Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Basket

Did you ever think of scaling down your basket size? I recently did just that. I used to carry an over the shoulder tote-like market basket, and sometimes my back hurt if it got too heavy. Not only that, but sometimes we'd buy that kilo of this or that at a special price on a whim and then have to figure out what to do with it. I have changed to a small one, and it suits our needs well. I can carry it without hefting my weight to one side, saving my back. My thought is, if it doesn't all fit in the little basket, I'm overdoing it.

Just 1 or 2.

They are well prepared for the Sunday rush.

Early is better. If you go even as early as 9am, you can be reasonably sure to have elbow room, a good choice, and time to chat with the vendors.

After last weeks capricious blustery weather that brought rain and fog, the sun is out and the air is brisk. The church bells sound here and again. The book sellers are setting up. Just walking down the quai gets me in the mood to make a soup.

You can buy one leek. Just ask.

I should knock on wood when I think nobody will see me. A friend I met just the other day at a social gathering came up and said hello. I got a strange vibe from her for a second. Then I remembered my hair was up in a bun held with a chopstick, I had no makeup, and I had wrinkled turquoise colored yoga pants sticking out from the bottom of my coat. Please note: When you go to the market, you should probably look presentable. You never know who you might meet!

Specialty shops sell soissons, and man, they cost a pretty penny. They contain enough beans to last about a year! You don't need to buy very many of these beans because they swell up to nearly 4 times their size and remain extremely flavorful. One small handful, taking me back less than a buck, will provide enough Soisson power for a glorious soup for four.

Loic's only request this morning was clementines.
I didn't buy these particular ones, but they were pretty.

There are certain things I buy from the same person all the time, people I have gotten to know. Each producer has his own product, sometimes several that vary throughout the year.

There was a man from Dieulefit, Mr. Vidal, up to sell truffles today. He isn't at the market but a couple of times a year. He may not even be back next week. I have a special guest coming on Thursday so I indulged in a little one. Wow, do they smell great. A 20 gram whole truffle took me back 12 euros. That was the indulgence of the week, it took more than 30% of my budget!

More common fresh mushrooms are for sale, shitake and oyster, both freshly cut this morning, and flavorful. I bought a couple hundred grams of oyster mushrooms that I will use to finish the soup today.

This gets sealed up tight with the eggs.
Over the next few days, the eggs will absorb the flavor of the truffle.

The basket was nice and full when I got home with eggs, fresh oyster mushrooms, 4 clementines for Loic, winter greens, a leek, a truffle, a small bundle of radicchio, bunches of fresh sage, chervil and sorrel, a handful of soissons, 2 small turnips, a small fresh celeriac, a rutabaga, two potatoes, 80 cents worth of guinea hen necks for stock, and a couple of quail to flatten and roast for Sunday's supper.

Some special things to see us through the week.

I will slip out in the neighborhood with the same basket throughout the week to supplement what I got today with fresh bread, maybe fresh greens here and there, a lump of bacon, dry goods when I don't have them in the pantry. I don't ever need to buy more than I can easily carry back home on foot. Why should I?

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like things are still pretty reasonable in Lyon. Here in Paris, prices have shot up...especially for produce! I asked one of the merchants why champignons de Paris were nearly 6€ per kilo and he told me it's because of fuel costs.

Maybe I need to move to Lyon!

4:41 PM, January 13, 2008  
Blogger Tace said...

Oh my... Your basket of goodies looks so fresh and enticing. Buying from the markets the way you do sounds fun, more of an experience then at a regular supermarket store.

8:09 PM, January 13, 2008  
Blogger Katie Zeller said...

I have never in my life(so far) lived where I could walk to a market or shop. It's always been my secret dream to live in a city and be able to do that. Our closest market is 25 minutes away by car on Wednesdays.
Love your basket....sigh....

9:34 PM, January 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These parallel universes we sometimes live in are amazing. I walked into my Sunday Farmers Market this morning on a glorious day that felt like spring, and saw a young woman with a basket quite like yours. I thought that I would look for one as I had just been trying to maneuver the plastic bags the vendors give me. If I ever get the digi camera I will send a pic of the basket of my future. Thank you Lucy.

6:40 AM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Gina Louise said...

