Back To My View From Paris!

September 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sunset from my kitchen, Paris, 75011

Is it terrible to admit that as I was arriving back in Paris from Warsaw, late last night, around midnight, the city initially struck me as somewhat drab, cloudy, dinghy? Happily, I think my tiredness was affecting my vision and perception because this morning I went out to my neighborhood marché, which I think is one of the very best the city has to offer, and I was very quickly reminded of how much I love Paris, and how other cities, regardless of what they might have to offer, never quite match up.

The market was overflowing with so many items that had not been there two weeks ago. Mushrooms, oh all the beautiful different earthy mushrooms. Even truffles! Poland is known for her mushrooms but the dried varieties I excitedly bought just a couple of days ago will definitely stay in their plastic as long as Paris is brimming with the bounty of fresh picked mushrooms, including several varieties I have never seen in the states before. What else did I see? Oysters, glowing shiny beautiful oysters! Giant artichoke globes. Apples. Figs. Cabbage. Cheese. Bread. Rabbit. Roast chicken. Horse (ack!). Oh and a giant cooler full of carp, alive, swimming about. That is very Polish actually and is something that I know my grandmothers and beyond used to buy. I would give anything to be able to watch over their shoulders as they made gefilte fish, dried fish, and whatever else they would do with those beasts.

They oysters were definitely new this week. I would love to buy some but I feel intimidated. Would I eat them raw? By myself? How would I open them? Which type to select? Maybe next time. Today I mainly looked, strolled and looked. I bought vegetables and fruit and, one half of one of the big pink and white crabs with thick giant pincers that I have noticed Parisians snatching up over the past few weeks. Unprepared to buy a whole one and cook it (i.e. kill it) myself, I was thrilled to notice a man buying pre-cooked crabs from one vendor, cut in half. Perfect! So I bought one half and while I did not have the proper utensils (or knowledge) to nicely extract every last bit of sweet meat, I think I did a pretty good job. And it was absolutely delicious. Fresh, soft, white, it melted in my mouth and if there are more next market, I will buy another half for sure. With fresh cauliflower, it made an amazing lunch.

Much as I would love to think and write about food all day, to wander from market to market, looking, smelling, asking questions, seeing what others are buying, what I mostly need to do today is organize my research from Warsaw. The trip was overall productive and I was able to do some very good brainstorming. Now I just need to translate all of that into a bit of writing before my next research trip in a couple of weeks. Until then, at least I know that I will be eating well. Thank you Paris.

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