Sunday, September 23, 2007

market daze

Bienvenue a Paris! Fresh out of the freeze of Iceland, I was thrilled to find myself at the tiniest of organic markets in Monparnasse on Saturday morning - armed with an Oaklandish tote bag and a desire for a fresh salad after days of eating travel food, I bought the first few things I saw for a salad - cucumber, pear-shaped tomotoes, long brilliant strings of haricort verts and of course, pre-roasted beets. Boring as it may look, it was the kind of market salad that can sustain a gal after eating several portions of fried fish in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (come on, I had to eat my last clam roll!)

My eyes lit up most today though when we visited the market closest to our short-term rental, referred to (in its covered version - it has open and covered each day) as 'remaining a colourful Arab and North Arican enclave closet to the Bastille' (Marche Beauvau). It was incredible in the sense of it being more crowded than Berkeley Bowl on a Saturday morning with the sellers hawking their vegetable wares. The best buy was an enormous celery root (pictured below) - as big as a canteloupe. I was in a constant negotiation - can I touch? Can I not touch? Does Liam need to order in French for me or can I handle, "une corgette, framboises et radis s'il vous plait" At which point, the seller spoke to me in English.

I am cooking on a two-burner stove top that sits on an 'oven.' This evening it conveniently cut the electricity in the entire apartment as I cooked both pasta and boiled the celery root at the same time. Thank god Liam had made friends with the upstairs neighbor and helped him put wires into a long tube to run from his kitchen to the basement (don't ask, don't tell) so that when the electricity went, we were able to borrow a flashlight and attempt to find the fuse box, which proceeded to keep blowing because the cooking unit was still plugged in. We have determined now that it is unsafe to run both burners at the same time. The apartment we're staying in is a fantastic apartment in all respects, except, I guess, the kitchen part. I am hoping to go on more culinary adventures this week - tried a saffron macaron today (tried a chevre but it fell to the ground before I could put my greedy mouth on it) and hope to do more in the coming days. I also hope to be less jet-lagged and back to my regular, funnier, happier self when we've been here more than two days, but wanted to share the market highlights from today.

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