Read, Write, Run, Roam

Hvala, pijace: Belgrade’s Green Markets + Thanksgiving Playlist


Lonely pineapple at the pijaca...

Before Christmas, Santa makes a list and checks it twice…but two days before Thanksgiving, Real Housewives make grocery lists and check them ten times before the Big Day. As a reference, I give you the Thanksgiving of 2007, when I sent Muz out for items on an hourly basis before and on Turkey Day. (Secret: I also sent him out because he was driving me crazy with his cooking “suggestions.”) We’re not cooking this Thanksgiving, so I am not my usual “do we have enough potatoes?!?!?” self.

If I was cooking on Thursday, you can bet I’d be at a green market, or pijaca, every day. They’re all over the city, so most people live close to one. They’re open seven days a week and most of the food is local and organic. I don’t know if Serbians are morally opposed to pesticides or too cheap to use them—people claim both-but there’s no doubt that the produce is fresh and much better than what you’d get at most American grocery stores.

If root vegetables aren’t your thing, some stands offer tropical fruits like kiwis, mangoes and bananas. I’ve often noticed a sole pineapple displayed in the tropical stalls and in grocery stores. (Why one? Who buys it?) Just outside of the market there are buildings selling bread, meat, and fish. There’s also a section for household goods and random trinkets. Guidebooks might suggest bargaining at the markets but unless you’re buying several kilos, I wouldn’t do it. Prices are low, and the money is usually going straight to the farm/family. Besides, there doesn’t seem to be a bargaining culture in Belgrade.

I’m not making grocery lists this year but I am making my Thanksgiving playlist, which I’m happy to share. Send any additional songs in the comments.

RHOB Thanksgiving Mix

  1. Pass the Peas-Maceo Parker
  2. Hungry Heart-Springsteen
  3. Hungry Like a Wolf-Duran Duran (my least favorite song for the mix, but you can’t beat the title)
  4. Praise You-Fatboy Slim
  5. Gone ‘Til November-Wyclef Jean
  6. Beans and Cornbread-Louis Jordan
  7. All that Meat and No Potatoes-Fats Waller
  8. Thanksgiving-Charles Earland
  9. Thank you-Sky and the Family Stone
  10. I Thank You-Sam and Dave
  11. Lovely Day-Bill Withers
  12. Save Room-John Legend
  13. Stuffy Turkey-Thelonius Monk
  14. Train Home-Chris Smither
  15. Cold December-Matt Nathanson
  16. Homeward Bound-Simon and Garfunkel
  17. Linger-the Cranberries
  18. Truckin’-Grateful Dead (this is the oddest one on the playlist, but I like it)
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