The market is the center of the universe, as far as I can tell.

The market, once intimidating because of the French required to navigate through the purchasing process, has now become one of my favorite weekly routines. Sometimes I even take my camera. I even have a regular produce stand, which is run by an older couple that while helpful are not overly friendly. I have learned these key phrases to help expedite the process.

Puis-je avoir un panier? –May I have a basket

Je suis prêt — I am ready

Quel est le mot pour ce en français –What is the word for this in French?

Avez-vous des poivrons épicés — Do you have any spicy peppers?

Combien ça coûte –How much does it cost?

J’ai un sac — I have a bag.

Usually it goes just fine. Fine enough that last time the woman even threw in the free parsley that I heard often comes with the purchase of other vegetables. I had only heard this as a rumor and had not experienced it first hand until this last Sunday. I might have said: Mercy Beaucoup! With a voice that was a little too excited. I hope she gives me parsley again next Sunday.

I always buy olives from the very nice girl who is incredibly patient with foreigners. Usually I wait to visit her until after the bread stand, because they are always short with me when I ask for only half a loaf.

And of course, I save the best for last. The rotisserie chicken guys are the most popular in the market. I have heard that they do the best chickens around. I wouldn’t know. Since my first chicken from them, I have not even considered hunting another place down.

I walk quickly on my way back from the market.

When I am back in my apartment, I carefully place the bag of produce on the floor.

Then I eat the chicken hot, with my hands, like a ravenous hunter standing at my kitchen counter.

A French woman told me that rotisserie chicken is the one food that is acceptable to eat with your hands in France. Not fries, not pizza, not hamburgers.

Then, I eat some bread and maybe a piece of fruit. Like a nectarine that makes the fruit I have purchased from Whole Foods all of these years fade into tasteless oblivion.

Hungry yet?