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The Art of Eating no. 91 cover colored square  Editor’s Letter

colored square  The Fish Pepper of Maryland  Sam Hiersteiner
        A particular hot pepper is an essential
        component of Chesapeake Bay cuisine.

colored square  Real Old-Fashioned Blanquette de Veau  Jamie Schler
        The classic veal dish is at the center of French
        home cooking.

colored square   Rooted in Verduno: A Glass of Pelaverga  Levi Dalton
        A little-known Italian wine is a satisfying
        everyday red.

colored square  New American Chocolate Makers   Rebecca Flint Marx
        The new wave of small-scale bean to bar makers is
        producing some of the finest chocolate ever.

colored square  Babas and Savarins  James MacGuire
        The classic yeast-raised desserts.

colored square  A New England Pot of Beans: Yellow Eyes and Marfax
        Melissa Pasanen
        The bean you choose makes all the difference to
        traditional baked beans.

colored square  Why This Bottle, Really?
        Lars Carlberg on Dhroner Hofberg Riesling
             Feinherb (Mosel) from A.J. Adam
        Katherine Cole on Pommard (Burgundy) from
             Huber-Verdereau

colored square  Notes and Resources
        The Feiring Line  Edward Behr
        The Donabe Rice Cooker  Edward Behr

colored square  Six Addresses
        Saigon  Georgia Freedman

colored square  Restaurants
        Lowell, Massachusetts: Dave Cook on Cote’s Market
        New Orleans: Eric Lolis Elie on Commander’s
             Palace and Galatoire’s

colored square  Books
        Edward Behr on Oretta Zanini De Vita’s Popes, Peasants,
             and Shepherds
        Winnie Yang on Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Tofu
        Yukari Sakamoto on Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s
             Japanese Farm Food
        Sarah K. Khan on Naomi Duguid’s Burma
        Short List: The Perfect Peach, The Kimchi
             Cookbook, Bread, and Sherry, Manzanilla
             & Montilla

 Cover Fish Out of Water by Mikel Jaso

The Boqueria, on the Rambla in Barcelona, is one of the world’s great food markets. Its origins go back to the 13th century. When you’re there, it feels like the place to be, a center of life. The array of foods is enormous  — produce, bread, cheeses, fresh meats, ham and sausages, fish, including superb baccalà (which is important in the surrounding region of Catalonia). At several bars, besides coffee, wine, beer, brandy, you can order delicious dishes cooked right there. You know where you are from the food, the people, the building, the entire experience. The market is so big and vital you feel it has a soul.

When Paris lost its Halles, established in that location in 1137, the center of the city was never the same. Over three days in the winter of 1969, the wholesalers moved outside the city to the vast space at Rungis (now the largest market of its kind in the world) and the old market became a park and a dispiriting, partly underground mall (both currently being redeveloped). The city today has 13 covered markets and 69 open-air ones, which typically set up two mornings a week and disappear again while you’re at lunch.

New York, with a population more than three and a half times that of Paris, is at a distance with its 54 admirable open-air Greenmarkets. It too has a long history of markets. Going back to the 17th century, some of the city’s market buildings were constructed parallel to the shore on piles at the water’s edge. Two of them survive, the ones that housed the Fulton Fish Market until 2005, when it moved to Hunt’s Point in the Bronx (a fish market second in size only to Tokyo’s Tsukiji). Ever since, the buildings have lain empty. The New Market Building dates from 1939, replacing one erected in 1904. The Old Market Building, also called the Tin Building, dates from 1907. It’s the fourth market building on its site; the first was the original fish sellers’ building of the 1830s.

The main advocate for saving the two buildings and filling them with a great market is itself a market: the New Amsterdam Market, a recent phenomenon, for now held outdoors monthly near the old Fulton Fish Market. It’s extraordinary and very current, packed with young producers, purveyors, and customers. It was immediately beloved by New Yorkers, and it’s exactly what should fill the old buildings.

But the real estate industry is powerful in New York, and there’s a danger that the buildings will be swallowed up. The New York City Council has equivocated, seeming to favor a small market, run by a shopping mall developer, that might be no better than a food court. Not the New Amsterdam Market at all. As of this writing, the fate of the buildings is unclear.

A great market sets a neighborhood apart and gives value to the real estate around it, attracting people from all over the city and beyond. A great city needs a great market. And great markets belong in buildings with history and force.

Edward Behr
May 2013


 

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