In recapping our recent trip to Paris, where better to start than with the stomach? Because let's face it, this traveler is all about her next meal. And one of the great things I discovered on this trip was that the my traveling companion, i.e. the person who makes pasta by breaking up spaghetti and putting it into a small sauce pan of not-yet-boiling water and turns it on medium and stirs it a little bit and then refuses to admit the fundamental error of his ways when chided by telling me that I "...don't understand the physics of cooking", the person who had to be restrained from picking a hunk of tunafish off the sidewalk from a sandwich he'd been eating while walking at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, that person is now all about la bonne chère, or the joy of mealtime in France.
Although I am truly a croissant hag and will go to the ends of the earth for a good one, my first love in the French breakfast pastry department is the pain au raisin. Something about the fact that you can pull it apart in order to reveal its inner raisin and sugar goo really sends me. My traveling companion, being a virtuous Protestant that would not be out of place in Calvin's Geneva, "doesn't like sweets" and prefers protein for breakfast. Whatevah Mr. Principles, more for me, please!
Is there anything more pleasing than buying fruit at a fruitstand? Short of picking it yourself, there is no greater delight for this traveler. Let's just say that one day I maxed out so seriously on strawberries, as in a eating whole kilo of them by myself maxed out, that I woke up with a rash on my leg, thereby sending me to my truly favorite place to shop, la French pharmacie!
As a true slacker in every sense of the word, I must say that I was made for the café lifestyle. We spent a lot of time in cafés and I do believe that the DRMC now finally gets it as well. One of the first things he noticed was how rare it is to see people walking around with to-go cups of coffee. I explained to him that although
I am a complete and total sucker for any retro-esque, hand-painted sign. If you hang one outside your establishment, no matter how sucky it might be, the likelihood of me entering it is very, very high.
No discussion of French food would be complete without a mention of the crowning glory of every good meal, the cheese plate. Mr. "I don't eat sweets" was blown away by the cheese course and did himself in with superlatives each time we were served a plateau de fromages. If you ever saw "What About Bob?", just think of the scene where Bob is eating Faye's fried chicken ("mmmmmm......aaahhhhh....ooooooohhh") and you get the picture. Sure I love the cheese too, but if it's a choice between crème brûlée and cheese, well...
Someone in this household has been bit by the traveling bug. I do believe that this person has fallen hard--he already had a love for Sartre (old skool, y'all), Foucault's panopticon, Rodin and Messiaen, but when I explained to him that the separation of church and state is one of the founding principles of the French Republic, well that just sealed the deal. We have a bona fide francophile on our hands now. And it will likely play in to my hands for a return visit. Air France is also helping out with this, as due to an airline error, my husband got bumped from his non-direct flight to JFK, and was not only put on a direct flight but was given a 300 euro voucher to fly on Air France again. Isn't that worth like $11,000 at this point? He claims that next time (next time!) he'd like to visit different regions of France and see the rest of the country. *le sigh*
Next post: a finished object!
*food, chow, grub, vittles, tender morsels