un cadeau pour noël

by jemma margaret

I am leaving for California in the morning.


This presented no small problem in the form of grocery shopping on Sunday. You see, I try to shop for most of my weekly produce on Sunday at the Bastille marché (supplemented of course by my kale ladies on Wednesdays). I go early, before breakfast, when the stalls are still quiet (although I have seen a few amusing crowds of Japanese tourists). In the past months I have gravitated toward a particularly friendly produce stand. I originally chose it because there was a line. The quality of the food and the prices are no better (and sometimes worse) than other vendors,  even so I am lured time and again by how much fun the employees seem to be having (on the other hand, I buy my pomegranates, persimmons, and nuts at a very cheap place where two weeks ago I was overwhelmed by the fruit samples, having to put half a pomegranate in my pocket in order to not drop anything).


Well, after much much careful planning, I ordered 400 grams of carrots, 200 grams of mushrooms, 1 leek, 1 kilo of oranges (from Sicily–is it possible to fall in love with a place just based on a fruit? and of course The Godfather…), and a medium sized head of broccoli. The market gets absolutely packed later in the day, so I do not know if they recognize me (and if they do whether it is with dismay or fondness, ah there is that American girl who always orders a potiron when she means potimarron). However, they are very attendant all the same. Each item ordered is verified for confirmation, after which I usually (in typical American superlatives) say “parfait”!

After a “c’est tout” I received my receipt and fished around my wallet for the correct amount. Well apparently, this was actually not all. Perhaps my shopping list suggested a specific dish with missing ingredients? Or perhaps they had a surplus? Or maybe this was my first Christmas gift of the year. Regardless of the motive, the vendor then offered me some persil. Frankly I am not partial to parsley, but I am also wise enough to accept generous offers from the people who choose my vegetables.

Au revoir persil, jusqu’à l’année prochaine.