In Chile

I arrived in Chile this morning; I’m here to give a talk at the World Congress of the World Association of Chefs Societies. It has been a long day, but in a good way.

While out walking, I stumbled into a little market–more a row of vendors along the river–one of my favorite things to find. I happened to get there late in the day, as many stalls were closing up. In addition to seeing the biggest ears of corn of my life, I was struck by what seemed like the accepted practice of leaving all the unusable produce on the sidewalk. image by erjkprunczyk via Creative Commons

I asked the woman who sold me a few plums about it. From what I understood, the city would clean it up. But every day?

They have some help. When I left, a few men were picking through the remains, some of which seemed edible, but barely. Not all of the stuff had been edible–there were many husks from the aforementioned grande corn. But there were plenty of old peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and cucmbers.

An image I won’t soon forget is of a man squatting and sipping the juice from a halved cantaloupe. He was making the fruit liquidy with a stick and then drinking it. Now that’s getting the most out of food.

One final thought–Chilean fruit is amazing. Especially when it hasn’t been airlifted to other countries.

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