Saturday, July 10, 2010
"But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?...It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it's just – it's just there it's a little different," said Jules in Pulp Fiction. Man, was he ever right!
Dead on our feet last night, she and I were discussing some of those differences. Because of Pulp Fiction, I kind of want to go into a McD's and get a beer. Just because I can. I doubt it'll happen though. There's so many other places to go.
The one thing I've always wanted to do stateside, but just can't bring myself to is go to specialty stores for foods. Farmers' markets for vegetables. A proper butcher for meats. The Southwest waterfront for seafood. A bakery for bread. You get the picture. Aside from not knowing which places are good, our lazy American economy just doesn't support it. We as a population prefer to go to one supermarket, get it all in one place, and be on our merry way. The problem with the new system is that when one place tries to do it all, it does none of it very well.
Downstairs from our apartment, there is a boulangerie. On our first day in town, we stopped in to get a baguette for breakfast on our way to Montmartre for the day. Fresh bread with camembert. Flaky, chewy, crispy, smooth, rich. Beyond compare. Down the street and around the corner, there is a small fruit market. Fresh produce daily. Our first day here, we stopped for some petit fraises. Unlike the Plant City strawberries to which I am accustomed, these were tiny, bite-sized, and full of flavor. Yesterday, when we went our our bike tour to Giverny, we stopped at all the little markets in nearby Vernon to get our picnic supplies. Cheese from the fromagerie. Bread & beignets from the patisserie. Amazing.
I understand that long ago, this is the way things were in the states. We had gourmand proprietors that took up the jobs that their parents had and their parents before them. Butchers' kids became butchers. Bakers' kids became bakers. You get the point. I would posit a guess that the foods from those small shops was higher in quality by a large margin, though likely with the accompanying higher price.
My new mission in life when we return is to seek out the small places that have the higher quality foodstuffs that make meals more pleasurable. I already know there's a butcher like that in Alexandria. To higher quality food and the small businesses that sell them!
In the comments, make suggestions as to those places inside the Beltway where such quality can be found. Merci!