Stinky ethnic food that stings the eyes
Today's blog post is about trying new things.
Read Time: 7 minutes and a David Bowie video!
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I serve people and they ask, "what is it?"
I respond: "Poison, bon appetit!"
It usually shuts them up.
First off, I'm a good cook and I adore spoiling my family and friends with good food, therefore I have only used this response a few times.
Second, I think the reason I hate that question (so much!) is because I find it so tactless and rude. But I also know that is merely my childhood conditioning, I'll explain that shortly.
As we become older, our tastes change, we get use to eating a certain way, so when it comes to trying new foods, I can understand people's trepidation, but that is no reason to refuse something that is offered! By the way, this is called, BEING GRUMPY! You don't want to be a grumpy old man or grumpy old lady, do ya?!
As an American, I grew up with a mish-mash of different cultural cuisines within a 5 mile radius. My mother, who learned how to cook from my Grandma on my father's side, made sure we tried different cuisines, ingredients and spices to ensure we NEVER uttered the above words.
She made sure we tried everything, even tortured us, ok strong words, but we weren't allowed to leave the table until we had "three big Girl Scout bites" which usually meant eating everything.
Everyone can probably recount the same situation when their mother made them eat something gross, I'm sure of it, (There are starving children in Africa, you might remember her saying!) still, I am often aghast at people who define themselves by what they distaste, rather than what they enjoy.
So, thanks Mom, sincerely for making me eat "three big Girl Scout bites" because now I am able to try anything (within reason, of course) to ensure that I do or don't like it.
Living in France, well, you are use to seeing strange things on the menu, such as horse steak, steak tartar, veal head, blood sausages, funky types of seafood, liver, pates that look like dog food, intestines, and organs that are served up with garlic and parsley. Also served up with gusto are the array of stinky cheeses that can make one gag!
Marty Fields Galloway - the Honkytonk Queen of France, "I love all of the things you just mentioned except for the horse meat ... I cannot bring myself to eat it. :) Not keen on Anguille (resembles an eel) - which is too snakey for me. And I could do without that Rose Pamplemousse - which c'mon, it is a French wine cooler." (Lady does has a point!) "Almost forgot, if you have not had the pleasure of smelling Maroilles cheese - I cannot explain it. I love cheese in all forms normally but would prefer to pass on the Maroilles."
Nicola M - "There's a dish in Les Landes that is some kind of soup with these clear globules in it. I'm not really sure how to describe it. The taste is...I guess okay....but it looks like the most revolting thing on earth and when i had it, it was a formal occasion so I had to eat it. I was retching on every spoon. Seriously....it like eating fish eggs combined with eye balls. That was my worst."
Eating involves all five senses, so when something looks like vomit on a plate, well, it can be difficult to digest. But, I digress. Because I have been conditioned to eat "three big Girl Scout bites" of something, I am also an adult, so when it comes to trying food that looks strange, well, I suck it up and I'll have a bite, because who knows, one can be pleasantly surprised! And pleasantly surprised, I am indeed!
Doing something as simple as trying new foods means you are on the path to new discoveries.
I feel we have lost touch with the feeling of being pleasantly surprised, but when it happens, it snaps you into the realization that everything is possible, and most importantly, please remember, that EVERYTHING IS!
Our world is a playground of possibilities!
Just as David Bowie sang, "We could be heros! Just for one day." RIP David - I love you.
That said, I ask you, Do you remember a time when you were truly pleasantly surprised? What did you feel? Did your body react?
For me, my body twitches or snaps, for less than a second, and I have this small awe-inspired self-awareness that lasts for even less. Still, even though the feeling is fleeting, I am able to recall it with the intensity of when it first happened.
Some of the grossest foods I have eaten involve liver, which has it's own distinct taste, and I like some, foie gras for instance, more than others, such as cod, veal, chicken and beef liver. The chicken livers were prepared meatball style served in a marinara sauce, which I loved! I have eaten chicken hearts, I can't get past the chewy texture which reminds me of octopus.
I have also tried tête de veau - veal head, rather veal brains - it is a delicacy. I found it too gelatinous for my tastes.
The restaurant, Cafe Dupont, fantastically prepared it with a Dijon mustard sauce over finely sliced potatoes. It was very tasty, however, I only ate half the dish since it tastes like veal jello brains, which essentially what it is.
I have tried steak tartar - raw beef served with a raw egg yolk and spices. Hands down, DELICIOUS!
