Friday, November 14, 2008

To Market, To Market!


My father and stepmother live in Provence, in the South of France, in a "market town." Once a week, there's a farmers' market, and people come from miles around to buy the (mostly) locally produced cheeses, meats, produce and baked goods. I love farmers' markets, because they offer such an interesting glimpse into local life.

The veggies are beautiful, and the vendors arrange everything with such care. I'm a total sucker for Provencal textiles. I love the colors, and the patterns, and have to exercise some self-control in not buying up scads of fabric. I still haven't done anything with the Provencal fabric I bought four years ago, so I really can't justify buying anything else. I'm content to enjoy experiencing everything, and owning the memories.

How about these polka-dotted flat-fish? And the expressions on the fish in center! Aren't they peculiar? I'm not going to eat them, but I can admire their forms.

One of my strategies for times of great stress is to enjoy my surroundings as much as possible. And goodness knows, the South of France is full of life's great pleasures.


Y'all might be amused to hear that Martha and I got quite a scolding from a cheese vendor at the Lorgues market. He was furious with us for photographing his stall, and gave us a thorough tongue-lashing. But all was forgiven in the end. We bought some of his unpasteurized ewe's milk cheese (my favorite so far), and struggled to listen to his mile-a-minute discourse on photography and cheese espionage.

As they say in France, "Oh! La! La!"


Kaaren said...

So, he thought you were stealing....frommage secrets? Funny!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

If we understood correctly (and there's no saying that we didn't miss the one critical word in the sentence that conveyed proper meaning), someone had taken a photo of his wares, and then used it as an advertisement for a completely different cheese-maker's business.

Pre said...

All this talk of food, markets, "stealing" frommage secrets, and Provence, generally is reminding me of the book Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle and the followup book a few years later called Toujours Provence.

The first line from Year in Provence is probably my favorite opening line of any book I've ever read: The year began with lunch.

Each book is an easy one-day read, and every few years I'll set aside a weekend to read them both, usually outside with *plenty* of picnic supplies - since they always make me hungry.


Anonymous said...

"Cheese SPIES!"

Yikes, and I thought Americans were paranoid!

Well, he must have some very fine cheeses indeed if he was worried you were stealing "the soul" of his cheeses with your photographs.

I think you should give him some American cheese whiz, as a gift, in order for him to feel some pity for you, in addition to the paranoia.


Anonymous said...

May I suggest your next gastronimic excursion have something to do with wine?

I just installed a "scratch and sniff" screen on my laptop, and have my own cheese and crackers ready to go!


ajt said...

Did you know I lived in Aix-en-Provence for a year? In college (the first time) I did a frivolous double-major: theatre and French. I spent my junior year in Aix going to universite.
I have been back to Paris, but not (yet) to Provence.

I'm jealous. It is an amazing part of the country.


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