Sunday, September 12, 2010

Food, Fashion, and Some Observations


First of all, it has been tricky finding vegetarian food. I can get a salad pretty readily, but getting protein is a trick. Omelets are fairly standard, so that has become a staple for me, a fromage omelet, which are always served with a huge pile of french fries. Which leads to another observation about food in general: they serve a lot of yellow/beige highly processed food. You can always get and are regularly served croissants (the chocolate ones are too tasty), baguettes, and the already mentioned french fries. There is also an amazing amount of pizza served here! If I’m willing to sit for a two-hour meal, I can usually order something more creative and healthful, but we don’t always want to have an expensive, extended, sit-down meal. Thank heavens there are fruit stands sprinkled in all of the towns.

Howard, on the other hand, has been quite adventuresome when it comes to eating. Last night when we had one of our sit down meals, he ordered the Plate du jour and didn’t even know what he was ordering! Turns out it was some kind of large shrimp (which he kinda figured out) and calamari. He enjoyed every bite.

For a couple of his other eating adventures, Howard is going to make a guest appearance and describe it himself. Here’s Howard:

Driving into Sarlat, I saw a billboard with a beautiful cow and the word limousin. My immediate thought was: “They must have really good beef in this area.” At dinner that night, we ate at a local bistro and I ordered by pointing at what I thought was beef because it had the word limousin. Our waitress spoke just enough English to tell me that it was “au natural, not in the oven.” After initially recoiling, I decided to give it a try, after all, ahi is raw in sushi and I like that. For my meal, think red, fresh, high quality, no fat, with spices to loosely hold a patty of raw beef together. Delicious may be a bit strong, but certainly very good, and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.

The following day, while in Montignac, I once again ordered by pointing. Our sandwich maker exclaimed “It is very good!” and immediately began to prepare it. Looking closer at the description, I saw the words foie gras and realized I was about to enjoy goose liver, a delicacy in that region. This is not your mother’s liver and onions, I tell you. The foie gras was mild and served in the form of pate with seasoning and was excellent with the strip of pork that was served with it. The combination of flavors was distinctive and without a doubt excellent.

PS from Dayna: The geese in the Dordogne region are force fed to get their poor little livers fat quickly. I can hardly read about it, much less look at all of the little goose signs they display everywhere knowing how they are fed and then slaughtered.

A smattering of food photos . . .


On the fashion front, here is a brief list of what seems to be hot:


Polka dots.

Pants gathered at the bottom (long or Capri length).

White, white, white. They have whole stores that sell nothing but white clothing.

Layers of tulle and cotton, mismatched patterns.

The coolest assortment of shoes I have ever seen.

I wish I could share some photos, but I would feel self-conscious trying to take photos of people walking by (but, oh how I wish I could!). I did manage to make a few purchases at the outdoor market on Sunday morning in Collioure.


My daughter Melissa is sharing this blog with her class of third graders, so I thought it would be fun to share some general observations after being in France for a week. Here goes:

*The French seem to love sandwiches, served on baguettes.

*Chocolate croissants are mighty tasty.

*We see a lot of windmills generating wind power.

*Bicycles are everywhere in the countryside.

*Campers/RVs and camping is very popular.

*There are hardly any SUVs on the road, but lots of economical little cars.

*Gas is roughly $6/gallon and is sold by the liter (which is slightly larger than a quart).

*There are a lot of McDonald’s in the cities (but no Starbucks – come on).

*Many of the public toilets do not have toilet paper, soap, or anything to dry your hands on – by design!

*The hall lights in the hotels are always off. They are either triggered by a motion sensor or you have to turn them on manually.

*There is a lot of smoking. Not as much in the countryside, but in the south of France, ooh la la, it is everywhere.

*The beaches are tops optional for the ladies.

NOTE: I know I said I wasn't going to do a blog post today, but I just can't help myself! It's my travelouge for when I return home, so it's fun to document the big and the small.


Melissa said...

"Thank you for the blogpost to us and for the information about France. It has been fun reading your blog, and we can't wait to read more!" my third grade class :)

Destree said...

The food is beautiful!!! And I applaud at Howard's "When in France..." attitude :0)