I like to order it in summer, because I find it refreshing since it is served cold, obviously! I like to order Champagne or a Lillet blanc (served with an orange slice, thank you) as an apértif.
I have eaten boudin - blood sausage - that smells like it looks and looks like it tastes.
My husband LOVES eating this and when he prepares it, the whole apartment stinks beyond description! And it is the scent that lingers too!
He could prepare it on a Monday, I can still smell it on a Wednesday. Makes me gag!
I have also eaten different types of sea snails, which I love, such as bulot, bigornos, I love clams and oysters and langostines, and other types of slimy sea goodness that I dip in homemade mayonnaise (raw egg yolks beaten to a fluff and seasoned with a spoon of Dijon mustard, fresh garlic and parsley!)
Personal side note: While dating, my boyfriend/now husband, made mayonnaise for us, it was love at first bite!
I have eaten horse steak, which I didn't know I was eating until I was a few chomps in, then when I was told, I stopped eating it because I felt guilty (I love horses!)
Julie W - "Horse meat? Really?! Ugh!!!"
I have eaten rabbit - which I love them too, but ever since I saw Monty Python's Holy Grail, I have no problem eating them! Besides - rabbit stew is good.
When my mother came to France, my mother in law prepared rabbit for us - it was the first time I told my Mom to give me, "Three big Girl Scout bites!" Revenge is a dish best served cold, and in my case, a hot stew simmered in veggies and spices!
Mwahahhahahahahha! Adulthood has some benefits!
I'm not a fan of organ meat, such as kidneys, which I've tried, again not a fan.
Knowing I can't stomach foods like tripe, tongue, cow nipples, Andouillette, otherwise known as pig intestines, I still will try a bite of it if and when offered, because who knows, I may be pleasantly surprised! And that leads to new discoveries!
Eat well and Never say never!
Frenchified for Life, yo!
Hookers, Sailors, Pepper Mills, Clichés and Perceptions!
Hello everyone! I hope you are feeling fantastic!
Today marks the day when French people were mad as hell and they weren't going to take it anymore!
Today is le quatorze juillet or la fête nationale, France's Bastille day!
If you wish to brush up on your world history, check out this Time magazine link about Bastille Day.
I figured today is a great day to introduce you to Madame Riflade and kick off a new series called, The Beautiful Beings of Bordeaux .
Read time: 10 minutes
Monique Riflade is a real Bordelaise woman.
Having been born, raised, educated, worked and now retired in Bordeaux, we sat down over a cuppa, a few books, a dictionary, and in true French fashion, we chatted away on an array of topics.
We discussed the obvious - history, fashion, food, events, yet it was when she started to talk about her formative years and how the city has transformed, I listened silently and was transported to another time.
"Hookers" and "sailors", she told me.
Wait, what?! Did I hear correctly?
Hookers! Sailors! I exclaimed. It's like being back in Las Vegas!
Bordeaux is a port city and has traded wine, slaves, spices, and other goods in all of her history. It is only natural that the city saw her fair share of hookers and sailors.
Riflade tells of certain streets in the city being off limits, "from Sainte Catherine to the Quais" because of stories where pimps kidnapped young girls. Is it true? Perhaps?
That said, my imagination ran wild - which then made me realize that I watch entirely too much TV.
She erupts into laughter, "Bordeaux was not only a city full of prostitutes and sailors."
We continue to discuss all the different quarters in Bordeaux, from St Michel, "very populated with Spanish and Portuguese refugees from the Spanish civil war." to Chartrons, where the people who lived there were mostly Protestant, "bourgeois" and "business." Quartier Saint Pierre, Riflade says she didn't venture along the riverside, there were "a lot of prostitutes, for the sailors, it was forbidden for us to go from rue Ste. Catherine to the port."
She grew up in a time where there were festivals practically every weekend (imagine the ending of the movie Chocolat - Johnny Depp is so cute in that movie!) and dances organized by churches.
The open air markets were more common and it was a place where commerce met performance art. She told me the story of a man who sold dishware. After gathering a crowd, he would break dishes when no one would buy them at the lowest price.
"When I was young, on Sunday afternoons, Bordeaux was deserted, now Bordeaux is full of people!" Riflade says.
She talked about ships coming into port carrying peanuts, and sacks of coffee, cocoa beans and pepper.
