This morning we woke up before the alarm went off, which hardly ever happens, and then noticed that the clock on the oven and the clock on the wall were different from our phones and computers. It took a few minutes and a few sips of coffee before Guillaume mentioned it might be daylight savings time. And it was. In Europe, daylight savings time ends at the end of October. Surprise! An extra hour of sleep! We had some more time to make it to the Sunday market, which closes up shop around noon. Autumn makes me think of certain things, and although apples and pumpkins and spice are not ALL OVER EVERYWHERE in Paris as they are in the US (which I love, by the way, I had to go all the way to London for a pumpkin spice latte, and reading the Trader Joe’s fall circular to see what new products pumpkin or pumpkin spice has been shoved into is a favorite pastime), they are available for the most part and I was looking forward to stocking up on some seasonal fruits and veggies: Brussels sprouts, apples, Swiss chard, hopefully. We found some green Swiss chard at the market and we asked about rainbow chard, which I think is prettier and tastes better. The grocer said he had heard about it somewhere, but it was very exotic, and the woman next to us actually laughed and looked at us like we were crazy. Well, lady, you are missing out. As I’ve said before, in this post about Morocco, when I’m in a new place I like to eat how the locals eat. It’s more practical and cheaper not to mention giving a better sense of culture. Living in Paris, I wouldn’t necessarily even think twice about this; beyond eating more and better cheese, wine, pastries and bread, how different would my diet be from how it is in the US? But the truth is, there are many, mostly subtle differences. I’ve been cooking a certain way for almost 20 years and it’s a bit hard to change. I have favorite recipes, and go-to dinners that we make regularly, as well as eating vegetarian for much of the week. Slowly and hitting up a variety of ethnic, natural and regular grocery stores, we’ve been able to find our basics: tofu, soy sauce, vanilla, flour, baking powder, brown sugar. Other things we happily replaced with other different/better products (have you SEEN the yogurt aisle here?) But there are some things that I can’t find or can’t find affordably that put a tiny wrench in things I regularly eat, recipes I was planning to make, or cravings that I had : baking soda (hard to find), kale (making progress,), a nice bedtime tea, filo dough, canned pumpkin, half and half (I’m currently creating my own combo with a light cream/milk. It is sad), peanut butter (super expensive), vegetable or chicken stock and black beans.
My goal, ultimately, is instead of trying to eat like we do in the US, to cook like a Parisian. They eat, and eat very well, so we should be able to do the same. They have very specific ideas about their food (i.e. kale is to feed rabbits), and although I may not agree with all of them, learning about them and trying them out is a good idea. I admit that my brain doesn’t immediately know what to do with the huge piles of golden trumpety mushrooms, long sandy leeks, chestnuts, fresh figs, and plums of every color, but I also know it is my challenge, and one that will be fun to meet, especially now that it will start getting dark at 5.