Monday, November 1, 2010

Foraging

French cuisine gets major points for finesse and delicacy.  What it lacks, however, is a certain spirit of adventure.  And while I don't like to complain, I have to admit that after awhile, a constant diet of thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, lemon, and creme fraiche kind of wears on you.  But if you're looking for any of the following, better strap on your running shoes and stock up on metro tickets.
  • scallions
  • chipotle salsa
  • lemongrass
  • chili peppers, dried and fresh
  • molasses
  • Fontina
  • jicama
  • brown sugar
  • chili powder
  • ground cloves
  • mango chutney
  • mustard seeds
  • wonton wrappers
  • black beans
  • peanut butter
  • pickled beets
  • sweet potatoes
  • orzo
  • blueberries
  • bulgur
  • pomegranate juice
  • anchovies
 All of these items, old friends called for by the stained and tattered 3 x 5 cards in my recipe box , are available in Paris.  But while finding them in DC was a snap,  they're not all in the corner market here nor even necessarily in the open air market in my quartier.   So if you're planning a meal with hints of Latin America, the Far East, or India, better plan ahead and make sure you have time to get to the 10th, 13th, 15th, 19th, or other ethnic market in an arrondissement other than your own.   And since that's not in the cards for me today (especially since it's both Monday -- a day when many food shops are closed -- and a holiday to boot), I'm thinking it will be either onion soup or roasted chicken for dinner tonight, once again.  Although honestly, that's not such a bad second choice after all.

9 comments:

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

Orzo -- where do you find that? I've never seen it here.

La Mom
An American Mom in Paris

debbie in toronto said...

wouldn't bon marche have all this stuff...I know it would cost more but surely it worth it just to find it all in one place...? they seemed to me to have a section for each country's food...all that travelling around has got to be exhausting and worthe the extra euros to avoid.

Anne said...

La Mom: You can sometimes find orzo at an Italian traiteur. I stock up at Sabah Oriental near the Marche d'Aligre.

Debbie: Surprisingly no. The section's for each country's foods are a lot more limited than you would think.

Joy said...

Honestly, finding the ingredients for our comfort foods was one of the more difficult things that I encountered in our time in France, and we were incredibly lucky to (randomly) find items such as taco sauce, and hard taco shells. (I learned quickly to stock up when such bounty presented itself!) It was very interesting, the window into French cooking. And into our Canadian cooking, too...

Terry said...

I just discovered Mercatienda Latina, 78 rue de Dunkerque, in the 9th, which has a fairly good selection of Hispanic foods. And I'm sure you know about Tang freres. The area at the Porte de la Chapelle has wonderful Indian groceries.
Terry Cagle

Anonymous said...

If you want to cook food from other countries, sometimes you have to improvise. I'm a native of Paraguay, and, in the 45 years that I've lived in the States,I could never find all the ingredients for the recipes of my birth country. Paraguay is almost 5OO hundred years old and their cooking is not that much younger. Eggs in those times were not big, and, corn meal to this day is sold freshly grinded there(you'll find it in the refrigerated section). I've ruined many meals and desserts just by not using medium eggs either in recipes from Paraguay or from my late mother in law's old American recipes. I'm not afraid to use oregano that tastes mild, like the Fiesta brand in Walt Mart's Hispanic aisle. The other brands are too strong for my paraguayan palate. I hope you'd eventually find those spices and condiments you need, Anne. If not in France, maybe in those many countries you visit. Maria O. Russell

Anne said...

Terry: Thanks for the tip on the Latin grocery. I will check it out. I make regular pilgrimages to Tang Freres and to the Indian groceries near Gare du Nord.

Shelli and Gene said...

I arrived in Paris clutching my bottle of chili powder which I thought I wouldn't be able to live without, but no problem replacing it so far.

The larger Monoprix or Carrefour usually carry anchovies, chili powder, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, and sometimes blueberries. And if cassonade works for brown sugar, that too.

Have you tried Izraël in the Marais for seasonings? They have a wonderfully wide choice.

Anne said...

Shelli: Some days it seems like I've been to every ethnic grocery in Paris! Here's my list from my other blog:

http://postedinparis.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/in-search-of-the-right-ingredient-ethnic-groceries/

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