In the markets shopping was easy. Everything was visible, touchable and there was no packaging. The shredded fresh ginger was both a cooking ingredient and a remedy for a broad range of symptoms. There traditional tribes persons prepared, scaled and sold the products.
Dried beans of every imaginable variety were bagged for presentation as the women compared quality, texture and degrees of dehydration with an eye to making a sale. From tiny lentils to bold broad beans this focused seller was ready to deliver. Have you seen this variety in the isles of a supermarket?
In a small town, a chef operating with an over-worked generator, took the time to teach a team of visitors how to cook. The surgical appearance of the team, the gloved hands, the individual seasoning stations all contributed to the hands on learning. Using rice flour and frying fish in banana leaves as well as cutting in one inch pieces were all subtle changes in habit. What really stood out was the focus on the texture of the foods prior to cooking. A love for preservation of goodness. Flavourful.
The isles of the market spread before us like a feast. Colour was obvious. Scent was more obvious, especially in the meat and fish isles. The spaces in the isles occupied by corn and peanut roasters and the displays rearranged every five minutes to allow the carts to pass the too narrow isles. The water from the last rain storm running across the ground in red rivulets.
Then there were multiple displays of food for offering. Food prepared with braids, arrangements and passion for presentation at the altars of the community faithful. Food was gift and gifted! Food was loved and beloved! Food was presented for sale and for serving. Food was the way of life.