My guess is that you have a routine when you go to the grocery store. Back in Vermont my system was to head left into the frozen stuff and detergents, then through the cookie aisle and all the boxed stuff that piled up in my cart, and last but not least, the fruit and veggie section. There I would run into friends that were just starting their shopping. It seems that turning right was a more normal approach.
My need for a shopping routine has followed me here to France. Especially at the farmer’s markets.
|Look closely. Tom is there on the left.|
Each market has it’s specific layout and strategy. Today I will take you on a tour of Brantome. Tom has his painting gear set up near the bridge, providing him a good view of the action. Meanwhile I plunge into the lively scene that he is capturing.
rantome’s market is shaped like an H. The Dronne river runs down the middle and the cross bar is formed by a bridge. I start on a long leg of the right hand side. (Leaving my leftward tendency back in Vermont.)
First stop is the lovely Nadege and her delicious pastries. Even though these fragile delights will be the last thing I put in my basket, I have to buy them first or else I will miss out on them. Nothing is sadder than anticipating a Nadege treat and having her pastry fridge be empty. After I hem and haw over what to choose today she very sweetly marks my box and puts it in a fridge for when I return on my way out of the market.
With my most important purchase done I can roam the stands and see what delights catch my eye. I seldom head to market with a prepared list. That would take the fun out of the hunt and the brain-twisitng food combinations that I have to scheme up as I spot what has newly arrived in season. What about those strawberries with fresh ginger over a duck breast? or new potatoes with chopped herbs and a little buttermilk from the Dutch vendor?
When friends come to visit they are dismayed at how I speed along. They want to look at each and every stand. I now know who is here with local or at least carefully selected fruits and vegetables and the other types of stands that are pretty much like heading into the grocery store. I also know that the ticky-tacky stands will still have all their ticky-tacky, fun stuff towards the end of the market, but the best food vendors will sell out of that just-so-perfect melon, tomato, spinach, fresh trout, sorrel or raspberries. Unlike my planned attack on Nadege and her pastries I can’t always predict where the food treasure will be and my search for that hidden treasure is more open-ended.
Today the menu will be simple. Fresh trout, sweet peas, some rice that I already have at home, a jewel like melon salad and of course the famous pastries that we have been waiting for since last Friday’s market.
There is always the temptation to stay along the river side and grab lunch with friends while Tom finishes up his work. The report from the bridge is that Tom has also thrown together some ingredients of the market and cooked up a lovely painting. Ahhh the routine of a Friday morning market.