So, I spend a lot of time on my cross-Pacific plane rides watching the adventures of various traveling chefs - Anthony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay. Usually I end up drooling over the recipes and frantically scrawling down notes to take home to my own kitchen. Most recently, however, I watched Jamie Oliver on a trip to the French Pyrenees and Anthony Bourdain in Provence.
Photo by Brian Gibson
What struck me in both locations was not only the fresh farmer's produce that was so easy to come by, but also that none of the locals are walking around with a wad of folded cloth bags with the Ralphs or Vons logos on them (or whatever the French equivalents are). Everyone is carrying a practical, sustainable, yet beautiful market tote of some sort. Now, I'm not going to run out and throw away all of my super ugly freebie reuseable bags, but I think there is something to be said for good sound design for practical items. Why not do a little self-curating and get a bag that's nice to look at, that you wouldn't mind leaving by your front door for a bit? In the end, if you spend a little dough on one of these I think you'll end up with a product that outlasts those papery-fabric reuseable things and outperforms it as well.
Three options for your traditional french market tote (I think the leather might be friendlier on the hands):
Maison de Kristine
The classic string market tote from Kir DeVries for those of you who absolutely must have something foldable and compact
The classic LL Bean Boat and Tote, a workhorse from grocery to kitchen, to beach, to sleepover.