Everywhere I go in the world I drag my family to the local market, be it Greece, Reunion Island, Costa Rica, France, Italy, or home. Markets say a lot about local culture and its people and are great at showcasing the wonders that nature is willing to share with us.
The dancing fragrances of fruits pull you towards a stall, the vibrant purples and reds of vegetables to another, whilst the vendors’ calls try to entice you to buy their local product.
I love them all (the markets, not the vendors…) and only lament at the fact that sometimes, I cannot buy this or that because I am not on a self catering holiday.
In France it is different because I stay with my parents where I can cook the food that is on offer. Going to the fish market in the local town with my dad is one of the highlights of the holidays for me. I love perusing over the vast array of fish and shellfish displayed on wide worktops covered in ice, from the ugly fellows that are the monkish or the head of a shark fished that night, to the coral coloured langoustines and iridescent blue mackerels; all gleaming with freshness. Isn’t that full of promise of satisfied taste buds?
Equally, walking along the market street where peaches, apricots and cherries are piled high, fills me with as much anticipation of good things to come. The crunchy pink radishes are only waiting for a little dip of salt and the new carrots for a squeeze of lemon; without mentioning the ripe strawberries winking at me, desperate for a marriage with a juicy peach.
The only problem is restrain – I cannot buy everything in one go, because I could not eat everything at once. So starts the process of going up and down the street, weighing, smelling and looking at what looks the freshest, most local and best value. Mind you, at the end of the day, I always end up picking the produce that makes my mouth salivate the most.
Because market produce is at its freshest, its tastiest and its best, I try not to mess about too much with it. It is not about many cooking processes or stewing. It is about taking the time to appreciate each fruit, veg or fish for its own flavour. It is about the pleasure of marrying one simple ingredient with another so each sings that little bit higher whilst staying in perfect harmony with the other.
It is about going back to basics.
Very appropriate I think to start the second year of monthly themes on lemenupaleo – yes a whole year. Happy birthday and bon appétit.