Saturday, October 31, 2009


Time for another market post before I head into shopping hell to buy myself an early birthday present with money I don't really have: my CD player has blown up and I'm in the middle of writing an article for the Oxford American and have a new batch of Fresh Air pieces due soon, so I can't allow that to happen.

The markets are now filling up with root vegetables that I can't identify. One guy even had a single-purpose stand of black turnips, complete with brochures. They're apparently famous -- or he wants them to be. But there were other turnips, some things that looked like carrots only were a pale yellow color, spheres with purple on the top, and carrots that looked like mutants, although I'm holding out for the carottes parisiens I've seen on occasion, which are spherical. Why? Because they look cool. And before long it'll be time for me to make my beef-and-carrot stew using a cut of beef called plat de côte, which GBD up in Paris hipped me to, and which I saw today: super cheap, but super good.

But that's all for the future. Right now, what I've got here is this:

Starting in the upper left-hand corner, a couple of apples called reinette de something, a heritage variety. I bought two kinds on Tuesday, one small and red, and one large and green, and the red ones almost destroyed my plastic lower teeth. I may get some more to make pork chops and apples with, but they also didn't see terribly blessed with flavor. The green ones were juicy and more easily bitten into. Below them, two kinds of pears, one with a red blush which are for eating out of hand (and one of which will be history by the time most of you read this), and the elongated ones, which I suspect will contribute to a salad with pear, walnuts, and the last of my Roqeufort sometime soon. For that, I've got two kinds of salad mixture, which has just started showing up. The one on the left was labelled "Japanese," while the other was just regular old mesclun. And, in front of the parsley, there's a butternut squash left over from Tuesday's market. I'm not at all sure what to do with this, but after the fiasco of the last orange squash I bought, I'm going to research this one thoroughly. (And yes, I know it makes great stuffing for ravioli, but that's a two-person job, and I'm missing the other person).

It's going to be harvest time soon on the balcony, I think. The jalapenos have come in in number, but they're really small:

I guess there'll be enough for one salsa, though, but I'm waiting for some of the smaller ones, like that guy on the right, to catch up. The serranos are, belatedly, starting to bloom, which is nice because they won't cross-fertilize with the jalapenos, but not so good because we're almost certain to get chile-killing weather before they're anything close to ready.

I'm thinking that there's simply not enough sun at my place for successful agriculture, although the summer heat is nice. Or maybe I have to have fewer than three plants per pot. I'm also going to try to start the seeds earlier next year, probably indoors, which should be fun, since I have no idea where I'll put them. Or maybe I just have a black thumb: the basil came up, produced two aromatic leaves, and turned brown. That was depressing.

Okay, time to gird the old loins and head out to the Odysseum with the other 50,000 people who'll be out shopping there. This will not be fun but it has to be done. Unlike last time, though, I'm taking the tram both ways this time.


  1. if you need a second person, just send mail. i don't have a problem with living in france, except there's no legal way yet :)

  2. A good story

    GK Chesterton: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

    Voila: This book is a poetic view of 30 of the best loved French cheeses with an additional two odes to cheese. Recipes, wine pairing, three short stories and an educational section complete the book.

    From a hectic life in New York City to the peace and glories of the French countryside lead me to be the co-founder of Ten years later with the words of Pierre Androuet hammering on my brain:

    “Cheese is the soul of the soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”

    I took pen and paper; many reams later with the midnight oil burning Tasting to Eternity was born and self published.

    I believe cheese and wine lovers should be told about this publication.


  3. Errr, sure. And you'll promote my book on *your* blog when it comes out, right? Right?


  4. The black turnips will be Navets du Pardailhan. They're sort of famous - unique to a couple of farms in the village high up towards St Pons. They have a white flesh and are milder and sweeter than turnips. Look at

  5. Thanks, Graham! Now I'm hot to try them. Hope they'll be back on Tuesday.


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