closing the gap

I tell myself I’m going to write. I figure I’ll come home, pop a squat at the kitchen table with a steaming cup of mint tea, and comb through the maze of thoughts in my mind until they resemble something close to coherent. I tell myself I’m going to do this because there is still so much I want to say about my time in France and so many vivid memories I want to give life to.

The enormity of the experience weighs on me, though, and I shy away from the daunting task of doing it justice. But I know that if I don’t try, the feelings, people, and tastes of the 8 months will continue to move farther and farther away from me. So instead, I stagnate somewhere in-between nostalgia and longing, in-between living in New York and thinking about France, in-between the past and the present.

And then, there’s the simple fact that I stare at a screen all day at work. So naturally, when I come home, the last thing I want to do is flip open my computer.

But I’m here now, and I’m trying to close the gap.

In Michael Pollan’s documentary series “Cooked,” he argues that we’ve lost touch with how food has gotten to our plate by letting other people, corporations, and institutions cook for us.

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Just think about the way we refer to food, calling it pork rather than pig and beef rather than cow. We’ve distanced ourselves from the land, adopted an air of passivity in regards to the human institution of the meal, and lost a certain degree of pleasure around food in the process.

Although France is certainly not immune to these trends, I couldn’t help but feel a heightened degree of respect towards food and how it arrived to my plate while I was there. A privilege? Absolutely. But glamorous? Not at all.

I tried my hardest to stay calm every time I found a slug alive and nestled in my head of lettuce. I stared freshly caught fish straight in the eyes, unable to divert my gaze from the blood splattering across the floor as they were scaled, gutted, wrapped up tight, and handed over to market-goers with an exchange of pleasantries and cooking tips. And then, there was the blisteringly cold afternoon I spent patiently waiting in line for spinach only to be told there wasn’t any that week. No one to blame but Mother Nature, the farmer told me. 

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grilled trout with paprika, parsley, and lemon
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mixed herb and goat cheese quiche with almond meal crust










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herb and zucchini flower omelette

But through it all, I was – and still am – hopelessly enamored with the feeling of living so close to the land. Now that I’m back, I miss it so much it aches. So I suppose the best way for me to close the gap between New York and France is to close the gap between myself and the land, to do something so simple and raw, so natural and human that I wonder how it ever went out of style in the first place: eat real food.

Nothing fancy, here. Just homemade food with simple, seasonal ingredients left to speak for themselves.

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toasted sourdough with sautéed radish greens and scrambled eggs
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mozzarella, tomatoes, and lots of basil
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french-style potatoes boiled and sautéed in grass-fed butter and topped with parsley and chives

a taste of beets

When I was in France, I experimented with a whole slew of root vegetables. Turnips, celeriac, parsnips, black radishes – you name it, I roasted it.

I also ate my fair share of beets, a nutrient-dense vegetable from the same botanical family as spinach, Swiss chard and quinoa. Continue reading “a taste of beets”

10 things France has taught me about food

If you were to tell me in high school that, after graduating college, I would pack up and move abroad, I would more than likely have laughed in your face. My image of post-graduate life involved hole-in-the-wall NYC apartments and cubicles, not working abroad.

But I suppose life can surprise you when you’d least expect it because, as I write these very words, I’m sitting in an empty apartment in France surrounded by two gigantic suitcases, a boarding pass, and 8 months of pinch-me-this-can’t-be-real kind of experiences.

Continue reading “10 things France has taught me about food”

a taste of Reims

Although it wasn’t exactly a white Christmas this year, it sure was a bubbly one.

Reims, a city located around 80 miles outside of Paris in the heart of the champagne region, was the perfect holiday getaway. Combining the history and culture of a large metropolitan city with the charm of a smaller village, Reims was a welcome surprise amongst the more well-known tourist destinations in France.

Continue reading “a taste of Reims”

5 fun facts about French supermarkets

Okay, so they’re not all “fun” and they may not exactly be “facts,” but my desire for a title with arguably excessive alliteration won out in the end.

One of my favorite things to do in France is go grocery shopping. That may sound odd, but there’s just something about the food stores here that draws me in. Even if I don’t really have anything to buy, I end up wandering through the aisles, passing the bread station with a smell so heavenly that it makes me go weak in the knees, and normally leaving with a square of really dark chocolate. From Monoprix to Carrefour to E. Leclerc to Saveurs de la Terre to Leader Price, grocery shopping never gets old.

Continue reading “5 fun facts about French supermarkets”

Lately On Instagram: easy college eats

I don’t get to cook as much as I would like to these days due to the fact that I spend the majority of my time in the library; however, I have been experimenting with meals that are quick and healthy, like quinoa pasta and roasted veggies.

I do not have celiac disease, but pasta is one of those foods I prefer eating gluten free because it satisfies me without making me feel too full. My favorite brand is Ancient Harvest, but there are tons of brands on the shelves these days that are just as good. And just because you’re short on time, that doesn’t mean you have to grab canned tomato sauce. Homemade sauce can be just as easy and quick to whip up and doesn’t have any of the preservatives sometimes found in pre-prepared sauce brands. All you have to do is heat up some olive oil and garlic and toss in grape tomatoes. After about 10 minutes, the tomatoes will soften and begin to take on a sauce-like consistency. Toss in some fresh basil and you’ll be good to go.

quinoa pasta

This time of year, brussels sprouts are my go-to vegetable. They’re nutritious, extremely versatile, and delicious. When I’m pressed for time, I roast them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a generous sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Carrots and tomatoes are great veggies to roast as well!

For more ideas, check out Good Housekeeping’s guide for making the perfect oven-roasted veggies. Roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes? Yes, please.

roasted veggies

This is what happens when my family comes to visit.

Grilled polenta and vegetable ratatoille with frisée watermelon salad.

Screen shot 2014-11-06 at 3.25.43 PMGarden vegetable salad with roasted corn, asparagus, avocado, squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

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Fancy ice cream.

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Baby kale, arugula, orange segments, sunflower seeds, shaved feta cheese, and quinoa salad drizzled with citrus vinaigrette.

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Foods I’m dying to try right now: all types of veggie fries, pumpkin pancakes, and healthy apple pie (Thanksgiving can’t come fast enough).

Check out one taste at a time’s instagram for more!



Lately on Instagram: back to school edition

To be honest with you, my Instagram account hasn’t been too active lately. Maybe it’s because my days of summery and colorful foods, city adventures, and #internlifestruggles have been replaced with dining hall meals, campus adventures, and #studentlifestruggles. I can’t complain, though, because I’ve been spending time with my wonderful roommates, in class, and running A LOT (less than a month until the 1/2 marathon!). I guess I’ve just been living my life offline for a bit, and it’s been nice.

That being said, I haven’t completely abandoned the Insta-world. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

Sometimes, you have to find happiness in the little things, like grocery shopping at Wegmans, AKA food heaven on earth. Look at those beauties.

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My obsession with coconut water continues. Not only is it jam-packed with electrolytes and potassium to help me re-charge after a long run, but it’s delicious and makes me feel like I’m lounging on a beach in some sort of exotic tropical location rather than sitting at a cubicle in the library.

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I’m still obsessed with almond butter – no surprise there.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 2.35.51 PMWhoever said dining hall food was tasteless and boring has obviously never gotten creative with the salad bar. And yes, that is tabouli.

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Check out one taste at a time’s instagram for more! And while you’re at it, inspire your snacking with these beautiful smoothie bowls, memory-boosting foods, and organic junk foods.