Bon Appetit

September 7, 2009

There are few things that I do not love about France, which means that the list of things I adore is a long one, that seems to grow every day. For example I plan to very soon have an entire post about bicycles-once I have some suitable pictures and riding experience. But I feel that once again, I have to stick to what I at this point know best. Comme toujours, the food.

This is partly because I eat every day, (go figure) and I eat a lot of really fabulous things, so I have an ever growing bank of material on the subject. And also, I have quite a few photos as well, which I think make reading much more entertaining no? So here it goes, welcome to my cooking class, and the market!

Cooking Class Enjoying the Garden

Cooking Class Enjoying the Garden

Flipping the Tarte Tatin!

Flipping the Tarte Tatin!

A Finished Tarte Tatin

A Finished Tarte Tatin

As you can see, this is the kind of cooking class that anyone would gladly take.  We spent an hour and a half in a gorgeous house peeling apples, making caramel, and lovingly tucking the pastry (store bought, because it takes around 6 hours to make from scratch) onto the cored apple halves. We were split into 2 groups of 5 students, and while we waited for our tarts to bake we sat in the garden, enjoying the lovely flowers and sipping cider out of champagne glasses-Madame kindly corrected our bottle opening and pouring skills, exclaiming in horror at our uncouth American ways. It was lovely! The best part was watching the two unfortunate students who had the task of flipping the finished tarts without spilling all of the delicious liquid caramel-Madame explained that the drips were the reason she had us eat outside and not in the house. I love that the French are unapologetic when it comes to just about everything-it’s very different from America, where one constantly has to explain in a nice way why he/she is acting in a certain way. There are no qualms in France about saying “I don’t want you to do X because you’ll mess up my floor/food/evening/etc”.  And then everyone moves on and has a wonderful time all the same.  Just as we did in our cooking class. We served the warm tart with crème fraiche mixed with cinnamon, and of course another glass of cider!

Leaving the house after enjoying my Tarte Tatin, I thought that I could in no way be hungry, but spending just a few minutes at the market before my camera died persuaded me otherwise. How could I not be drawn to the heirloom tomatoes, or the grapes, or the cheeses and wines…but then there are the dogs, and the flowers, and the fact that in France people honestly carry baskets to do their shopping with. This wonderful fact was reinforced by the man who sold baskets on the corner-while he waited and I watched, he wove another one. Maybe the reason that France seems so ecologically advanced is that in many ways, they never left the simple good old fashioned way of producing food in the first place.

Tomates

Tomates

Salade

Salade

Un Chien

Un Chien

Des Fleurs

Des Fleurs

Celeri

Celeri

There’s not much else to say today, except as a general note, the French do NOT say “Bon Appetit” before a meal. That’s only used in buisiness type situations.  The things I’m learning…

A Bientot!

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6 Responses to “Bon Appetit”

  1. grandma said

    Your grandfather is now reading your bloggs. I had to help him get to it but now he is reading every word. Your pictures are just wonderful! We are having a delightful time visiting France with you.
    Love from both of us.

  2. Dad said

    Great post Victoria! We are gaining weight just reading your descriptions. Love your observations, and Love you…
    Dad

  3. Victoria said

    Thank you so much! It makes me so happy that you all are reading and enjoying my descriptions of my experiences! I really enjoy writing about them for you. Let me know if there are specific things you’re interested in! I love you all so much!

  4. Aurora said

    You guys don’t say bon appetit? I live with une vieille dame and we almost always say it!

  5. Lizzie said

    Bonjour, Chere Victoire!!
    France seems to agree with you – and that’s an understatement. You have obviously fallen in love with Paris and who can blame you with sunshine and friends. I love all your comments about food. For someone so very slim it’s wonderful to hear about crepes and ice creams, never mind the guacamole and sausages! By the way, is the celery in the photo called ‘celeriac’? In Switzerland, where I struggled with french, that is what they called it – but then it was not true ‘Parisian’ french!! Here the weather turned colder today and very windy, but we have had a glorious week or so. Color is coming into the trees – Winter on its way. Food wise I can’t compete with you since I’m madly trying to lose weight after another visit to England. Mum and Dad sound very well and it seems as if Brooks can’t wait to get out of Oakland University! Such is life! Hannah and E D are both well and no doubt in touch with you. Bill and I send you heaps of love and are thrilled that you are having such a good time.
    A Bientot…
    Lizzie

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