Saturday, January 3, 2009

Aimez-vous la norriture?





I'm in France for all of two days and what I want to talk about right now is food.

I figure that's a good theme, because everything else is really exciting and slightly overwhelming, and I just have been thinking about food for the past forty-eight hours, I guess. The food on the flight was notable enough. I flew British Airways first to London, then to Paris, and on the first, much longer flight, they served dinner. More importantly, they served miniature bottles of wine with dinner! Thus, I happily had my first legal consummation of alcohol 35,000 feet in the air.

Breakfast, which I ate on the flight from London to Paris, was less enjoyable. The ice-cold, plastic-wrapped sandwich that only had the appetizing words "Bacon egg mushroom use before Jan 2" printed on it was not the best way to start the day, but my grumbling stomach said otherwise.

When I finally made it to Paris, both my caffeine addiction and the paltry amount of sleep I got during my travels begged me to spend a couple euros on un grand cafe. Sadly, unlike America, that means coffee in a very small cup. I was too scared to ask where the milk or sugar was, so I drank it black, all while freezing for four hours in the train station to wait for the TGV to Montpellier.

When I arrived in Montpellier, my host mom and her daughter picked me up and we drove back to her apartment. Soon, I had my first real meal in France - Ratatouille and rice! And it was delicious. The daughter and mother were surprised when I told them that the drinking age in the US is 21, because French people begin drinking - mostly wine, I think - much earlier, with their families, etc. Afterwards, I thought we were finished, but then they brought out a plate of different cheeses and we ate them with a baguette. They said that they do this after every dinner, which was interesting, because I knew cheese was big here, but not that big. Still, it's a good thing - the cheese was quite good.

And tonight, for dinner, the other members of my host mom's family - the father, brother, and his friend - came over for Le Reveillon (I think? or l'Epiphenie?) and to eat la galette des Rois, which is a round, sweet pastry with a plastic figurine hidden inside. Since I was the youngest at the table, I got to turn around and decide who got each slice. My host mom found the figurine, or la feve, and got to wear a paper crown that came with the cake. "La Reine, La Reine!" her son said as he put the crown on her head: "The Queen!"

C'est tout. I am sleepy after visiting a Cuban bar, and I'm sure there will be much to write soon.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Great blog, Jill! I love your comments and observations. I was interested to see that your host family served ratatouille -- a favorite dish of mine to make, but not with rice... now I know. You probably now know that ordering a cafe au lait will provide the milk, and a larger cup! Enjoy. I'll look forward to reading more. Au revoir and bon chance!