I love Quai Saint Antoine, but I also love my little Place Saint Louis, right by my old apartment. My chèvre man is there, and my favorite butcher (pork products only). I can't count the times that I've arrived with no idea of what I wanted to cook, and finished with a great lunch or dinner. I love the whole eat-local movement right now, but here it's just normal.

7:25 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Kate Hill said...

When a friend/chef once bought just 2 courgettes instead of my usual kilo, he told me he felt sorry for the ones that floundered and faded in my big basket on the kitchen counter when all I needed was... 2. It was a hard thing to learn to do, but selection is often the better part of abundance!

9:02 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Hey David, its true that much of what we see at the market doesn't have to travel far. I have seen some differences in the price of my chicken wings, which they explain as a new way of cutting them to include more meat, but I just switched to necks, which stay a 80 centimes a euro.

Tace, thanks for coming by & your support!

Anon, those plastic bags can indeed leave you with terrible welts on your hands... That's why you need a basket.

Gina Louise, we get to know each market and we love them all, don't we. I also had a strong attachment to one near our first apartment in Lyon.

Kate. Getting centered on just what you need and taking just that is really the essence a life well lived, isn't it? Thank you for your observation.

9:15 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Such wisdom in your post and in the comments, Lucy. That basket looks so enticing! What a way to shop for meals - as needed. I am deeply envious, as I trudge up the hill with two or three bags every trip to the store.

Lucky Lucy!

4:40 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Jagungmanis said...

i'm deetha from Indonesia.
this is my firs time visiting your blog.
nice blog, nice pics, wow....
A plus!

7:19 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Tace said...

I was thinking about your basket again, something else cool is that you don't need all those individual plastic produce bags for your fruits/veggies. In the grocery stores around here you have to use them. (well no one HAS to do anything but it's easier on the checkers)
I reuse my plastic bags, bringing them back to the store to reduce my impact on the the environment but I wish I could use a basket like you. If only they had a market like yours near us. :)

11:02 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger christine said...

I love that market. You are very lucky to have that so close to you.

I´m you have a market budget each week that you stick to? I wondered when you mentioned the truffles.

1:52 AM, January 16, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Dear Mimi, thanks for coming by!

Welcome, deetha!

Tace, you're right about those plastic bags. Although once, years ago, I wanted to buy a pepper in a supermarket, and told the lady who was guarding the scale I didn't need a bag. She refused to sell me the pepper unless I took it in a plastic bag. This happened in France.

Chris, we have a budget each week and we try to stick to it. We don't always succeed. My volailler is usually a place I spend more than I should. I'm a sucker for poultry. In fact the food budget was the reason I began to cook French. In season and local is always cheaper here.

8:53 AM, January 16, 2008  
Blogger winedeb said...

Oh to live where I could walk to a market like yours! I am in bicycle range from my fish monger, but no market like yours. Sigh...
Thank you for the tour! I am such an armchair traveler nowadays, so I do appreciate your stories!

10:38 PM, January 16, 2008  
Blogger Tace said...

Wow, just read your comment about the scale lady guarding (haha) the scale. That is so strange! I'd have been tempted to take the bagged pepper, buy it and then remove the pepper before leaving the store, handing the bag back to the woman....haha not the most peaceful way to act but still would be tempting.

2:54 AM, January 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I swore off plastic bags 6 months ago...Use sturdy shopping bags with wide handles that collapse when not in use...many stares and comments from vendors (USA) but now am known as the "Bag Lady" at my markets...rather proud of that title...keep up the good it.

6:21 AM, January 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I adore finding other expats in Lyon! I used to live in Francheville (by Ste Foy/5ieme) and the marche at Craponne (what a fun name!) was enormous- I hadn't ever experienced anything like it. We have since bought a house in L'Ain, and our little village doesn't have its own marche (or boulanger- just a "multiservices"). Hopefully things will change soon! Look forward to reading more!

2:51 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Jann said...

What a wonderful way to go shopping. I tried taking a basket to the grocery years ago, just for a few items-people over here just didn't get it-so civilized! Your photography is fabulous!

8:34 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Helene said...

Lucy, you post made me so homesick, nostalgic and happy all at once! Thank you!

5:26 AM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Katie B. said...

I have never before seen a more beautiful basket of groceries! I am mesmerized!

2:42 AM, February 08, 2008  
Anonymous Briar said...

My first visit to this great blog with wonderful pix - I love it! Will become a faithful follower from today. Thank you for sharing!

11:48 AM, August 26, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home