Friday, January 14, 2011

To Market, to Market


Um, yeah... that's real.
There are few things more depressing than January in the frozen heart of New York City (except maybe February).  These days- when our broad Avenues transform into vicious wind tunnels strong enough to take down a grown man and his steaming Halal cart, and you have to pull on thigh-high Wellies just to navigate through the trenches of grimy, sludgy snow” and frozen piles of garbage, and the cold is so intense that you’d swear your brain was turning into an icy granita between your ears- it’s hard to remember you ever strolled down your block in short-shorts and flip-flops.

But perhaps the harshest reality to face is the desolate NW corner of Union Square.  The Greenmarket, whittled down now to only the bravest and scrappiest, the ones with nothing to lose: breads and pickles and things in jars.  In just a few short months, the market will once again be bursting with ripe produce still warm from the sun, but right now am I really supposed to satisfy myself by poking through bins of wrinkled potatoes and soft onions?
I miss my fruit and veg!  So, to get us all through these barest of months, I’ve put together these glamor shots of nature's finest dirt candy.  Wherever I travel I seem to find myself in the local market, checking out the unwrapped foodstuffs.  Every culture has its way of displaying its wares to best advantage, and there is never a shortage of tasty bites.   

Paris, France
Two summers back, my (now) husband PJ and I took a last-minute trip to France to visit friends of ours, Liz and Max.  Max, who grew up in Paris, led us on a food-lovers walking tour starting with an amazing market near the Cemetery in Montparnasse.  The sun shone brash and full the way it only can be on a Paris morning in late June, and the produce was spectacular. 

Fruits Rouges

Haricots Verts

Chantrelles Jaunes

Mmmm... makes me want a fruit tart real bad.

Later, we went to a posh market that was très cher.  The
pyramids of shiny exotic fruits from all over the world looked so good they might have been props.

New Delhi, India
A few years back, PJ and I braved the 15 hour flight to India to visit my parents.  Of all the wondrous sights, smells and sounds we experienced there, the INA market where my mother does her weekly shopping was by far our favorite place to explore.  Apparently, they still ask for him there.

    We were there in January which is a great season for produce in Delhi.  Every afternoon

my grandmother made flaky paratas showcasing a different vegetable we'd found at the

market.  Served piping hot with a spoon of cool yogurt and some mango pickle, vegetarianism

was never so deliciously easy.

Yes, these carrots are red!


I spent a lot of time shelling fresh peas, though they were so sweet and tasty I can't say how many actually made it to the bowl. 


Sure, I could go to a grocery store today and pick up some long green pods that look a lot like those peas, but you and I both know they wouldnt taste anything like what peas could be, what they should be.  At home or abroad, there's nothing like perusing the local farm stands with the warm sun on my back, sorting through crates of juicy, ruby-red tomatoes just begging for me to take them home and turn them into a chunky gazpacho.

But alas, for now this little piggy will have to get by on roast beets.



  1. Ah... unwrapped foodstuffs. Love it!

  2. I was just coming here to comment on that.