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The French and their vegetables

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OK, now that I have your attention. One of the things that was interesting about a week in Paris was looking at the vegetable displays. Yes, I know I’m a geek. Thank you for pointing that out.

We tend to romanticize the foodways of other countries, and none more so than France. Chefs learned a couple of decades ago that a trip to a farmers market was like catnip to reporters and cameramen. Produce shopping is regarded almost as a national sport.

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I found a lot of very good stuff, like the above radishes (for some reason called French Breakfast Radishes here; in France they were labeled simply radis). I also really loved this display (right) in La Grande Epicerie (a luxury food store to end all luxury food stores). In case you can’t make out exactly what’s going on, it’s a display of locally grown produce from small farmers (been there, seen that). But in this case, they’ve wrapped the produce in cellophane imprinted with photos of the farmers and a little story about them. Neat idea.

But before we get all misty-eyed and jealous, I couldn’t help but catch this when I stopped at the Rue Cler street market to snap a picture of some really amazing-looking fresh red currants. Notice what’s in the background? Yup Driscoll raspberries. Straight out of Cali. Hey, à chacun son goût, as they say.

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--Russ Parsons


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