People see the outdoor markets in Paris and think that everyone does their shopping there. But if you work a 9-to-5 jobs, or whatever hours normal people work (ie: not me), it’s hard to take a few hours off to go leisurely pick out your fruits and vegetables – not including the time waiting in line behind madame, selecting the two figs she is buying as if they were royal bijoux, trying to muster a chuckle at the same joke you’ve heard a gazillion times, when you ask to buy “Five lemons,” and they respond – “5 kilos, monsieur?” – which was mildly amusing – perhaps once, but I’m pretty sure no one buys 11 pounds of lemons at the market. And catching up and chatting with my favorite vendors, as I like I do. Especially the sausage dude. #schwing
In spite of the time it takes to do your shopping, going to the outdoor market in Paris is something that’s very pleasurable for me. I take a good stroll around first, looking at everything before I make my decision. But I do have certain stallholders that I favor for certain things (including sausages), and I often tell visitors: Shop at the same vendors and places over and over again, because once they recognize you, you’ll be treated better. Ditto for going to restaurants and cafés.
One thing isn’t well-represented in Parisian markets are leafy cooking greens. Spinach and giant leaves of Swiss chard tend to be the predominate choices. When I was recently in the states, even in nondescript supermarkets, I saw bunches of kale, mustard, turnip and beet greens, collards, chard, and spinach piled up high in the produce department.
And in Brooklyn, due to the large Italian-American population, there’s broccolini, too, a broccoli hybrid with less bulky stems, and lots more texture and flavor. I love it and even the dumpiest pizza joint in Brooklyn would often have a pizza with wilted broccolini on it. It was tempting to order, instead of my usual pepperoni slice. But I managed to find ways to get broccolini into my diet without sacrificing a single wedge of pie with those crisp disks of spicy sausage baked on top.