“A Trip to the Market”
Today started like any other day, or so I thought. It started with a trip to the market. You see, I’m a food blogger. Of course, you may already know that on account of all the recipes. So, my trip to the market had me in search of three simple ingredients: Peruvian red-spotted chilies (grown locally of course), a vile of Mexican Vanilla from the Ortega farms of North Tlaxcala, and those coffee beans that little cats eat and then poop out. Simple stuff, right? Apparently not.
6:30 AM - I pick up my friend who needs some peaches. I roll my eyes when she can’t tell me which cultivar and from which farm she wants her peaches.
7:00 AM - We arrive at the first farmer’s market. It’s a coop of farmers from the South central costal plains of Texas who only farm on odd days in an effort to curb their environmental impact. There are four stands. I see a few oranges, some honey, and a couple bruised peaches. I must have shown up too late and missed all the good stuff. My friend decides to pass on the peaches.
7:30 AM – We pass by a Kroger and laugh at the crowds buying their normal people food.
8:20 AM – I heard about amazing farmer’s market up in Willis Texas, just north of Conroe, a small town north of The Woodlands, which is a small town north of Houston, so we go. We arrive. It’s closed.
10:00 AM – We’re almost back in Houston. Traffic sucks so we decide to snack on the artisanal mulberry cupcakes with lavender and honey frosting I made for our return-home snack. We eat all four in two minutes. I realize I should have made more than four mini cupcakes.
10:20 AM - We see a small fruit stand on the side of the road. We pull off and check it out. There are watermelons, peaches, and honey. My friend get’s her peaches. I scoff at her for not even asking the man about his farm and the soil conditions. She tries to haggle with the old man but he speaks a very strange East Texas dialect of what I can only assume is a lost branch of English. We pay full price and leave.
11:00 AM - Once downtown we decide to head to the Airport Ave. Farmer’s Market, Houston’s largest market. Surely they’ll have what I’m looking for, even if it’s not locally grown or sourced.
11:10 AM - The first few stands we see don’t have what I’m looking for. I buy some sort of weird treat; a mango is put on a stick and dipped in chili powder. Everyone is walking around with one so it must be good. It’s disgusting.
11:30 AM – We finally find a stand with the vanilla I’m looking for. Not only do they have the extract from Mr. Ortega’s farm, but they have a bunch of beans too, sitting in a big pile. Finally! I only need a few beans from the top. My spanish speaking friend is off at another stand, so in my effort to come across as multicultural, I say, “¿Cuánto está usted, puta vainilla?” I thought I said, “how much for the tip of those vanilla beans?” It turns out I said, “how much are you, vanilla bitch?” I get slapped. I move on.
12:10 PM – No one else here has any of the ingredients I’m looking for. We leave.
1:00 PM - My friend has cupcake decorating lessons at Sur La Table so I have to drop her off. While there I decide to buy a few new cake pans, an icing spatula, this adorable set of plates that are on sale, a few boxes of chemex coffee filters, and a cake leveling knife designed specifically for chocolate cakes made with buttermilk – something about the density and a lot of R&D.
1:30 PM - There’s a Crate & Barrel next door. I stop in and get a set of hand-blown glass cereal containers for my organic, naturally-sweetened, not-tested-on-animals Cheerios substitute that are shaped like squares for legal reasons.
2:00 PM – There’s a Barnes & Nobel next door to the Crate & Barrel. I stop in and buy a book on the benefits of a paleo-based diet (it’s 12 pages long so I figure it will be an easy read) and another on how to make those adorable rose swirls for the tops of cupcakes (it’s 340 pages long).
3:20 PM – I stop in at a farmer’s market I see in the parking lot of a church. I try to buy the last peruvian red-spotted chili they have but the lady asks me for my favorite scripture. Is this a test? Or is this just how church people make small talk? I freeze. “Russell 3:20,” I say with a smile. I don’t think that is one. She grabs the chili from me and shoos me off.
4:00 PM – I stop in at Kroger. I buy jalapeños, Madagascan vanilla extract, and Starbucks coffee beans. I check out and leave hoping no one has seen me.
4:30 PM – Back home I proceed to bake 1 dozen cookies, then eat them all in a vain effort to forget my trip to the market.
My name is Russell van Kraayenburg. I’m a blog about food and this has been a day in the life of a food blogger.