luckily, the butcher in the deli understood my translation for cutting the bacon “thick” as opposed to the manner in which they cut most deli meats, ultra-thin. As soon as I uttered “denso, spesso and grosso” he knew exactly what I meant. Meat is old in grams, not pounds. One pound of bacon is 453 grams. As I order each item, I explain how many grams I want. Typically, I ask for anywhere from 400 grams (.88 pounds) to 800 (1.76 pounds) grams.
|Any one of these cheeses is fabulous, a little pricey but worth it!|
Today, I ordered 800 grams of the thick-sliced bacon which I divide into several packages, keeping it frozen, taking it out only as needed. With no nitrates in their meats, bacon spoils in as little as three days. This morning as I was making breakfast, I took out a small package of the remaining frozen bacon, which defrosted in a matter of 5 minutes.
Learning to freeze and defrost foods quickly and safely has been a learning experience, something I always took for granted using a microwave since the 1970s.
|We’ve avoided these pre-made items, except for the delicious olive, many containing gluten, starch, sugar, and carbs, although many shoppers purchased a combination of these items to complete lunch or dinner.|
Many mornings we add Italian sausage to our breakfast, which is trickier to defrost. The easiest solution would seem to be defrosting it overnight in the refrigerator. This leads to spoilage when some mornings we don’t want sausage. If we’d defrosted the sausage we’d feel compelled to eat it. As an alternative, I also keep smaller portions of sausage in plastic bags in the freezer. (There are no Ziploc bags here, only the old fashioned hard to open bags on a roll with those green wire ties).
Taking out the small bags, I place the sausage in a skillet with a bit of water with a tight-fitting lid. In 8 minutes, the sausage is defrosted and I pour off the water, proceeding to cook the sausage in the same pan which results in nicely browned properly cooked sausage.
These extra steps take extra time and effort, but then again, what else do we have to do with our time other than to enjoy each meal as if it were our last? Who would have thought that a lifetime of cooking would change so radically in a country with different standards, many of which are better for one’s health?
Arriving back in Boveglio around 2:30 pm, we rushed to get the groceries indoors out of the heat and put away. When we returned the temperature in Boveglio was 95 degrees F (35 degrees C) with a little breeze. With no air conditioning, I would have been dreading spending the afternoon and evening in the heat.
But now, as we’ve become more resilient, seldom complaining, we marvel at how much we’ve adapted. In essence, it’s been life-changing going from an over-sized Subzero refrigerator with a separate ice machine to a tiny refrigerator, requiring frequent defrosting and the making of our own ice in tiny trays. This is one of a litany of the inconveniences to which we’ve adapted.
Surely, more such inconveniences will follow as we move from location to location, striving to learn, to accept, and to grow in the process. Although, today I’m having trouble adapting to the flies biting me which… I doubt will be less bothersome in Africa.