City Lounge: Paris (Book Two, Chapter Six: Fruit Market)

Chapter Six: Fruit Market:

Who knew Paula and I lived near the Marché Bastille? Okay, we passed through it a few times when going to and from work, but I never stopped, stopped in it for a look around. We always bought food at the high-priced stores.

“We always bought food at the high-priced stores,” I repeated to Simone as walked through, looking at the many stalls opening up for the day.

“I am sorry to hear that,” she said. I gave her a strange look.

“Don’t you shop at the high-priced stores too?” I asked.

“Not for food,” Simone said. “Mama wouldn’t let me hear the end of it if I did.”

“Huh?” I asked.

“I go to the fancy stores for household items, toiletries, and things like that. Why would I go there for food?” Simone picked up big, fat heirloom tomato. “Besides, the markets have all sorts of treasures that the fancy stores wish they had.”

I put my arms behind my head. “So… what are we looking for here?” I asked. “Fruit-wise, I mean.”

“What are your favorites?”

“I don’t think I have one.”

Simone turned around with a puzzled look on her face. “You don’t?”

“I don’t think much about fruit.”

“Do you like apples?”

“I don’t mind them.”

“Okay, we’ll get apples. We’ll also get pears.” Simone took a minute to think. “Let’s see what else.” I turned my head.

“How much fruit are we getting?” I asked.

“Enough to make a small salad,” she said.

“A fruit salad for breakfast?”

“Why not? You need to have expose of what the markets have to offer. Watch and learn.” Simone turned her attention to the man at the tomato stall.

“Excuse me,” she said. “How much for this tomato?” An old man walked up to his booth and straightened up his glasses.

“Good morning, mademoiselle,” he said. “How may I help you today?”

“I would like to buy two of your heirloom tomatoes,” she said. The old man broke into a huge crooked smile.

“You’ve come to the right place,” he said.

“How much for two of them?”

“9.17 Euros.”

Simone made a face. “Ooo, that’s a little much could you come down on the price?”

“Okay, 8.44.”

“1.74 Euros?”

“Too low, 7.34.”

I watched Simone and the tomato vendor man haggle back and forth for two more minutes. We arrived at 3.49 Euros. She winked at me as she handed the old man his money.

“You are a tough customer,” he said.

“I do my best for the best deal,” Simone said. The old man bagged up the tomatoes.

“You have a good day,” he said.

“You too,” the Indigo queen said. “Come on, let’s go, Will.” I followed her like a little dog. I just had to see how this shopping trip would turn out. Simone was good a haggling the prices. Some of the guys at the vendors were uneasy when she got with them. We ended up with tomatoes, apples, pears, kaki, cepes, mirabelle de lorraine, coing, and oranges. Some of these fruits I had never heard of.

“What are some of these?” I asked.

“Why don’t you try them out and see?” Simone asked. I was too busy looking through the bag to listen. I raised an eyebrow as I came across one of our purchases.

“What are these mushrooms?” I asked.

“Cepes,” she said.

“We’re going to have mushrooms in a fruit salad?”

“But of course.”

I made a weird face. “How would that work out?” Simone chuckled.

“I have the skills to make this so,” she said. I don’t think I like where this is heading. The Indigo Queen stretched her neck around.

“We need you to do market trips more often,” she said.

“But I don’t have the time,” I said.

“Then go shop when you come home,” Simone said. “The streets have the best food in the city.” Her indigo braids swung as she turned around. “You just have to know where to look.”

“And I take it you know where all of the good places are?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said. “Locals know where all of the good stuff are.” I have to admit, I have heard that piece of advice before. But, I followed Paula around for food and shopping. In fact, she was the one who did all of the shopping. It’s so weird. I’m going to have to how to do things for myself now that I am (sort of) single again. Speaking of which…

“Hey, Simone,” I spoke up.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Could you… Teach me how to cook?” I asked. That didn’t sound too weird, right? I mean, we’re in an age where it’s okay for men and women to cook. There are many male chefs out there too, yeah?

“Of course,” Simone said. I about stumbled backwards.

“You serious?” I asked.

“I’m not as good as Mama, but I can show you some recipes,” she said. “I can show you how to make this fruit salad today.”

“Okay,” I said. That’s when I remembered the cepes and made another strange face. “Are we really putting mushrooms in a fruit salad?”

“Why not?” that Indigo queen asked. “It’s always something I wanted to try. And besides, that could actually sound tasty and we might not know it.”

“If you say so,” I muttered. I want to be convinced, the thought of mushrooms in a fruit salad wasn’t sitting well with me. But if Simone can make it work, I will take a bite and smile. Hey, maybe cooking will help us get closer.

“How have you been eating?” Simone asked beside of me.

“What?” I asked. “Oh, my ex and I either ate out or had instant meals most of the time.” Simone’s eyes read pity for me as she shook her head.

“What?” I asked.

“You really have been missing the treasure of a French meal cooked by your own hands,” she said. Simone patted me on the shoulder with her free hand.

“Fear not,” she said. “I will have you cooking meals every day like an actual French citizen. Well… Mama and I will have you cooking meals every day like an actual French citizen. You get the idea.”

“I guess…” I said. But somehow, cooking with Simone and Marie sounded like it would be fun. Sign me up for cooking lessons, my Indigo Queen! Your student is willing and waiting!

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