Great produce in Chinatown - fun to browse and haggle
I agree with Julie Powell ... the Union Square Farmers' Market is too expensive and elitist for my taste ... a great place for browsing ... and where I buy my produce is Chinatown ...
I confess that half an hour browsing in that utopia of produce [Manhattan's Union Square Farmers' Market] - or the new Whole Foods Market at the square's south end - often leaves me longing for the antiseptic but nonjudgmental aisles of low-end supermarkets like Key Food or Western Beef.
Don't get me wrong: I love a big, ugly tomato as much as the next girl. I buy my fair share of pencil-thin asparagus and micro-greens, and I'm sure if ever I were to stand in an orchard and taste a peach picked during one of its two days of succulent perfection, I would find it one of life's greatest joys.
Shopping is the province of the privileged; fine cooking is not. Indeed, great cuisine arose from privation. The techniques of smoking, drying, salting and roasting were all developed to preserve foods past the "perfect peach" stage, past the day the vegetable was harvested or the animal butchered, to save for a time of less bounty. Preserved foodstuffs led directly the development of culinary traditions, as people who wanted nothing more than to feed themselves well and with pleasure taught themselves how best to combine ingredients artfully, to create something more than the sum of its parts.
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