I’m off to the Culinary to teach how to write an advocacy piece by drawing compelling images with words. If it were up to me, I’d advocate for being transported to … a farmers’ market in France.
Food and wine are important topics of conversation in France and everybody knows that good cooking begins with the selection of the freshest and best of ingredients.
The open air markets are the jewels of France. Village squares and narrow streets are crowded with jostling throngs of people, buying, bargaining and carrying their evening meal home in string bags and wicker baskets. The displays standing beneath ancient buildings are so seductive that they jolt even the most disinterested of palates into a lathering of salivation.
Cascades of tomatoes are an explosion of brilliant redness. Purple-black, round-bellied eggplants sit majestically next to skinny asparagus. Crackling brown-skinned onions are presented in a family grouping with their heroic garlic cousins, fat leeks, delicate scallions and baby shallots. Blushing apricots are a promise of sweetness, and strawberries, cherries, melons, peaches and pears send the mind reeling in a hundred different directions of choice.
Underlying everything there is an philosophy of freshness. The winter market is as different from the summer as is the spring from the fall. Each food has its appointed season, and when taken in the fullness of its hours, cannot be surpassed.
French cooking differs from region to region and, like every living art, it is constantly changing. Yet the genius of French cooking lies in the rich diversity of the ingredients and the respect with which they are treated by the people, both in homes and in restaurants.