I was thinking about this the other day, but instead of a straight answer I just kept getting flashbacks of my childhood memories. The location was always the same: the garden of my Grandparents, which between spring and autumn was a permanent place for seeding, planting, caring, harvesting, preserving, and loads of talking and laughing. Together we were on tenterhooks to see the redness of the first strawberries, cleaned a lot of peas and picked a lot of apricots, plums and sour cherries from which amazing jams, and preserved compotes were prepared for winter. In the garden Grandpa, in the kitchen Grandma was the master. And whereas shuttling between their worlds somehow the love for the earth, plants and homemade food was getting stronger in me each day. Almost everything that was served on the family table was the present of the garden, the result of the hard work of my Grandparents. One of my favourite pastimes was counting how many types of vegetable and fruit grew in the garden, and I was giving out the list as proud as if I planted them myself. I am also rather certain that the legendary dishes of Grandma – bean soup, apple pie, and rhubarb jam – had an extra home-taste due to the own-grown ingredients. The ‘Wonder Garden’ today lives only in my heart, but I can still remember the lessons I got there. Whenever I am in the kitchen or do shopping I remember the caring I learnt from my Grandparents. That I should always try to cook from fresh and seasonal ingredients; do magic reuse of the leftovers; never throw away food; plan cooking in advance and harmonise the courses; select the ingredients with care.
And this is how the market comes to the picture. Living in the city, without our own garden the market is the best option to get fresh and local produce. Although there are many wholesalers, you find farmers as well as small and family run businesses. Also, — in Hungary this is rather common — you find elderly men and ladies selling their own grown produce from their own kitchen garden. Their hardworking hands, honest faces and helpful approach always remind me of my Grandparents. I think mostly that is why I became addicted to markets. And also because I like the friendly atmosphere, that you have time to talk to sellers, and also that after a while we start calling each other by the first name. It comes only as a bonus that André (who finally gave me permission to call him by his real name after the disguise of H. J) thanks to his similar family heritage also shares this enjoyment. So on every Saturday we always head to the market together, hunting for beautiful ingredients to prepare the coming week’s dishes. In Budapest we had a regular market to go to, but when relocating to Brisbane we decided that we would discover different markets of our area. And of course whenever we are on travel mode we never miss out on stopping by when there is a market on our way. So you will be able to read about these market adventures – from Australia, Hungary or wherever we go in the world!
What will you find in these posts?
Practical information: Where and when you can visit the given market, and why is it unique. For example in Brisbane many suburbs hold their own (farmer’s) market, which are organised every week, fortnight, or month.
Interesting/new ingredients: Australia is like a melting pot of cultures and the food and ingredients available are a great evidence of that. I find it amusing and exciting that almost every week we come across new vegetables or fruit, and discover how we can built them into our diet. Also there are some ingredients of my home country that it is particularly hard to buy here, I will tell about these as well.
Cuisines of nations: it is not good to shop with an empty stomach, but luckily markets all over the world are like the Mecca of great street food. Australia is one of the most multicultural lands, so the variety of different countries street food is abundant on any market. We will get you some tastes of these as well.
My picks: there are always some stalls, which outstand from the crowd, so I will mention my favourites.
What about you, do you enjoy shopping at the market? Do you have any favourite place in Australia, Hungary or anywhere in the world?