Return… and Noel…

As I am sure I have said, I have a reservation on Delta to go back to Sac on January 10.

I am experiencing the usual weird twist of emotion.  Sad to leave but suddenly certain desires, longings actually are springing forth…  My dishwasher.  My tumbling clothes dryer.  My bed! My big condo versus the tiny 400 sq feet here.

Funny.  I am not on this third return thinking of In N Out burger.  I am not thinking of any American food actually, except to turn my nose up a bit.  Ruth Chris would have been top on my list except I discovered Portuguese beef (I failed to mention in my comments about Portugal how wonderful every meal was!  The steak was excellent!)  and I found a great steak house in Paris that I mentioned two months ago.   Heavens! I am not becoming a foodie am I?  No, I doubt it.  But my palette has changed.

I was born in January.  Janus has two heads, one looking back, one looking forward.  I am definitely turned towards 2018.  Yet, there are still days in 2017.  And I must fill them!  Every last exposition must be attended!  Every day trip possible must be taken!

And packing must be considered.  Now after I have sent back books before, I have discovered a cheap rate for books to the US.  Not a fast delivery and no tracking (oh please God) but cheap for 10 pounds of books – only $15.   So books have gone.  Now how to fill these other boxes to keep my declarable items under $800 when I fly back – I can send back $200 per day with no duty charged.

And fit in my French friends for conversation and fun.

And spare me time to just relax so I don’t drop over with exhaustion.

And blog.  Of course.

Sorry to inundate you with blogs today.  But I came back early from the Poste after the books and had the choice of blogging or two museums before a conversation.  It was cold out there.  I decided to stay in.  And of course, with multiple blogs, I left out of the Noel blog what’s happening this weekend.

Two of my favorite chateaus, Maintenon and Vaux-le-Vicomte, are getting all decorated for Christmas.  Visiting Maintenon on Saturday and Vaux on Sunday with an American friend who is leaving next week.  Our last fling.  These are beautiful places during the year, I expect them to be spectacular for Christmas.

Now a quick bite for lunch and off to speak French!

French Eating Habits

So much is written about the French and how they eat a lot but never get fat.  It’s true, you don’t see many overweight French … women at least.  I do see the guy with the beer belly.

Few friends have more than coffee for breakfast.  Maybe a pain du chocolat which is chocolate roll.  And then they have a – at least to me – huge lunch.  Entrée et plat, or plat et desert.  And by plat, I mean what I consider a dinner meal.  Steak. Fish. Big. Heavy.  Sauces.  Yes, you can get a salade but I see the French eating the plat more often.  (And burgers are more often on the menu than in the past.  Burgers have become a gourmet item here.)  And then maybe a snack about 4 when the kids get home from school.  And a big dinner again about 8 or even 9 pm.

Yes, they do walk a lot.  But I think it is more that they don’t snack.  You eat when you are at the table.  And that’s it.  And when you eat that much, your stomach is full!  In fact, for me, uncomfortably full.  Like, I don’t even want chocolate!

I also notice a lack of vegetables compared to the US.  Our steaks are almost always accompanied with potatoes AND veggies.  Here, potatoes are de rigeur.  But not veggies.  It’s a white world.

Yesterday I had a delicious lunch – supreme du poulet.  Chicken breast!  Sauce.  And pasta.  I miss chicken.

At the meal with my French friend at her house with her friends, she served aperitif (asked me what the word was in English – I love it when it’s the same and it surprises them so much!).  Champagne, carrots, dip, raw leek and olives.

The plat was melted cheese- Mont d’Or – a Cantin.  It comes in a wood basket, wine is poured into the center of the cheese, then put in the oven to bake and bubble and get a nice crust.  Then it is served on top of potatoes (HUGE potatoes) with a plate of cold cuts – beef and ham.  And after, a tiny salad.  Then tarts for dessert.  They don’t really make pies here.  But they love tarts.  And everyone finished their plates.

Now that I think about it, it seems like all French are members of the Clean Plate Club.  There’s nothing left.