"There was a pepper mill on rue de la Course, and each time I walked past, I would sneeze. Life was easier then, less dangerous and less traffic, we were more free. When I was eight (years old) I could walk to the Jardin Public and play with my friends, now, I'd never let my grandson go."
The boats started disappearing in the 1970s, Riflade said it was "because the river became too muddy and expensive to drag the channel, located at the entrance of La Gironde, in Le Verdon. The old warehouses that stood along the Quais (waterfront) began to be destroyed and the high gates were taken down, it was a slow process."
A painfully slow process that took 25 years, she said.
Bordeaux has transformed by leaps and bounds in just in the last few years.
Our city is in the process of expanding and getting another facelift.
There is construction work everywhere now, the city is adding another tram line, Place Gambetta is being reconstructed, new restaurants are popping up all over the place, Bordeaux is becoming more cosmopolitan, and a popular destination to visit.
In typical French fashion, I must complain about all the dust in the air due to construction work, or the few times I've had my heel stuck in a sidewalk grate, or the loads of cruise ships docked along the Garrone River investing and infesting my city with hoards of tourists.
"I'm not very good at imagining what the future of Bordeaux will be. I think the problem for Bordeaux is the economy. It's a real problem for the people to find work, the weather is good, nicer here than it is in the North of France. Employment is the key of living together, in harmony. What will be the evolution of our city if there is few employment offers for so many people?"
The lady does have a point. In France, the coveted CDI (similar to obtaining tenure) is the carrot that every donkey walks toward, however there are less and less carrots due to company greed and an array of other issues. The coveted CDI is like finding a pearl in an oyster, rare and time-consuming, however to rent an apartment or to get a bank loan, one must have a CDI. Finding a job that offers a CDI is so difficult, it is like failing before even starting, which makes one want to storm the Bastille all over again!
Despite these annoyances, I still feel fortunate to live in this modern-old world. Streetlamps are amber and cast this candle-like gaze about the city and it creates this ambiance of being transported. I feel like I'm am walking in the time of the Three Musketeers even though I am fully aware it is 2016.
It is the feeling of realizing that anything is possible, even if that means werewolves! (I know, that came right out of left field.) What's creepier is one of my favorite streets in Bordeaux, is named rue du Loup or Wolf Street. There are several good and trendy restaurants and bars in that area today. However, I found out the reason the name was rue du Loup is because a large wolf (werewolf?) was killed on that street.
Les trois graces statue - located at Place de la Bourse
We continued to discuss different topics, when our conversation switches to the French people.
"It's difficult to analyze one's culture, as we are living it, it's our reality, it is not a cliché." Riflade says. "I think it is a caricature of French men or French women. Every country has its reputations. For example, Swedish women are hot! When I went to Spain, I had a perception of tall, dark and handsome men. I was disappointed. I think foreigners have those perceptions too."
So, French people aren't baguette eating, beret-wearing, pervert, smokers? Welllll... there are always exceptions to the rules!
"When my husband was young, he was invited to have dinner and the host instead of giving them napkins, the napkins were women's panties," she laughs!
And what about Dominique Strass-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and known party animal/pervert?
"DSK - please - not a typical French man," she says with the typical French sound of pffftt in her voice and leaves it at that.
Her opinion on French women?
"French women are elegant, traditional," she says. "For me, Yves Saint-Laurent and his (clothing) line, that is French elegance."
Riflade, who has traveled extensively through out the world, pretty much says there is no place like home.
I must agree, France makes me feel at home. She has taught me that to be practical and pragmatic. She is gracious and elegant, and has centuries of history and traditions. And even though my Americanisms makes as much noise as a baby crying, like a good mother, she has the ability to calm me.
France is my Mother. France is my home.
Thank you for reading.
I wish for you peace, tranquility and abundance of love and happiness!
Frenchified for Life,
self-proclaimed and crowned Queen and Mother of France
How I live my life
Just a few days ago, I celebrated my 42nd birthday. It was a tranquil day, no candles on birthday cakes, a few very sweet and thoughtful gifts, nothing over the top, other than I symbolically crowned myself Queen of France in true Napoleonic fashion.
Today's blog post is pretentious as fuck.
But, bear with me, because even though it is written in the 3rd person, it's intentions are good.
The goal of this article is to unite fairy-tale and reality.
Be warned, paradoxes, philosophy, and more pretentiousness will follow, but if I can have your attention for just a little bit, maybe, you'll see life from another prescriptive.
