February 21, 2006

Return to the Old World

After a long hiatus from my blog, I have returned. I just spent 2 weeks in the US of A and was welcomed back to Paris with its usual folded arms, cloudy sky and light rain. Ahh, belle Paris. It is good to be back, though. Unfortunately, my jetlag forced me to wait a full 24 hours before I could manage to go over to my favorite bakery, Le Coquelicot, and bring home a still-warm baguette. Yum! Oh, how I’ve missed you!

Oddly enough, I wasn’t very inspired by food when I was home. With a few amazing exceptions, I could have done without most of what I ate at restaurants. I’ve decided that, despite the array of choices, most things taste the same. We Americans love to have choices as long as they are within a very thin set of parameters. Bill Bryson has a funny essay about American’s “strange, unshakeable attachment to predictable uniformity” in his book, Notes from a Big Country, if you should be interested.

Take sliced ham, turkey or other “cold cuts” you can buy at most supermarkets. There are a million varieties: peppered-turkey, Cajun turkey, smoked honey turkey, roasted brown sugar ham, smoked ham, rosemary smoked ham, pepper smoked ham, etc. The options are endless. The same goes for cheeses. The cheese department’s slogan must be “All different colors but just one taste!” I challenge any American to sample sandwiches made with different cheeses and actually identify which cheese they are eating. I’m guessing most of us couldn’t tell the Swiss from the provolone. Every sandwich I had tasted like one thing…meat. Maybe this is just evident for me since meat is pretty much the last thing I taste on French sandwiches. It made my taste buds kinda numb.

Okay, I don’t want to just complain here. I know that in America you can find just about anything you want if you look hard enough. There are great quality cheeses, meats, yogurt, etc. It’s only if you skim the surface that you’ll be disappointed. Or buy anything with Kraft on the label. (To continue just a bit with my rant on Kraft, did you know they make a gaucamole dip that doesn't contain ANY avocados?! That is really just amazing.) I did eat some really yummy food when I was home. For instance, some really good Chicago style stuffed pizza and a huge burrito from Panchero’s that made me smile. I also had the most amazing veggie-filled crêpes that I will have to report more on later. Here are a few more things that I didn’t even know I missed:

Cottage Cheese. I don’t know when I started liking it, but I ate almost a whole container in a week. I consider it a food that walks the line between being delicious and repulsive, so when I’m leaning towards delicious, I really go for it. Cottage cheese is really good for you, too! I eat it with lots of black pepper.

My mom’s cinnamon bread. This used to be only a Christmas-time treat, but my mom has taken to making it throughout the year now. It’s the perfect breakfast.

Fruit Smoothies. Especially the ones at Paul's parents' house, made with soy yogurt and soy protein and the perfect amount of ice (not too much).

Bagels and Cream Cheese. Sesame ones with veggie cream cheese are the best in my book.

Okay, all for now. Why is it so hard to find inspiration in the kitchen the week after a vacation?!?

1 comment:

emily said...

finally! you're back up and running. i was starting to wilt without my regular installments from chez megane. don't fret, my pet, you'll find your flash soon.
ps. LOVE the "folded arms" analogy.