Wishing a beautiful moments and cherish memories

I can pinpoint the exact moment that I fell in love with Mark.  We had only been dating a few weeks and were in the midst of our first weekend trip together to San Francisco.  One morning we walked to a little cafe for breakfast and then found ourselves heading toward the Chinatown gates.  After admiring the silly monkey sculptures and even sillier tourists on Grant for a couple of blocks, we turned, grabbed hands, and without saying a word began walking up a side street toward Stockton.

In the window of the first market was a spectacular hanging display of greasy orange Peking ducks.  A little bit further there was a large tub filled with fat frogs trying to make their escape.  Down the street was an open counter with dead turtle innards and their bright yellow eggs splayed out for the world to appreciate.  It was crowded, and the pungent smell of fish mixed with quail cages mixed with rotting vegetables filled the air.  I was in heaven.  I looked up at Mark.  He breathed in deeply, smiled, and said,  “I could spend all day here.”

He walked inside the market, carefully trying not to bump into the customers inside.  I stood outside on the sidewalk tasting a slice of sweet orange.  As the juice ran down my chin, I held my arm up to wipe it with my sweater and caught a glimpse of Mark inside.  He had made it to the back of the store.  At least two feet taller than everyone else, he held a fruit covered with knobs in one hand, and a bundle of dark leaves in the other.  He sniffed the fruit, and then the leaves.  With a quizzical look, he went back to the fruit.  Then he went back to the leaves.  The people inside were talking and yelling at one another, grabbing vegetables and dried herbs from barrels, and plowing into Mark’s side as they pushed past him to the counter.  He didn’t notice.  He was transfixed by the mysteries held high above them in his hands.  I breathed deeply, smiled, and said, “I could spend the rest of my life here.”

We’ve been shopping for strange food together ever since.

This past weekend we were in Sacramento.  I was blessed to be able to spend a day learning about grassroots community organizing with Mary Gonzalez from the Gamaliel Foundation.  That left Mark time to scope out the ethnic grocery stores.  Sacramento has its own Stockton Street with some huge Asian markets.  We also found an Indian market with a restaurant next door.  The goat curry was delicious.  On our way home we found another Indian market in Woodland.  Here’s what we now have in the cupboard:

  • candy coated fennel
  • a box of pani puri
  • white pepper
  • mango pickle
  • hoisin, black bean and garlic sauce
  • tamarind sauce
  • Moroccan sardines
  • ghee
  • Wonderful cookies (this I only bought because the tin is so cute and has the tag line ‘Wishing a beautiful moments and cherish memories…..’
  • Indian black tea
  • sesame oil
  • pomegranate molasses
  • red bean paste
  • red pepper powder
  • tamarind paste
  • asafoetida
  • a newspaper we can’t read
  • palm sugar
  • tapioca starch and flour
  • steamed bun dough
  • brown lentils
  • rajgira ladoo (sweet nutty balls.  mmmmmmmm.)
  • mustard seeds
  • mirch masala
  • dal atta noodles
  • and tapioca pearls (I thought they’d look cute on cupcakes, but I haven’t tasted them yet)

I don’t know what we’re going to do with all this stuff, but we blew our whole food budget on it, so we’d better get cracking.  Care to join us for dinner?

13 responses to “Wishing a beautiful moments and cherish memories

  1. Awwww……You are the best.And really,it is such a sweet experience to get yelled to hurry up at by a lady behind the counter at a bakery in Chinatown.

  2. “…an open counter with dead turtle innards and their bright yellow eggs splayed out for the world to admire…”


  3. Just ate the pani puri.Kristabel looked on with trepidation as I prepared everything,and was quite skeptical.But I fed her one,and next thing you know,she’s in the kitchen making them faster than myself.I think she needs to be spanked for being skeptical of my little appetizer.

  4. Kim…I love your monster! And your new name, too. xo We still have to have that fondue party. I’ll bring the fennel candy.

    As for you, mresquan….you need a little skepticism in your life to keep your feet on the ground…or your hands on…well….you know…..

  5. Haha Bollywood would be the piece de resistance! (Just imagine all the correct accents in there, I ain’t lookin’ for ’em.)

  6. I totally get that, Kristabel. I once fell in love with a germophobe when he ate posole from a dusty (wiped with an apron) bowl rather than hurt a much loved elderly friend of mine. There is no explaining what moves our hearts.

  7. So sweet, Jane. By the way, I’d eat posole out of a dusty bowl any day. Not that I’m trying to get you to fall in love with me or anything; I just really like posole.

  8. Me too, Kristabel. My friend in Mexico makes it every year for New Years using the Christmas turkey carcass. Hers is the best I’ve ever had, dusty bowls and all.

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