Green Tomatoes and that Moustache

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog entry today as my day was initially going to quite ordinary, just cleaning out the log burner, walking the dogs and doing the weekly shop. So this morning I switched on the iPod as usual and the first song of the morning was, The Pretenders, One More Time as I made a coffee and let the dogs outside for their morning ablutions.

So my mundane day began with my cleaning out the log burner and replenishing the wood basket.  After breakfast with the dogs we took a stroll along the lane. My friend Michele is walking the opposite way with his dogs, so as we chat the dogs all sniff at each other and pass the time of day in their own way.

The most mundane of my tasks today is shopping, so I decide to get it done as quickly as possible, although I am aware that it’s Saturday morning and this means the queues at the tills will be very long and very slow: I know I should wait until lunchtime when the shop’s quiet but I need to buy some beef for a casserole I’m planning for dinner.

The supermarket is busy and a woman with a baby is causing problems in the fruit and veg section as people do their best to navigate their way around the enormous pram and mountain of baby things she is carrying with her. I grab some celery and carrots for soffrito; the base for many a good stew or casserole and spot my favourite thing of the moment. Green tomatoes.


I buy five of these monsters , two will go into the casserole and the remaining three will become. pomodori verdi sott’aceto, a lovely dinner accompaniment that has a nice sharp sourness. I first tried this at my favourite restaurant and Piero, the son of the owner gave me his mother’s recipe for the side dish. I would pass on the recipe but without his mother’s permission I dare not. You’ll find many versions on the internet if you want to have a go at this.


I’m dropping my produce into my trolley and look up and my breath catches in my throat, as I’m now face to face with an old man who’s sporting an odd moustache. In fact a moustache I’m not sure many people would choose to adorn the lower part of their face. The moustache in question can be explained by one word only. Hitler. I look at the 4 sq cm piece of facial hair once again and then move away, wondering if my flabber has been gasted?

Shopping can be as dull as plastering a wall with porridge so I grab what I need quickly and when I’m finished I make my way to the tills where there’s two long queues. On till number one there’s consternation as the woman with the baby gets her pram wedged between the till and the display of packet risotto and soups.

I’m queueing on till two and an old lady is in front of me, she turns to look what the commotion on the other till is, she watches as a staff member helps free the pram from the display, then the baby is exposed to her as the mother turns around to pay her bill. The old lady sucks in her cheeks and blows kisses to the baby who giggles; or it could have been wind.

The old lady then leans over the till display and waves at the baby and grins as widely as she can, just at this point a catastrophe occurs, her top set of dentures drop out of her mouth and land on the conveyor belt of till number one.

There’s a snigger, but no one laughs. We all want to. We squirm and shift. Faces redden as we hold our composure.

I drive home and Grace Jones sings, Nightclubbing as I put away the dog food, and safe behind closed doors I can have a private chuckle as I think that maybe today was anything but mundane.

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