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By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
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VIDEO | How to shop and cook like a local in Rome

Learn how to shop for groceries and cook a simple dish like a local in Rome. (Video: Monica Rodman/The Washington Post, Photo: Matteo Bastinelli/The Washington Post)

Cooking while traveling not only can help your budget, but it’s also a great way to learn more about the local food culture. So if you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do — or in this case, as By The Way City Guide writer and Roman local Erica Firpo does.

Erica’s “favorite meal of all time” is “saltimbocca alla Romana,” a simple dish made of veal, prosciutto and sage, cooked in butter and white wine.

“It reminds me of every Sunday at my parents’ and my grandparents’ house. We’d always have saltimbocca, ” Firpo says.

Firpo guides us through her neighborhood’s outdoor market, procuring fresh sage leaves, prosciutto and veal. She lives near Campo de’ Fiori, a large piazza in the neighborhood of Regola that transforms into a market during the day. While the market is a popular site for tourists, there is still an undercurrent community of locals in which everyone knows everyone — the butcher, the baker and the cappuccino maker.

“The key to a Roman market, in my opinion, it’s all about relationships. It’s the people. And it’s how they talk to you and how you talk to them,” Firpo says.

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