One A Day – 648
Fresh, clean & proud
Overflowing with fresh cheeses & nopales
Aisle of Meat
- Mercado Independencia
- Centro, Morelia, Michoacán, México
- May 31, 2015
- Copyright, all rights reserved
I know some of this is a little hard to understand for people who view it from a world of precut and prepackaged meat products. In the supermarket world, you don’t ask your butcher for a kilo of pork ribs and then select the side you want it cut from. In supermarkets, you don’t know how meats were handled, you can’t smell it through the plastic (unless it is really bad) and you can’t tell the butcher to trim or not trim fat and sinew. The mercado doesn’t smell bad, the meat is fresh and handled well. The counters are wiped down regularly, and the stock moves quickly. You can get virtually anything you want, cut the way you want and if they don’t have it ready for you immediately, they will tell you when they can have it or who else can get it for you.
I’m cooking for one – so a lot of things I might want to do are simply not practical. But, being able to tell the butcher what I want and get things cut to a size for my needs is a serious plus. I don’t have to buy a large package to get a good price and I can ask for options like having a piece boned but keeping the bones for a stock. There are a lot of practical options in a mercado, but it does depend on a population that knows how to cook and handle fresh products. Increasingly, young people in Mexico don’t have the time or would rather have foods closer to “ready to eat” than you can find here. I hope the expertise and traditions continue, but it is hard to know if it can compete with an increasingly industrialized marketplace.
Some of the things you should notice in the photos: Buyers are carrying their own reusable bags. You can get plastic bags from the vendors, but carrying them around isn’t practical in the market. Areas of the market are generally organized into specialities – so the butchers are together, the vegetable sellers and the fish mongers are separated, hardware vendors and dry goods vendors have their own areas. It has been decades since the market was laid out so there are overlaps, but generally you find your way around by looking for the area where the things you need are sold. Every stall is a fully contained business with space leased from the city but the electricity, counters, tools, etc. all paid for by the vendors.
If you are not overwhelmed by now, come back tomorrow for another group of photos. There aren’t a lot of photos in this set, I was in a hurry, but I will return soon to the mercado. Part of this was an experiment to see how people would react to someone with a camera and monopod taking their pictures. No one had a problem, so – I will return.