As much as I love being outside in nature I enjoy a different type of foraging too. I like to go from one little market to another in my hometown (Providence!), usually on foot, pushing my rickety-ass little market cart and collecting treasures. That is what food is, treasure, worth its weight in gold really. Cause you can’t eat gold, baby, and food is devotion. Food is my expression of love, my reason for gathering friends and family, my voice.
I like the so-called “ethnic” markets the best, the little places. I like the people, the stuff, the skills needed to find what I’m looking for–or didn’t know I was looking for. I like the dust-covered monkey salves and knobby roots, the tiny dried fish and the salamis hanging from the ceiling. I like butchers that say “hey, mama” and buildings painted hot pink. I like mysterious pastes, stuffed peppers, tamales, boxes of dried peppers and stacks of tortillas.
I like chubby tomatillos, eryngium foetidum and the guy who effortlessly hacks up the whole roast pig with a butcher knife. i like chicken feet, i like live crabs and live ducklings in a box. chicory coffee, korean ginseng and slurpy noodles. i like old teapots and banana flowers and tubs of bean curd.
this satisfies my need to forage, my need to stock up and try new things. I just made a vat of recaito and a jar of curry paste. Bones are simmering with cinnamon, star anise, shallots and ginger for pho. nothing cures my cabin fever like good food, spicy, sweet, fun, healthy, delicious food made with love and a little adventure.