Sunday, October 18, 2009

Get your fresh rabbits right here!

Rita didn't mention this in her posting on the new piece of furniture, but we stayed in Liège while we were doing all that shopping last weekend. Liège bills itself as having the "longest Sunday market in all of Europe." It certainly felt like it. It took forever to go from one end to the other, but of course we were rocking back and forth or standing still much of the time. So I mapped it out when we got home, and it runs for about 1.5 km along the Meuse River. The first photo shows just the beginning. Once you get over how big it is, though, there are surprisingly few different things for sale. Don't get me wrong! There are lots of stalls selling lots of things, but a lot of them sell the same thing as the 20 guys you've already inched past. The basic categories are clothing, food, and housewares. And the clothing breaks downs into socks or stockings, jeans, jackets, boots, boots, or boots. Or boots.

Even this guy selling…ummm, really fresh poultry (and rabbits, which Europeans tend to consider almost poultry) was not unique. There were lots of places selling food to eat right there. Not this one, but Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian (of course), and regular Belgian fry shacks.

Speaking of fry shacks, I noticed a linguistic difference between Mons and Liège. A few years ago the French-language authorities here in Belgium tried to get everyone to give up some of their Belgicisms and switch to "pure" French words. It was a failure. The only change that stuck was friterie, which replaced the old word friture. My theory is that that's because friture is too close to the Flemish word for a fry shack: frituur. But I noticed that the Liègeois still use friture.

So what is a friterie or a friture…or a frituur? It's a little stand with a bunch of oil vats where they make the world's best french fries and greasiest food. They offer a variety of processed meat products, little brochettes of meat, and meat-like patties, all of which are cooked by being dropped in the fryer. I once had one made of bacon. Yes, doctor, I ate deep-fried bacon. But don't worry. I washed it down with plenty of beer.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

wait, what about that market in provence where we got the delicious olives (i know, they're everywhere down there) and then went to the med to eat the food. that was pretty long, too.

David said...

maybe it was 1.4 km long…

Gene H. said...

Given your description of the grease and beer, one wonders how experts can still claim Europeans have way better diets than the fat sedentary Americans.