Queen of the Feira

March 11, 2010

I went with Edite today to the feira in the Praca Charles Miller.  She’s gone every Thursday for the last forty years to buy all of her fruits and vegetables, meat, and eggs.  I’ve written about the feira before, when we went with Elen, and other feiras in Brazil that we’ve been to. They’re uniformly gorgeous, with tables of fresh, leafy lettuces, deep purple eggplants, wooden crates of tomatoes and grapes, guavas sliced open like geodes to reveal their fleshy pink insides.  There are tables of eggs, brown and white ones, piles of young coconuts, glistening meats and fishes and bins of olives.  At one end of the market there were flowers, but no too many, since there’s been so much rain here lately.

Edite knows everyone.  Every vendor, the guy that helps park and watch the cars.  She likes the Japanese women who sell the vegetables and they go through each kind, a dialogue about what’s fresh and what’s not.  Edite gives her list, studies a few glistening lettuce leaves and then walks away to the tomato guy while the Japanese woman rounds up her order.  The tomato guy hands me a perfectly ripe plum tomato to check for sweetness.  It’s the most tomato-y tasting tomato I’ve had in some time, and it makes me sad that I’m going back to New York soon to the world of tasteless, mealy winter tomatoes.  She gives her order there, too.  The fruit man has us try different types of grapes, mostly Brasileiro grapes, but some Chilean ones, and Edite orders there as well–papayas for breakfast in the morning, a pineapple, grapes, a kilo of small, jewel-like plums, deep purple and juicy.  The egg guy puts together a flat of thirty eggs, tying them up with twine, and the banana guy, in his raspy voice, remembers me from when I came with Elen and hands me a bunch of small bananas, each the size of my thumb.  Edite chats with all of them, and we work our way back up the feira to pay each vendor, make sure everything is there.  When I try to help carry the packages, it’s clear my help isn’t necessary, the blue-vested man who watches the cars is on the case, collecting everything.

As we were paying at one stall, we ran into the chef of a very good French restaurant down the street on Rua Bahia who was getting interviewed for the Sunday magazine of Folha de Sao Paulo, the city’s biggest newspaper.  Edite chatted with him and talked about how much she loved his restaurant.  The reporter interviewed us and took down our information, in a mixture of Portuguese and English and we talked about journalism.  The photographer took our picture, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to wind up in the newspaper.

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One Response to “Queen of the Feira”

  1. Edite said

    Brooke, you are so nice, but I´m not really everything you said. How can I thank you?
    P.S. About the feira, she understood and described exactly what it is!!!!!!!!
    She´s the queen of the blogs.Love.beijão

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