That, my dear readers, is a photograph of my whisking efforts and of my homemade Hollandaise sauce atop of marche asparagus.
Some of you may shrug. But those that know me well realize how much a miracle this is. I DO NOT COOK. Totally incompetent in the kitchen. But now. In Paris. Something is happening. First the Cordon Bleu. Now I am signed up for a cooking class with Edith’s friend Denis the Real Chef. And then I just come home from the movies and make Hollandaise Sauce like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
Moving to Tuesday… And tonight I am making dinner that consists mostly of vegetables. I have never been enamored with veggies. Most of my friends are. Maybe even all of them. And my dear Ginger has been extolling the Mayo Clinic’s current craze of 5 plus veggies a day. (OK maybe not a craze…) So I am giving it a shot. The marche shopping is actually fun. Feeling confident enough in my language and my pointing ability, I was able to pick out a goodly assortment. Hmm. I guess I am starting a relationship with my vegetable stand. Tonight, lettuce, asparagus, mushrooms and wine soaked chicken. Oops. I suppose I should say marinated chicken. Must master the terms.
Cultural differences… I still find myself doing the hand wave when a driver stops to let me go across the street. And I catch myself. Years of being a friendly American are hard to shake. A French woman wrote in a blog that when the person waves, the driver smirks that it is an American. And how stupid/silly/unnecessary to wave. Hmph. So I shrugged and decided he (the driver) was free to smirk. After all, he could accuse me of smirking right back. And is smirking a bad thing? Well, maybe. Just looked it up. Word dictionary on my iPhone says it is a smile expressing smugness or scorn instead of pleasure. Or to smile derisively. OK. Not necessarily too nice.
But don’t we all smirk at some time? We see something done differently by another culture and we feel smug that we don’t do that?
For me, however, when I say – as I say often when something is done differently here – It’s the French. I really don’t mean to be smug. Some of these differences make more sense than what we Americans do. Some… well, I admit to being clueless. But in fact the difference is unimportant really. I mean really, I have come to the maison de France to live for a while. I figure house rules.
But I will probably still wave thanks for another ten years…
At the D’Orsay while waiting for Shivaun, I had a drink in their café. Very upscale. Bustling. Clearly both French and tourists. Seated next to me was an older woman, very short hair. Think Mia Farrow or Pixie for those with long memories. It was salt and pepper. In spite of the comfortable afternoon weather, she had a long black wool coat on and the requisite wool scarf. It had a hint of geometric design and color but mostly tucked tightly in the coat. When I arrived, she was eating a salad. I was drinking, observing the cafe, and writing. I noticed that she would on occasion lick her knife. I thought, my thst must be a tasty dressing. Then she scrapped something off the side of the bowl the lettuce was in and licked that too. Maybe slices of almonds? And when the bowl was empty,, she continued to scrap the sides with both the knife and fork and lick and lick the utensils. And sometimes she would clutch the knife rather than hold it as a culinary implement. I must admit, it did become a bit worrisome. I realized she was exhibiting what I would call obsessive compulsive behaviors. But I am not a therapist and some who read this blog are. When she scrapped on the bowl hard enough to make a sound, it was strange. I blessed her and was happy to see her leave. The world is made up of interesting people, isn’t it?
Did I say I was speaking French? After my 45 minutes today with Albert, I feel battered, bruised, and hope and clue-less. But he told me emphatically that I am progressing. Right.
Off to an incredibly late showing of a movie with a Meetup Friend who works from 9 to 7 – odd hours but she has a 2 hour lunch. Two hours!
And, surprise! I am back. Did you even miss me? The movie – Le Jardins du Roi – was great. And if you like Versailles – this is a great movie for you. (Just discovered that it is not out in the US til June and there the title is A Little Chaos.) (And I love Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci and Kate Winslett – and also this great actor from Belgium Matthias Schoenaerts!) I will spend some time researching to see how accurate they were but obviously, it’s about the gardens of Versailles – the building of one particular area and fountain. It was VOFST (version originale French sub titres) and the actors were all British with wonderful accents. The gal I went with is from London so she enjoyed it too. But it was easier for her.
Here I am, watching a movie in English with French subtitles – should have been easy just like the last movie. But no. The British accents were killing me. Listening, trying to read the French to see how they translated it but not quite getting the full English because of some of the thick accents. Cor blimey!
AND OMG. In real Paris time it is Wednesday morning. This means I am finally caught up with my blogging. Done with the details of activities. Back to random ramblings and philosophical ponderings. Hurrah! No longer a captive of Word Press.