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To Market, To Market

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One of the great (and obvious) things about renting an apartment while traveling is the availability of a kitchen. It allows you to take control of your culinary destiny, and also act like a local. Take yesterday for example. Upon arriving, I knew I’d need to make a trip out for food, but what I forgot was how different the experience would be.

In high school French class, I remember learning the words “boulangerie” (bread bakery), “poissonerie” (fish monger), “boucher” (butcher), “fromagerie” (cheese shop), “patisserie” (sweets bakery), and “marche aux legumes et fruits” (vegetable and fruit market). These are all independent entities in France. It seemed so silly at the time–to think that someone would gallivant down the street stopping into each of these different places to purchase their food items. Why wouldn’t they just go to Ralphs or something?

The truth is, while it may be a bit more time-consuming to shop this way, it’s really quite charming and enjoyable, and the food seems to be fresher. The shops are all tiny, and in some cases, have standing room only, but that’s all you need as you pop in for a baguette, a bag of potatoes, or a portion of brie. It also means they don’t have enough back-stock to compensate should something nuclear occur, hence, the farm to market phenomenon, whereby the farm ends up on your table and the prices remain affordable. Sure, they have “supermarkets” here, but it’s a loose translation and they more closely resemble a 7-11, in my opinion. Charming? Hardly. In fact, normal “supermarkets” are not allowed in the 20 arrondisements at all. Charming? Indeed.

My shopping trip yesterday resulted in a dinner of carmelized onions and brussel sprouts with potatoes, a sautéed breast of chicken, sliced tomato salad, and a glass of rosé. If I had to estimate, I’d say the entire dinner (including wine) set me back about €5 (just shy of $7). Stopping into the markets was fun, and I was also able to practice my French. Schlepping the bags up the vertical stairs in Montmartre in the rain, well, that’s another story. 

The fruits of my labor…simple and delicious. My kind of meal, indeed.

One response »

  1. To buy a fat hen…been on the cobblestone uphill stroll carrying lots of stuff, it's epic, but my girl can do it!!! Wish I was there, your day sounded amazing. Love you


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