Then: At 5:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, I was rattled from my sleep with an idea. The sit-up-straight-out-of-bed kind of idea. Instead of setting up shop at one French cooking school, what if I hopped around the European continent and sampled from a variety of courses in different cities and countries? That's how Culinary Hopscotch was born. Follow me on an epicurean tour of cooking schools in countries around Europe and beyond. I'll be traveling and cooking for about three months, so if you're curious about where I'm headed, just ask. Otherwise, I'll be updating my whereabouts in the Twitter section on the right. The culinary crusade starts on January 29, 2010, and I'll be doing it all in a carry-on.

Now: We live in Portland, a culinary capital in its own right. I man the stove chez nous and plan our meals weekly on a colorful pad from Anthropologie. Things have changed a bit from the old school days of Culinary Hopscotch, but it makes sense (to me) to keep it alive. Look for posts on restaurants we visit, culinary happenings in the news, what's on the menu in our kitchen, and more!

Been There, Cooked That

Saturday, January 30, 2010

To Market, To Market

One of the great (and obvious) things about renting an apartment while traveling is the availability of a kitchen. It allows you to take control of your culinary destiny, and also act like a local. Take yesterday for example. Upon arriving, I knew I'd need to make a trip out for food, but what I forgot was how different the experience would be.

In high school French class, I remember learning the words "boulangerie" (bread bakery), "poissonerie" (fish monger), "boucher" (butcher), "fromagerie" (cheese shop), "patisserie" (sweets bakery), and "marche aux legumes et fruits" (vegetable and fruit market). These are all independent entities in France. It seemed so silly at the time--to think that someone would gallivant down the street stopping into each of these different places to purchase their food items. Why wouldn't they just go to Ralphs or something?

The truth is, while it may be a bit more time-consuming to shop this way, it's really quite charming and enjoyable, and the food seems to be fresher. The shops are all tiny, and in some cases, have standing room only, but that's all you need as you pop in for a baguette, a bag of potatoes, or a portion of brie. It also means they don't have enough back-stock to compensate should something nuclear occur, hence, the farm to market phenomenon, whereby the farm ends up on your table and the prices remain affordable. Sure, they have "supermarkets" here, but it's a loose translation and they more closely resemble a 7-11, in my opinion. Charming? Hardly. In fact, normal "supermarkets" are not allowed in the 20 arrondisements at all. Charming? Indeed.

My shopping trip yesterday resulted in a dinner of carmelized onions and brussel sprouts with potatoes, a sautéed breast of chicken, sliced tomato salad, and a glass of rosé. If I had to estimate, I'd say the entire dinner (including wine) set me back about €5 (just shy of $7). Stopping into the markets was fun, and I was also able to practice my French. Schlepping the bags up the vertical stairs in Montmartre in the rain, well, that's another story. 

The fruits of my labor...simple and delicious. My kind of meal, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. To buy a fat hen...
    been on the cobblestone uphill stroll carrying lots of stuff, it's epic, but my girl can do it!!! Wish I was there, your day sounded amazing. Love you