Monday, August 4, 2014


I once read a book that was all about the taste of place, or gout de terroir -- being able to tell where something was grown or produced simply by its taste, such as the grapes used in a particular wine. In this book I learned that, to the French, having taste buds that are refined enough to discern these flavors is so very important, they start training their children from a very early age.  How? By serving them real food, for one thing -- three course, made from scratch lunches in school cafeterias, with time enough to relax and enjoy them. Also, by doing little blind taste tests with them, helping them to recognize sensations such as salty, sweet, and sour, and where those flavors are triggered in their mouths. Thus it came as no big surprise to me that, when we visited some of the wonderful covered markets in Provence, we found many, many families shopping en masse, with all the kids in tow.

School children head to the fish market in Marseilles
What did surprise me was how much these kids actually seemed to enjoy it.

Well, some more than others.
It was almost as if they actually preferred going on these Saturday morning excursions to vegging out on the sofa with some sugary cereal while watching cartoons or playing video games! Even more amazing? I didn't witness one single child having a total meltdown in any of the farmers' markets -- over not being allowed to buy whatever packaged, processed, chemical-laden crap the TV ads had convinced him he really, really needed, and which someone had placed right where he was sure to see it.

Hmmmm...why do you suppose that is?

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