There are times when you go to the feria obligado, you go because you have to, because when you open the fridge there is more space than stuff, and when dinnertime comes, you think, “I could eat rice and yogurt and lemon pickle.” (Just me?) Then there are times that you go because you think, yay, Saturday, I get to go to the feria! That’s what happened to me today.
Notable moments included discussions by the woman who sold me grapes (who, as we were talking, was buying change rolled up in graph paper taped with Scotch tape from a man who is going to Chiloé on vacation, but just with his wife, leaving he kids behind) talking to the across the way fish lady about the right kind of aloe vera (apparently not the Chilean kind) that has the right kind of medicinal properties, according to her doctor to help with some back pain she’s having. I though about telling her about my new lower body stretching routine that is helping my back, but then I just bought the grapes and continued on. Another repeated theme today was cars missing parts. I saw one car that was shedding panels as it went, driving through the feria, a large, copper-colored station wagon that had more clang than umph, and on the bike ride home, one car missing the back bumper, and one missing the front one. Cars look naked and toothless in this condition, and you have to wonder how prudent the drivers are, so maybe it works to keep them out of future accidents, I’m not sure.
But you came here for the vegetables! First, here’s a little sign on a basket. People in Chile wax nostalgic about a mythical tomato from antaño (yesteryear) that tasted like tomatoes. The ones now, especially the ones from the supermarket are said to either “have the flavor of nothing” (not taste like anything), or to taste like plastic. I have eaten better and worse tomatoes in my life, including the ones we used to eat fresh from the backyard garden, while actually still standing in the garden, saltshaker in hand, which smelled and tasted and felt like summer, so I can totally relate to what this sign says, which is “Fresh juicy tomatoes with real tomato taste,” though this is not actually where I bought my tomatoes today.
But you came here for the vegetables!
In the haul above, we have the following. 1 USD=713 CLP at the moment
cauliflower, one large 1000 CLP=$1.40
iceberg lettuce 600 CLP=$.84
radishes 500 CLP=$.70
1 kilo lemons 600 CLP=$.84
800 grams white grapes 800 CLP=$1.12
500 grams strawberries 400 CLP=$.56
1.2 kilos tomatoes 800 CLP=$1.12
1 bunch assorted herbs n greens 500 CLP=$
1 bunch fresh thyme 500 CLP=$.70
4 small onions 300 CLP=$.42
8 carrots 400 CLP=$.56
1 dozen farm-fresh eggs 1500 CLP=$2.10
1 bunch scallions 400 CLP=$.56
“american” corn 2 ears 500 CLP=$.70
1 kilo cranberry beans 800 CLP=$1.12
Total 9600 CLP=$13.46, and a couple of good stories. Enjoy! Also, if anyone knows what you’re supposed to do with fresh thyme, I’m all ears. It was just so pretty I couldn’t not buy it.
I totally understand that tomatoes that taste like tomatoes thing. My entire life, I thought U hated tomatoes until Lila was about 2 years old, and every Friday we visited the farmer’s market in downtown Brooklyn.
There was a guy selling all kinds of heirlooms, and he offered tastings of them. Lila wanted to eat them, and I didn’t, but decided that it would be bad form not to try them. So I did… and suddenly my world opened, and I saw something in the most quotidian of things that I’d never seen before.
Salta has great tomatoes. Also the eat them with just salt type.
yet another reason to come visit again. Mmmm, Salta. This time without sunstroke. I’m sure of it!
Nice blog. thanks.
I’m not fluent, but I wasn’t offended by the offer to practice Spanish. I was raised in a tourist town in U.S. When traveling, I try to give locals a break – who knows what onslaughts they suffer. In international and personal relationships, kindness has to start somewhere. Let it be with me.
I like to use thyme with chicken. Cut one up and spread in a dish (9 x 13 in gringo terms works). No oil necessary but recall that fat = flavor. Cover with at least 2 cups each chopped celery and onion. Pour over about 1/2 bottle of white wine. Season with S an P. Sprinkle with enough thyme leaves so they are quite noticeable – depending on how much you like thyme. Bake at 350 about an hour. Cover at first and stir, baste once in while until vegs are tender. Uncover if you want chick to brown. You inspired me. just now, i’m going to try browning chick quickly and cooking all in crock pot. Will keep you posted. Nice to have discovered you.
I’m thinking of moving to Santiago or ? in Chile before Christmas 2016. I’ve been looking at blogs and forums, but… Can you recommend one that gives useful info for a prospective resident? One who writes with an entertaining, thought-provoking style as you do.
Beware, they resell Lider (Walmart) eggs at the feria now, at least where I stay. I have to drive to Pirque to get farm fresh eggs.
that could well be the case. Great mark-up, I’m sure! Thanks for commenting, Dawn!