Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wednesday Market

Guadalajara, Mexico

Every day is Market Day in Guadalajara. Each neighborhood has a specific day of the week when it bows to the grocery goddess, blocks off several streets, and welcomes growers, sellers and purchasers alike. Each market, or tianguis in Spanish, is a little different, each with a unique personality. “The Wednesday Market” is the pride of my neighborhood. For the most part, it shuns the distractions that other markets flaunt such as socks, knock-off sunglasses and bags, pirated DVD’s and household necessities and distills its wears down to Mexico’s greatest treasure: Food. The market is renown throughout the city as the place to go for fresh and delectable fruits and veggies from all over Mexico. Anything needed to stock the fridge and cupboards is available for the taking - artisanal cheeses, a variety of flavors of homemade yogurt, fresh corn tortillas, honey dripping from the comb, prepared salsas and other traditional foods, dried fruits, nuts and grains, freshly fried potato chips and pig skins, potted herbs, meat, fish, and freshly cut flowers still glistening with the morning’s dew.

The hustle and bustle of Market Day is apparent well before reaching the tarp-covered, food-flanked streets. The rhythmic chanting of sellers offering low prices echoes through the neighborhood drawing anyone within ear-shot to the mecca of all things delicious. Women return home from their weekly excursion pulling some version of a radio-flier pull cart stuffed with that week’s finds.

To venture into the maze of culinary delights is to know Mexico; the vibrant colors and energy for which Mexico is famous are embodied by the market. One display spills into the next, and I am made pleasantly dizzy by the abundance of choice. Smiling men and women offer samples of their tasty treats. Friendships are formed and people are reunited every week through the hospitality and tradition surrounding food.

Each week I go to the Wednesday market giddy with anticipation of the treasure hunt ahead of me. Inevitably I come home with an ingredient I have never seen before, or taken the time to properly investigate. Usually, my ingredient of the week comes with directions or advice from a fellow shopper or the seller herself. Hungry and happy from the sensory orgy of my shopping adventure I dive into the kitchen, unwrapping my many packages. There is no hesitation towards the meal I will immediately begin concocting with love.

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