Nous mangeons (we eat)

When we first arrived to France, the cooking part of my brain suddenly turned off. It was like it was so overwhelmed by all the new words and visuals of the French supermarkets, it started shooting sparks and exclamation marks and question marks out of it’s little brain area. Then, it just blew up.

There were nights when I’d ask B what he wanted to eat (ok, LOTS of nights) because I just had absolutely NO imagination! I think for the first two weeks we ate spaghetti with marinara sauce, pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, steamed artichokes and pre-prepared pizzas because I didn’t know what to cook – oh, and the time that it takes to restock a kitchen was a little time-consuming too. So, anyway, I’d rely on B’s mental recipe repertoire for ideas. He’d suggest steak. Hmm, yeah, sure, but try to find a nice cut of beef here that isn’t a tough as shoe leather. Or, you could buy some filet, but it is like 35Euro for one KG. Super expensive.

But, finally, I think I have come out of the culture shock. Although we aren’t eating moules avec frites (mussles and french fries) or escargot, I’m just learning to be more creative and to channel my Mom and all of her recipes.

Last week when we had a rainy and cool day – I busted out my Mom’s beef chili recipe and I do admit, it turned out pretty good.

The other night I made chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas!

They turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

I made French Toast (no pun intended) with cinnamon-sugar and a huge puffy loaf of brioche bread. Kinnerly has been LOVING that for breakfast – finally after not eating all week long. Accompanying that were super thick pieces of brown-sugar bacon. I haven’t really found “bacon” yet, even though the pork products are EVERYWHERE, and I think I could probably get some thinly sliced poitrine from the boucher, but I am still timid when it comes to asking for amounts of stuff from the boucher and the fromagerie (cheese shop), I squirm my way through the ordeal holding my fingers about an inch apart, or asking for a certain dollar amount. I really need to study the conversion rates a little better so I won’t be so timide while going to those places.

But, I have been making homemade pancakes and potato gratins and orzo with garlic and butter. Things that we love to eat on a regular basis back in the States. It has just taken me a while to remember what I used to cook, and to find them in the supermarkets. I have made chicken caesar salads with lettuce from my garden and shrimp scampi with linguine.

Anyway, today I took the kids to the Marche Forville today. Although, since it is Monday, the market was full of brocantes (antiques) and a couple of fruit stands with one lone cheese and meat stand. Since this was our first time to this market, Brannan thought that he would see the Marzipan vendors there again and he was all worked up, hoping to get another Marzipan pig. Alas, no Marzipan pigs for him, but since he was hungry, he spied the Italian salami immediately. So, since the Parma Proscuitto was already on the slicer, I asked for some of that – which is OH SO DELICIOUS!!!! It is paper thin and salty and perfect!

I didn’t get a picture of the salami because Brannan ate the whole lot for lunch! Kinnerly ate a whole container of freshly cut canteloupe and a handful of cherry tomatoes.

I did get myself a little treat at the antique market too. Check out these awesome French cheese picks!

I’m not sure if they are really “antiques” but they are sooooo cool, I just couldn’t pass them up. I probably paid too much for them, but I bargained down the owner by 5Euro! Sweet!

I know once I’m back in the States, I’ll use them while having friends over, telling them our tales of travel and tribulations, and remember all the fun we have had here in France.

And then I’ll shoot them with my new wine-cork gun! HA!

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