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 Saint-Malo

As a little girl, France meant 1 thing: Paris. Outside of glowing images of the Eiffel Tower, bustling bistros, and baguette, I’ll admit I knew very little. My horizons were broadened once I began studying French in school and even more so when I spent a semester at the Sorbonne. But only since packing my bags and moving back here after graduation have I truly been able to look beyond the city of lights to the other regions of metropolitan France, each of which boasts a unique character — a “claim to fame,” so to speak.

Continue reading “a taste of Saint-Malo”

musings on French terroir

It dawned on me the other day that I’ve been learning French for about 10 years now. My reaction to this realization? I’ll refrain from any cliché commentary on how fast time seems to pass and focus instead on the overwhelming wave of pride I felt wash over me. It has taken a whole lot of resolve and patience to persist for so long in the pursuit of a language whose grammatical complexities elude me more often than not.

In other words, learning French is hard. 

I’ll also admit, however, that I felt a slight sting of shame. 10 years is a long time and, even after two stints living in France and many hours spent in the classroom, I have most certainly not attained a level of mastery over the language. Am I conversational? Maybe. But fluent? Absoluement pas. 

Continue reading “musings on French terroir”

a taste of Provence

They say the Provence region of France is blessed by the gods. I’m inclined to agree.

With sun-soaked hillside villages overlooking sweeping lavender fields, olive groves and vineyards, “charming” is certainly an understatement. In fact, I think “enchanting” is more appropriate.

Continue reading “a taste of Provence”

a taste of La Rochelle and Ile de Ré

When it comes to coastal cities in France, La Rochelle is a must-see. Commonly referred to as “La Ville Blanche” due to its characteristic limestone facades, this port city sits in the Poitou Charentes region of southwest France, a short 2-hour drive from Bordeaux.

Continue reading “a taste of La Rochelle and Ile de Ré”

Lately on Instagram: no microwave, no problem

My kitchen here in France is the farthest thing from fancy. It’s an industrial, stainless steel setup complete with two hot plates, a sink, a refrigerator, and a mini oven that looks deceptively like a toaster oven but lacks the ability to toast.

And that’s about it. No microwave to be found.

Of course, I could have purchased one myself, but I spent the first 18 years of my life sans microwave, so the thought never seriously crossed my mind.

Continue reading “Lately on Instagram: no microwave, no problem”

a taste of Paris, featuring sustainable urban farming

When I think of Paris, I imagine cast-iron balustrades bordering the Métropolitan signs of the subways stations, wrought iron balconies, elegant cream-colored stonework, and wide boulevards lined with independent bookshops, cafés, and boulangeries.

Continue reading “a taste of Paris, featuring sustainable urban farming”

a taste of Lyon

Picture this: someone blows up a pig intestine like a balloon until it takes the shape of a sausage casing. Then he/she stuffs said casing with more chopped up (and very well rinsed) intestines before tying up both ends with string, cooking it, slathering on some mustard sauce, and calling it andouillette.

Now picture this: Jacqueline (me) doesn’t know what andouillette is but thinks — what the hec I’m gonna be adventurous YOLO, am I right? — and decides to order it. And eat it. And subsequently google it because, you know, it didn’t taste exactly like normal sausage. In fact, it was oddly pink and chewy.

SURPRISE! Never thought you would have intestines in your intestines, did you? Well, there’s a first time for everything.

Continue reading “a taste of Lyon”

a taste of Annecy (and traveling alone)

I’ll get to the oh-so-delicious food I ate in Annecy in a sec (and if you’re here just for that, feel free to scroll down). But first, allow me a moment of non-food commentary. Because I just traveled solo for the first time, and it’s worth a paragraph or two, don’t you think?

Continue reading “a taste of Annecy (and traveling alone)”

5 healthy breakfasts to start your day off right

When it comes to food, the French know what they’re doing. No surprise there. La gastronomie of France, in all its seasonal, locally-sourced, fresh-from-the-market brilliance, was one of the main reasons I wanted to move back here for an extended period of time after college. And since arriving, I’ve been doing my best to absorb everything about French culture (minus their horrendous smoking habits) from the food to the literature to the undeniable and permeating joie de vivre. It’s a spirit that invites elegance into the mundane of daily life, a language whose romanticism is crushingly beautiful, and a gastronomic culture whose vibrancy will make you wonder why it took you so long to decide to move to France in the first place.

Despite all of this, there is one thing I haven’t come to terms with, and I’m not sure I ever will. Because however much I love France, its utter disregard for the amazing meal that is breakfast burns a SERIOUS hole in our relationship.

Continue reading “5 healthy breakfasts to start your day off right”