Today is another Saturday! In fact, it’s the fourth Saturday- I’ve been in France now for one month. I feel like I’ve been given a small gift, a few months in a new place with the opportunity to watch myself twirl up into a little plant and see where I end up placing my leaves, which direction I find some sunlight in. So far I’ve been quiet; I’m just trying to let things exist around me and watch myself curl into them. After spending a few days at school, I’ve now come out of a little happy bubble where I was living thinking that these next few months could be all about long days at markets and tireless attempts at nailing down the perfect pastry crust. Now I see it- school is indeed starting again and the challenge will be to fill my days with things I love before I can’t see past the silly excuses that come with classes, homework, and commuting all over the place.
In the mean time, cheese.
I went to another market, intent on buying some new cheese (I forget the name of the bigger one, unfortunately, because it’s excellent, but the small one is a round of dry chèvre) and some figs to make a confiture with later in the week. I came back with what I desired but also happened upon an enormous beet, some raisin nutty bread and a big beautiful bag of roquette. I thought the highlight of my week would be this:
And for a while, it was! It was so much! For a whole day, it was cheese and bread and more cheese, and more bread, and I’m so française! and more cheese, more cheese- and then all of a sudden I can’t eat cheese for another week or so and now, it’s this:
Vegetables, I forgot about you.
I’ve been really excited about being a refuse-a-label-etarian, enjoying pâté and fois gras and artichokes and ham and spinach and eggs and smoked salmon and quiche and cheeses and suddenly I remember- I like vegetables best. I like chickpeas second best. I can feel my pinky toes again! This morning I boiled pure apple juice for an hour until it was at a third of its original volume, concentrated and sweet, to make an apple syrup. I poured it into a jar to keep chilled and later, I added it to whole-grain dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and some tahini and sprinkled it over this beautiful salad: my beets, roquette, chick peas and something new – roasted chestnuts. Did you know that those are real? They’re easy to roast, except when they come already with rocks nudged inside of them, and they’re sweet, meaty and light.
Best of all, they taste just like the first time I tried them a few weeks ago. I suppose there’s nothing like walking around together in a happy, gluhwein-induced daze through a Christmas market in Paris and having someone teach you about warm chestnuts glowing in their white paper cones – and so I went on a mission to buy some tonight and I feel like it’s December all over again.