Yanked to the surface of consciousness on this Normandy morning by the potent combination of bright sky warmth-providing orb, insistent cat, breakfast aromas (coffee, toasting raisin bread), My Missus yelling “À table!”, and the promise of the Saturday farmer’s market in Lisieux (gotta get there before those Orbec mushrooms are gone!).
April in Paris? Schmapril in Schmaris!
** I do plan to return to the whole “April in Paris” in a positive, musical sense in these pages quite soon, but let’s stay on point, shall we? **
Basket in hand, car keys in other hand, shoes on feet…OK, I’ve got the appendages covered (rest of the body too, as the last thing this American wants to do is throw a fright into scads and scads of provincial Frenchies). A few coins in my pocket, and a rough-but-working-itself-out lunch scheme forming.
Our late arrival at the market had My Missus and I worried we would go Orbec-less this weekend, but I am happy to report (and indicate via photograph) that this was not the case.
800 grams of the finest and freshest Normandy-grown Cremini mushrooms secured, our market wander could take on a more relaxed pace and did, leading us to various vegetables and to our lunch plate protein of choice, which today we had decided would be a few nice sole. With no less than five fish mongers hawking their wares at the Lisieux farmer’s market, the selection and pricing is usually in line with expectation and today was no exception (though our score – five good-sized sole for just 10€ — certainly could be described as ‘exceptional’).
Fish obtained, we looked across the ice for other seafoody nibbles, and locked onto a pile of oysters. Now I am sure that all of you fine sophisticates reading along know that conventional wisdom states that oysters are a fine choice as long as the month has an ‘r’ in its name. Experience has taught me, though, that these days it is necessary to bleed the edges of that doctrine somewhat, lest you find yourself bringing a egg-laden bivalve Ostreidae to your lips. Still, the month of May (no ‘r’) is still 25 days off and I was already feeling the sea tickle on my tongue, so I asked to the status of the mollusks on the pile. No words, just a smile, and with a fast and practiced flick of the fish monger’s knife I very quickly had one of the little wonders in my hand ready to taste.
Could wax poetic. Won’t. Life is different now than when I awoke, though, as I now believe I should start every day with a single perfect oyster. And unless you have dietary restrictions that prevent such, you should too. That one little oyster, cold and clean, opened my appetite and all of my senses up to maximum volume. The blood applauded and continues to do so.
Three small but marvelously heavy Florida grapefruit, four avocados that may as well already be guacamole, a nice hunk of brebis (raw sheep’s milk cheese) and a Crottin de Chèvre (a small goat cheese) from our standby cream and cheese guy, a short visit with the olive guy that resulted in one small sachet of olives au citron procured, and another Lisieux farmer’s market Saturday was complete. My Missus and I reconnected with The Boy and headed home with our plunder.