“If you’re going to Soulard Market this weekend, give me a call,” I texted Russ, who always enjoys a soiree at the old city market. Sure enough, by mid-morning on Saturday, my son and I were elbowing our way around the crowded food stalls, pinching the peaches and thumping the melons.
Russ has his favorites vendors, so there was no meandering. With lists in hand, we were on a mission to seek out the Organic Vegetable Guy, the Haar’s Meat Stall, The Cheese Man, and the Friendly Young Couple selling produce near the door.
This time I took along my collapsible shopping cart to lessen the load. I usually hang plastic bags off each arm up to my elbows until I feel like a walking Christmas tree with drooping branches. But Saturday I had wheels and was ready to play dodge-em with the other serious shoppers.
Among the first items to hit my cart were the green beans. Having grown them in my home garden for many years, I appreciate a snappy, blemish free bean. I got a few pounds and some new potatoes to go with them. I gritted my teeth and bought some large, organic, heirloom tomatoes, that sold for the price of an aged Stilton. The watermelons from Sikeston were calling my name, but by then my cart was groaning under the weight of my purchases. Instead, I settled for several Eckert Farm peaches.
I couldn’t resist getting a mess of greens—mustard and turnip—but realized immediately I had settled for too few. By the time you remove the stems and the greens wilt down in the pot, there’s not too many servings left.
By the time we got back to the car, it was past noon and we were feeling a bit peckish from our heavy duty shopping. Being only ten minutes from my favorite mom and pop restaurant, we headed over to Banh Mi So on South Grand. It’s surprising what restorative powers a few Vietnamese spring rolls and a meatball banh mi can have on the weary shopper.
Back at the Condo: Cooking Aromas
I commenced cooking as soon as I got back to the condo. I always enjoy eating greens, because it brings back memories of my grandmother’s kitchen, where she’d cook the bulky leaves in a big, pumpkin-shaped pot with a wire bale and broken, wood handle. When she could find wild greens, such as dandelion, poke salad, or wild mustard, she’d throw those in, too. It was cheap eating, but with a meaty ham hock and some cornbread, it was good eating.
As a kid, I turned up my nose at any food so smelly and old timey. Today my favorite greens are cooked by Deb, my Virginia-born daughter-in-law, who—unlike me—paid attention when her grandmother cooked.
I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing and cooking my turnip/mustard greens and the green beans and potatoes. My refrig is full. But I have lots of good veggies food to brighten the coming week, as well as a warm heart from having spent the morning with my son. Blessed!