A Morning at the Market
When imagining the food markets of Paris two hundred years
ago, one imagines bustling streets filled with colorful tents and hundreds of
people bartering for fresh foods. With the exceptions of cars replacing horses,
and cash registers replacing satchels filled with coins, the market feels like
a walk back in time. When I arrived with
my host family I was overwhelmed with sights and smells. My host parents and I
paraded through the tents and bought the week’s groceries.
The vegetables were
bigger and brighter than anything I had ever seen before. The aromas of fresh
cheeses were overpowering. Roast chickens were sold immediately after being
cooked and fresh oysters stacked in crates lined the walls of the fish section.
My family bought just enough food to feed them through the week.
As we made our way back to the car, I realized how heavy my
bag of groceries was, how sore my feet were, and just how inefficient that
entire experience was. How could an entire country have the time and patience
to purchase food in this manner? It took
us hours to make our way through the market, socializing and bartering with an
excited Sunday morning community.
At the same time a came to the realization that this way of live was so fulfilling. The discerning eyes of my host parents handpicked every piece of food that went home with us. Despite the fact that the food we purchased would spoil in the matter of a week, nothing was wrapped in plastic, or laced with preservatives. My
experience made me realize that this is simply a better way of living. It is
not always was lasts the longest or takes the least amount of time that is
best. It was the experience of walking through a market which has been
providing locally grown food to a city for hundreds of years which brought
about this change in the way I see food.