Pictured is what happens if you answer to a French friend “Yes, we do need some potatoes.” That’s 20 kilograms of potatoes right there in my house. Small children weigh less.
Once a year, a man knocks on the doors of houses in Saint Jean de Sixt selling fruit and vegies. He’s not carrying them around in a box or anything like that. No, he has a large truck packed with two varieties of potatoes and three types of apples. He’s serious about selling; so serious, in fact, that my French friend had to buy two sacks of potatoes because “most people buy a minimum of 50kg” and the salesman was being nice to him. Potatoes have always been one of the staples around the Aravis, with dishes such as tartiflette and raclette rating as tourist attractions in La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand. I’m pretty sure that the salesman was just being a salesman and if my French friend had said “No thanks – I only need one bag,” the man would have sold just the one. And at €1.80/kg, they’re not at any sort of discount.
But I’m not complaining. I think it’s charming that the only door-to-door salespeople I ever see here are either selling fruit and vegies in Autumn or furniture in Spring. It may even be the same man. They both have a white truck and look a bit rugged, and that’s the other thing I love about them: they’re not out to impress with appearances. They just want to sell their goods. Also, they don’t have any change. None.
One cheque for €36 later, I have two big sacks of potatoes and a whole stash of potato recipes to try out. The good news is the potatoes taste great (guess what I cooked for dinner last night). I can’t help feeling a bit like Bubba from Forest Gump, who can only converse about shrimp recipes. Replace shrimp with potatoes and I’m your girl.