Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Mmm French food

It's turned winter here and I suddenly feel thrown into a Dicken's novel, especially walking through Vieux Lyon (Old Town), with its cobblestone streets and street-side crêpe and hot wine vendors. It's beautiful here too. As an Oregonian, I never see the sun during the months from October to May, but here, even though it's very cold, the sunlight hits the neighborhood of Croix Rousse on the hill and brings out the beautiful orange and cream buildings against the bright blue sky.

The last two weeks, there were two national holidays that happened to fall on one of the only three days I have classes, so I had two two-day weeks in a row. I know: rough. But I wish I would've figured that out before and planned a trip somewhere. Somehow the days flew by anyway and I found myself Monday morning having not done any homework and feeling exhausted.

Yesterday morning I had another meeting with the people at Le Progrès to figure out what exactly I'm doing for my internship. I'm getting the impression now that the Big Boss said "yes" to me so now all the peons have to figure out how it'll work and don't really feel motivated to do it. But we finally have a contract from November to June, so at the least, I'll have a little piece of paper to say I had an internship even if, in reality, I never do anything.

Okay, but what I really wanted to talk about in this entry is....

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Food.

I've tasted so many strange and interesting things here and I've decided to devote this entry to the things I will miss and the things I will try to bring with me upon my return.

#1. has to be Kebabs. First, put all images of shish-kebabs out of your mind. Then imagine a warm thick pita bread with hot flakes of seasoned lamb that's just been carved off a rotating roast. Add lettuce and tomato if you want (I don't). Sauce (herb-mayonnaise called Tartar is my favorite). If you're feeling rich add fries (put in the kebab usually, not on the side) and/or a coke for 50 cents each. 
I can't even stand the mention of a kebab without generating a massive craving. And it doesn't help that there are easily a dozen places to get one within a kilometer of my house. Literally.

#2. Cheese. Comté from a specific booth in the open air market on the bank of the Saône is my absolute favorite and a good chèvre comes a close second.

#3. Fromage Blanc. Okay. There's no way I can describe this to someone who hasn't tried it in a way that sounds appealing, so you're just going to have to trust that it's good. Fromage Blanc is kinda like sour cream but not as sour nor thick and comes in a big tub that proudly annouces that it is either 20 or 40 percent fat, depending on which one you buy. Slop it in a bowl, add sugar or salt to taste and eat.

#4. Semoule. My African friends introduced me to this dish and as it's cheap as dirt, I'm all about it. Boil a few cups of water, add a few cups of semolina (yellowish processed wheat that spagetti's made from) and what I think is potato starch while stirring until firm and elastic. Eat. You know that stuff you see poor Africans eating with their hands on TV? It's that. But it's not that bad as a side dish.

#5. Anything made by LU. LU is a cookie company, but oh so much more. My favorite are PIM'S: a thin, soft sponge cake cookie with either marmalade, raspberry jam or coconut mousse and then a sheild of dark chocolate on top.

#6. Pizza. Even Domino's and frozen grocery store-brand pizza rocks the world of any pizza I've tasted in America. It's gotta be the cheese, but it just tastes so gourmet. 

There's others, but I can't think of them at the moment. More to follow.

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