Living as a foreigner in the foreign land of France has its charm, and charm never fades, charm is a skill. A skill (talent) that must be honed.
Being an American in France has given me the chance to see life from another perspective and more reasons to sharpen my skills.
Ohh, and studies have shown that people who refer to themselves in the 3rd person transcend.
So without further ado....
Jennifer likes to play this game, called, When I rule the world....
Of course, she fills in the blank with whatever outlandish and logical thought possesses her at the time, still it is all in good fun.
Though she has no official title, yet, Jennifer whisks herself away to a magical land, where fairy-tales meet reality, known as Ideal France.
In Ideal France, her subjects would bow and courtesy to her with reverence, respect and in adoration. Her subjects will be taken care of and provided for, they would be prosperous and healthy and made to feel as if they are the queens and kings of their own right, for they are all great.
We would make our land rich, planting and harvesting only good things for one another. We would become THE IDEAL, the example of paradise on Earth.
Queen Jennifer would make good on God's promise of the land of milk and honey.
She would work her land tirelessly, feed her land tirelessly, and provide an ample amount of love to reap what she has sown.
Her people, capable and knowledgeable would understand why there would be no need for comparisons, no need for infighting, because they realize through education and philosophy that they are apart of a greater good.
For good cannot be good if everyone is not great.
Jennifer will be known as Mother of France, the foreigner who united a nation with the common goal of greatness.
SNAP BACK TO REALITY, Ohh, there goes gravity! -- Eminem
Obviously, Jennifer is not the Queen of France, the French Revolution put a stop to any monarchy and separated the haves (by removing their heads) and the have nots.
Still, Queen Jennifer exists, knowing one day very soon, it shall become a reality.
Because Queen Jennifer has chosen to become great. She has chosen to love tirelessly and believe in the greater good. She will work tirelessly and be the example.
This is why when Jennifer is anywhere, strolling the streets of Bordeaux, doing nothing and everything at once - she is captivating and in turn she is captivated by the French.
She strives to unite fairy-tale and reality. She is the heroine of her own story.
Queen Jennifer, Mother of France, the breaker of bonds with her strong wings of justice.
The French have already foretold of her coming. <=== See?!
It is her everyday reminder to be great.
Even when reality kicks her to the curb, even when reality attempts to captivate her attention towards the unnecessary, even when all seems hopeless. Queens and Kings fall, but NEVER will the pursuit of greatness - for it is the good for all.
Greatness is acting nobly, stands up for the voiceless, for justice, for fairness, for beauty, for loyalty, for freedom and above all - the truth.
This monument is located in the beautiful city of Bordeaux. It has a deep history, yet instead of throwing out dates and names of architects, let's discuss it's symbolic meaning.
This monument portrays what one must do to achieve human greatness.
There are two fountains based around massive bronze sculptures.
This one pictured above is named “Le triomphe de la Concorde”- “the triumph of Agreements”. The three bronze men on the bottom represent vice, lies and ignorance, which are thwarted by the hippocamps representing peace and happiness.
Perhaps, in other words, find your peace and happiness to achieve human greatness.
These reminders have been hidden in plain sight for centuries.
As it is written at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: Know thyself.
As Plato has written:" Excellence" is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act "rightly" because we are "excellent", in fact we achieve "excellence" by acting "rightly".
As Yoda said: To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose. Give off light, or darkness, Padawan. Be a candle, or the night.
As it was said in Kung Fu Panda 3: Do what makes you, YOU.
As a human being, I want to enjoy this little time I have here on this planet, I wish to have several experiences and grow in knowledge and wisdom and do what I love.
I don't want to walk around angry and spew venom or have a stupid opinion on silly little things like politics or consumerism. Efff that.
I am only an expert in me and therefore must do what makes me, ME.
I must do the most difficult and rewarding work of self-progression, and I have boiled it down to this simple life catch-phrase: Be kind and do what's right.
Please note: Being righteous and being right are two completely different concepts.
As human beings, it is coded in our DNA to be generous and democratic. We are coded to be social creatures, to use our best skills to contribute and to protect each other. That is our purpose, our duty. We are civilized animals. We are powerful. We are beauty. We are timeless.
We are God's greatest work.
And sadly, we have forgotten that.
But now that I have refreshed your memory (and mine!) I ask you this, my Queen, my King: If YOU ruled the world.... ???
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...