I have a not-so secret love of food markets. Whether I am tasting sourwood honey with my father at the Farmer’s Market in Raleigh, North Carolina, being jostled along by the crowd in the Boquería in Barcelona or clutching my heavy bag of goods at the large central market in Cholula, Mexico, I never feel that I am finished seeing all the riches that are on display. Each market has its own flavors, smells and visions that offer both potential for creation and pleasure to the palate.
The market located close to the “Zocalo” (center) of Cholula, Mexico is probably the market that I have known the longest. The vegetables are carefully and artfully arranged at each stand to attract the most buyers possible. As you walk through, the vendors call out asking what you would like to buy. The Roma tomatoes as well as the little green tomatoes with their husks still attached are out front. The “nopales” (cactus leaves) are carefully lined up and have recently had the needles cut off. A colorless liquid similar to the sticky liquid found in okra, dots the tender green leaves. Different colors of corn are also on display as well as carrots, peas and green leafy vegetables. The green leafy vegetables such as spinach and a type of chard are sold by bunches called “manojos” (a handful).