Well, actually a funny thing happened at the market.
After months of sniffing around the bio markets of Batignolles and Raspail (held on Saturdays and Sundays respectively) for anything that was green but not chou frisé or chou pointu, I discovered something very interesting.
Mustard Greens. And did a major jump for joy.
Aren’t they gorgeous? Young, spring, beautiful mustard greens. Back in the States, I would choose kale or collards over mustard greens as their flavor is a bit stronger. But when I saw the large basket of beautiful mustard greens, I had an idea: what if I tried to make my version of a raw kale salad with mustard greens? Surely the infamous kale massage would work on these as well.
So in my very elementary French, I asked for eight bunches. The woman, a short, dark-haired lady with a kind smile, looked at me quizzically and asked, “But what are you going to do with eight bunches”? So I responded in my broken-French… “I make a raw salad with lemon juice, olive-oil and salt and pepper. Sometimes I use tomatoes and radishes as well.” Her quizzical look did not disappear as she continued her questions, “Well surely you must use the mustard greens as a mixture. Not alone.” I smiled at her with white, pearly American teeth and replied, “No. I eat them raw and alone.”
That’s when she knew something was up and I was different. “Where are you from”? I proudly gave my answer of America. At that point, a French customer next to me started to ask me questions in broken-English about how I prepare the mustard greens. You can’t imagine my excitement that I was creating this buzz at this little stand about mustard greens and eating them raw and alone. And I had created the buzz by speaking French!
It must have been the adrenaline from my French conversation that gave me the courage to continue talking with the women. I took a deep breath and asked her if she knew of the vegetable kale that was grown in America, England and Italy. She (of course) said she did not know of it but asked me what it was like. I described kale – to the best of my ability – and said I would bring a photo the following week. She was so pleased and when I left her stand, she reminded me to bring the photo!
Could I possibly be creating interest with kale with an organic farmer?