Marcel Proust famously said, "Habit is a great deadener," but I'm not so sure about that. My life is just chock-full of habits, yet I don't feel dead. In fact, one of my habits – going to my local Farmer's Market every Saturday morning – makes me feel very much alive.
My farmer's market is open from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, every Saturday of the year. (This is southern California, and almost everything is "in season" all the time.) I try to get there around 9 or as soon as the Tiny Goddess can finalize my shopping list. She checks the refrigerator to see what we need and what we don't. Also, if there's anything special she wants to cook during week, those ingredients have to be listed.
I've been going to the Farmer's Market for many years now, but the TG finally came up with a pre-printed shopping list that I can use every week.
• Butter lettuce
• Salad mix
• Baby spinach (for putting into scrambled eggs, etc.)
• Tomatoes (Heirloom, vine, grape, and baby heirloom)
• Snap beans
• Persian cucumbers (once you've gone Persian, you can't go back)
• Mushrooms (mostly crimini)
• Avocado (Hass)
• Eggs (two dozen, usually)
• Berries (blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry; I overbuy berries, but I'm addicted to blueberries in my cereal.)
• Apples (an apple a day – usually Snow Mountain Fujis)
• Figs (black mission for the TG)
• Nectarines (in season)
• Tangerines (in season)
• Grapes (red seedless)
• Quiches (for Calder's parents)
I don't get every thing every week, but most of it I do buy. This food tastes so much better than grocery store food, that there's no comparison. And it's healthy, too. Organic, etc. I'd be crazy not to patronize these small vendors. Some booths are family-owned; some are worked by paid employees. There are booths selling food (tacos, fancy lemonade, hot meats), booths selling jewelry, booths selling orchids, and usually an old guy with a guitar and an open case, trying to make some money.
There are two vendors of baked goods (a French baker and Rockenwagner, the famous West Side bakery), but I try to avoid them. Their stuff is too good.
I like to pick up and examine everything I buy. (Heirloom tomatoes can be especially tough to read.) But it's fun. The sellers are exceedingly proud of their wares, and there are lots of free samples given away. Sometimes I have a "second breakfast" just on free samples!
Parking can be a problem; there aren't enough spaces at the church parking lot next to the municipal park where the market is set up. Sometimes I'll have to wait ten minutes for a spot to open up, but people come and go, and it's not so bad. The whole shopping excursion – door-to-door -- doesn't take me more than an hour. I often run into the same people every week: one of my kid's ex-teachers ... a neighbor ... an owner of a local restaurant. Our town is like "Mayberry."
Then I bring everything home and dump it on the kitchen counters for the TG to sort and store neatly. I would just push everything into the refrigerator, willy-nilly, to get the chore over with. So we have a nice division of labor.
The rhythm of my week is inexorable, and a habit can be fun. I turn around, and it's Saturday morning again: time to do the shopping list and go to the Farmer's Market.
"But I was just there!!"
And speaking of habits, every week I rush home from the Farmer's Market so I can listen to Duff Murphy's "Opera Show" on KUSC-FM, a southern California institution. Saturday morning is the same every week for me, but I don't mind. Why break good habits?
And here are some "musical" food links:
Guy Clark – "Homegrown Tomatoes"
Fats Domino – "Blueberry Hill"
O.C. Smith – "Little Green Apples"
Booker T. & The MGs –"Green Onions" live