This morning I thought that it was definitely time to go to the Central Market again. Shopping there means I can buy in bulk many of the things I buy prepackaged at the supermarket. Furthermore, most of those kinds of products are ones which are not monopolised by unethical companies so even if I don't know the company providing the product it's going to be okay. I can go into Grains and Goodies with bottles, jars and bags in hand and buy up big without guilt. I live about 20kms from the Market so shopping there raises issues of car emissions. It's a case of packaging versus petrol. It's not really guilt-free after all.
I live in a nice area. The people around me love it. I don't. It's not that their judgement is wrong and mine is right or anything. It's that I live in the 'burbs and essentially I'm an urbanite. For me it's a case of shopping at my bland and homogenised local shops week in and week out or branching out every so often - or more - and going to the market to be jostled by the crowd, shop alongside immigrants from all over the world, inhale the smell of the market and, if you've lived in Adelaide you know that smell, listen to the stallholders try to hawk their wares and experience sensory overload.
We arrived in Adelaide forty one years ago and my love affair with the market began on our first trip there. At first it was due to the warm cinnamon donuts and raspberry cordial my sister and I were bribed with to behave while my parents shopped.
During my high school years we lived on the outskirts of the city and I went to school for the first three years next door to the market. I was able during that time to provide myself with my beloved donuts and cordial. One year, for whatever reason, we had to have our Drama lessons in a big room next to the car-park above the market. I can still remember walking up the street and then being assailed by that familiar smell as we climbed the stairs.
Later I moved schools but worked at the market every Friday night after school. In the time I had to kill between finishing school and starting work I would wander around drinking in the sights and smells. No need to buy treats, I worked at a continental deli/coffee shop where I would eat hungarian salami sandwiches on rye bread, followed by a Baci chocolate.
During those years my mother and sister would get up early on a Saturday morning, shop at the market and be home before I even got up. They'd finish their shopping with breakfast at Lucias. Mama Lucia was serving cappuccinos to the Adelaide public before any of them could even spell or say it. It's still there and has taken over the former Athens deli next door.
When Husband and I set up house together we lived near the market and shopped there every Friday night. Adelaide was changing by then. The Mediterranean and Eastern Europeans stallholders were being added to by our ever-increasing Vietnamese population. Chinese supermarkets sprung up all over the market and eventually Chinatown was born.
Teenage Daughter had her first trip to the market at three weeks old. Our favourite stall-holders had taken possession of my expanding belly and couldn't wait to see her. When she was an only child, despite the distance to the market, I took her every week. We stopped going on Friday nights; the two of us went during the day without Husband. We ate lunch every week at Malacca Corner where she'd share my Hokkien Mee and Jasmine tea. When she'd finished she'd quietly go and tell the former owner and he'd give her a sweet. Anyone remember that lovely old man? I tried to take Teenage Son. We went a few times but never got into the same routine. He loves it, though, having been those few times.
I think it's probably six of one and half a dozen of another as to the ethics and eco-friendliness of shopping at the market. If it's not going to add to the problem then that's good enough for me.