Mon homme pruneau

by jemma margaret

The overarching goal in all this blogging is not actually to hear myself talk nor to (hopefully) amuse you, my readers, now and again. These are only happy side effects, in the elusive pursuit of “the usual”.

What I mean to say is, in one of my ideal worlds I live in a friendly neighborhood and have pleasant routines every so often. What I am imagining is something not unlike the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. The baker, with his tray like always, the same old bread and rolls to sell. Except! (This is a crucial exception, oh goodness, I’ve been reading a great deal of mathematics lately and could go into great detail here on the subject of exceptions, but I will practice self-control (self-control, I say, as I eat an artichoke as an excuse for consuming a couple tablespoons of unmitigated butter.).) Except, the bread and rolls are incredible and you would be really really disappointed if they were NOT just the same as the morning that you came to this poor provincial town that happens to actually be a large city (and we can see why I am not a lyricist).

So before settling into the usual, as in “je voudrais the usual s’il vous plait,” I need to find the best possible usuals out there. Or within a reasonable radius. As I pointed out yesterday, the bread search continues. The butter search could stop, but wont. The hot chocolate search began today–more on that tomorrow. And so on.

Now, this is immediately to my benefit of course, but it could also be to yours. That is, if you come visit. Or, hell, even if you come to Paris after I am gone, though you really should come when I am here because if I am getting the usual then I am a regular, and everyone knows that regulars get special treatment, which extends to guests of regulars.

Being who I am, the usual will probably not extend to things like foie gras, steak frîtes, or dinners at Le Tour d’Argent. Instead, you must be content with knowing that I have found my provider of prunes.

I was at the market yesterday wandering around and around to see where to shop. After a somewhat embarrassing experience of trying to buy 100 grams of lucques and having to continually ask the salesperson to take a few more olives out of my bag, I walked past a vendor selling much more affordable lucques plus some lovely salt and all manner of sauces, nuts and dried fruit. I had been reading some prune recipes and heard that they’re much more interesting in France, so I decided to daringly spring for 200 grams even though I could not see the price. In this case, I was not ashamed of my meager purchase since the old woman in front of me had only bought 50 grams of harrissa at about 47 cents and the man had seemed quite happy to oblige and then wait for all that change to be counted out.

These were unquestionably the best prunes I have ever had. Red and almost juicy with a well-defined pit that reminds you where they came from. I will be back next Sunday and probably also to pick up some olives as well. That is, if I can find the place again.

Yes, I am soon on my way to becoming a prune regular. And if I keep eating prunes regularly, I’ll be regular in another way too.