Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Farmer's Market Montreal, Jean Talon

Mauve aubergine, so to speak. Jean Talon Market in Montreal

I roasted the duck yesterday, in its own juices and a half bottle of cheap merlot, and snapped a picture of it ready to eat on my grandmother's Willow-pattern serving dish, with my digital Canon, but the memory card was empty when I went to download it to this blog.

Oh, well. The thing cost me 500 or so in 2006, but the battery has had the bun. Speaking of buns, I made some buns from the Fannie Farmer Cook book too. They were OK. And I also made muffins, berry muffins, but used apple instead. OK as well. The truth is, these 1912 recipes have little salt and sugar. They resemble more Laurel's Kitchen style baking, healthfood style from the 70's, than my mother's rich baking.

In those days, the 1910 era, I mean, they relied on the quality of the ingredients... Berries were big in 1912, as they are now. People took flax too. What goes around comes around.

Anyway, this is ratatouille season. And I just adored the look of these aubergines. And I bought 3 types of red pepper, the usual for salads, a smaller sweeter one for? (I'll have to find a recipe) and small round hot ones for a salsa I am going to make.

One of the best things about the Internet is the recipes on them. There's nothing you can't find a recipe for.

There are two major farmer's markets in Montreal. Jean Talon in Little Italy and the Atwater Market, around where Edith had her room on Greene Ave in Westmount. (I think that building was demolished to make room for the Ville Marie.)

In 1910 there and much earlier, actually, there was Bonsecours Market, in what would be Old Montreal.

The fare at Jean Talon and Atwater isn't organic, at least I assume it isn't. The cauliflowers were HUGE and in all colours and some weird shapes too. But it's a feast for the eyes, and a primal experience. I remember when Loblaw's first came to Quebec, the draw was their beautifully appointed market area. (A woman once told me she found it comforting to shop there. ) But that store, these days, seems to be selling more and more pricey pre-packaged food stuffs. Their thin crust pizzas or calzones cost 5,00 to 7,00 dollars a pop, and as I have written about before, the actually cost of the food stuff in the pizza or calzone is probably 4 cents, a bit of flour, a few chunks of chicken, cheese.
I have started to make my own pizzas.. for health and for cost.
Poor Flora, Marion, or Edith. They didn't have pizzas to eat in 1912. Italian spaghetti was about as fancy as they got. I wonder, when did pizzas get big here, in Montreal? In the 70's? I know in the 60's my Mom bought these pizza mixes, Kraft I think, which weren't half bad, as she added fresh vegetable ingredients as toppings. All you got was the dough, tomatoes sauce and a small package of spices. I have a magazine from 1967 where a company is trying to sell a thin crust version, like the Italians like it. It did not take off... Thin crust pizza had to wait for the Boomers to age, and start worrying about their waistlines, I guess.

I had a friend who was a comedy writer. He had a funny skit about those Kraft Commercials on the TV in the 70's, where they tried to get you to make a gross connoction using all their products at once, Take a slice of Velveeta, add some Kraft Peanut butter and Marshmallow, 5 jalopeno peppers, clippings from your poodle,etc etc..

The Nicholsons grew their own vegetables and Oh MY,was Norman mad when the neighbour's cows got into it in 1908 and trampled it. He wanted to sue. If you would like to see a complete grocery list for the family from 1900, check out this entry on this blog.A Shopping List for the Laurier Era