Oh my, yes.

January 18th, 2014, 9am

It is hailing outside, the kind of morning to snug into reading, pull another blanket onto the couch and look up occasionally at the window. Instead, I am trying to determine whether the hail that is pinging off my nose makes an actual noise, or if that is what all these little bits of ice sound like as they skitter across sidewalks.

Is this worth it for celeriac, I wonder, seeking out the gnarled root at stands with winter vegetables next to other farmers’ market junkies who smirk into their insulated coats at the normals who only visit greenmarkets in the sunshine days of tomatoes and snap beans. I will grate the celeriac and fold in a remoulade to pair with braised fennel and lentils with carrots dressed in mustard for women I see too rarely this afternoon. If I can find the celeriac.

My favorite farmer has elephant and watermelon radishes, no celeriac, and next to me, a woman opens her egg carton to gloat about how beautiful the Araucana blue and greens are. She touches one of the eggs, my hand twitches, and I quickly catch the farmer’s eye - Are there any eggs left? - He sells me the final dozen they have brought for today, and I feel the loathing around me in line as I place my prize carefully at the top of the cloth bag. Now to the stand with piles of vegetables, some of them labeled correctly, to continue the search. Here we are, big celery roots, dirt still in the whiskers at the end. Small bag? he says. No, I have mine.

I turn to leave and see them, the family from Long Island that brings incredible seafood when they show, which isn’t often. Like someone you see across a crowded room and fervently hope is as gorgeous up close and as a person, I try not to get too excited. I walk casually toward the blue plastic basket. Yes, those are what I thought they were. Stay calm. Do not buy the whole basket. Check your cash. Not enough. (This is why I don’t wear any jewelry to the market. I would pawn anything shiny in this situation. I recognize I have a problem.)

Leaving the market, walking down the street, jittery. I am standing in front of some ATM punching in numbers. I am back at the blue basket. (Told you I was a junkie.) Dozen and a half, please, and a bag of mussels. To a passing glance, they almost look like oysters, and that’s the trick. I want to grab people - uncinch their jacket hoods and earmuffs - and whisper the secret. In this country, scallops are separated from their shells, dozens of eyes, and bright orange roe long before they arrive to the fishmonger. I think that’s what gets me, we don’t even know that those scallops are processed. Opened at the table this afternoon, I will sear a few to sauce with butter, and very late tonight I will eat at least one raw, which is dangerous, as the best things often are.

Jace, David Wade, Cassie and Audrey said thanks.

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Kristen Taylor

drinker of raw milk, founder/editor of @saucymag, call me @kthread

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