The mysterious drink “tè“
After days of emergency admission to a hospital in Milan, I still didn’t know what my illness was, and by the time I was transported to the hospital, my liver and kidneys were already inflamed and swollen, and if I hadn’t come to the hospital even a little later, I would have been in serious danger.
It’s frightening to think that she would have stayed at home in her bed for a long time if she hadn’t called an ambulance at that time.
And, as always, the only thing I look forward to in hospital is “food”.
Yesterday morning, after getting coffee from Italian grandmother, I waited for my “breakfast” to be the only thing I could hope to live for, but even then, it was never delivered to me. And I didn’t know if it was part of the cure or if they were simply forgotten about my breakfast, so I decided to wait for it anyway, not knowing if it would even come today.
Then I heard a familiar sound of a cart running down the hallway, so I picked myself up and waited when yesterday’s grandmother arrived again. She smiled again and said, “Vorresti caffè o tè?” and showed me a paper cup.
I couldn’t help but think, “I knew it”, as the events of yesterday unfolded in exactly the same way, and I couldn’t help but notice the “o tè” that followed the caffè.
Then the grandmother took two paper cups, one in each hand, raised her arm high, said “caffè” and shook the cup in her right hand, then “tè” and showed her the cup in her left hand, this time waving it.
It was here that I first learned that this morning’s customary drink time by the Italian grandmother was a two-choice system.
Basically, I am more curious and adventurous than anyone else, and I couldn’t help but notice a mysterious drink called “tè” that was different from the coffee I ordered yesterday, so I tried “tè”. The grandmother gave me a warm look as if she were making tea for her grandchildren and slowly poured the rumored “tè” into a small paper cup and handed me a steaming cup of it.
Looking into the cup, the mysterious drink is dark barley tea brown in color, and when you get close to your nose, it smells slightly gorgeous. Yes, this mysterious “tè” means tea.
The mystery drink “Te” incident that had been in the labyrinth was now safely solved, and grandma put powdered sugar, a small plastic spoon and a paper napkin on my table again and disappeared to the next hospital room with a smile on her face. And today, my breakfast was never delivered to me again.
Grandma’s love and bribery
One morning, after ordering tea as usual, I asked her if she had my breakfast. And showed her a gesture like eating something.
Then my grandmother said “Non, non!” and waved her index finger and suddenly began to speak flaky Italian. and then she waved her index finger and suddenly began to speak Italian flippantly. I wondered what kind of Italian she was saying after “Non, non” I didn’t know what her Italian followed, but I understood the sad news of “no breakfast” for now.
When I lived in Italy afterwards, I found out that Italy does not have a culture of “three meals a day” like Japan, but rather just a cup of coffee such as espresso or cappuccino and a small, sweet pastry in the morning.
I guess many people will worry “Is so little enough?” But there is a reason why Italian breakfast is light, and that reason is Italian dinner.
In Italy, an aperitivo (happy hour) is usually held in the evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., where you can enjoy it with a drink and snacks at bars and pubs. Many bars and taverns offer all-you-can-eat snacks for just one drink, with prices ranging from €8 to €15.
However, this is only the time for an aperitivo, and the dinner begins afterwards. After that, dinner, which usually starts relatively late in the evening, such as 8:30 or 9:00 p.m., is often accompanied by a good wine and another heavy meal, such as pasta, pizza, meat dishes, or seafood, which is often enjoyed in a lively and slow manner with good friends and family, and is a great way to enjoy the day’s meals. As Italy relies heavily on evening meals, it’s natural to have a light breakfast.
For me, “food” was the only thing I looked forward to during my stay in the hospital, the Italian “no breakfast culture” was harder than I expected, and Italian grandmother, who couldn’t bear to look at me in shock, took something out of her apron pocket and handed it to me secretly.
She came up to me and said, “Don’t tell anyone about this!” And held up his index finger in front of his mouth and then smiled once while gently stroking my head, saying “Signorina,” and quietly left the room.
I looked at what she handed me and saw that it was a little strawberry jam, like the kind that comes with a loaf of bread. She took pity on the young me, who was too hungry, and shared the jam with me without telling anyone.
At that time, the hospital did not serve any sweet foods other than fruit as hospital food, and for me, who could not receive any food at the visit, the sweet jam boiled down with white sugar was the best reward. And from then on, the happiest moment of my hospital stay was when I would secretly open the lid, sip the jam with my fingers, and eat it without anyone knowing.
Thus, I became very close to this Italian grandmother over “tea” and “strawberry jam”, and she became my good friend and she is always like my real relative. Every day since then, she has treated me like a real grandchild, always holding my cold hands and feet to warm them, sometimes cupping my face in her hands, and at the end of the day, she always gave me a small piece of fruit jam without telling me.
At first, I was given only one jam, but through the loving arrangement of her, it soon grew to two, and I got into the new habit of eating one in the morning, hiding under the covers of my bed so that no one would see it, and the other in the middle of the night when I was hungry and sneaky.
The story of the first time in my life I thought I was going to die in Milan, Italy (All Vol. 08)
Vol.07 Hospital Food Diary in Italy