It's the little things
If I'm feeling brave enough, later on this week I'll post about my most recent birth preparation class. It was certainly a doozy and it makes me wonder if the same thing happened to other pregnant expats and they just took it in stride or what... Nothing bad, just unexpected.
I'm not feeling brave enough today, though. I'm doing well...my belly is getting h-e-a-v-y and I'm hungry all the time. One Very Good Thing that has happened to me recently is the discovery of really tasty white seedless grapes at my local market. They're not there all the time, so I've duly noted that seedless grapes come after lychees in fruit order, at least for this year. That's part of what makes shopping in France either fun or frustrating, depending on my mood when I go shopping. I have yet to figure out why I can buy celery and jalapeno peppers certain weeks and then they'll disappear for a couple of months. Sometimes it's a seasonal thing, but other times it just seems completely random. There's probably a system involving even- and 0dd-numbered weeks or something of the sort, but I haven't yet managed to crack the code.
One other thing that I especially adore about France is the fruit. I'm sure I'm repeating myself, but when I went home for Christmas I was rather disappointed by the selection. It all comes back to the basic trade-off: back home the good thing is that I was always able to find white seedless grapes and celery, no matter the season. (Rhubarb was another story, but I guess that's to be expected...it's not one of the 'normal' ones, I guess). The good thing about France is that there's always good fruit to be had and a decent variety of it, even if I can't have grapes all the time. The choice of apples is always amazing to me. I rarely ate fruit back home and now I'm probably eating too much of it, if that's possible. I've turned into a big, fat fruit-eater.
Yesterday we went to the little outdoor shopping center where the stores are always open on Sunday. I remember my husband saying that one of his least favorite things about the US was the fact that everywhere you go, you have the same Target/Wal-Mart/Starbucks/Barnes & Noble/Rack Room little shopping center with a Wendy's or a Chick-Fil-A. He was missing the charm of the little local shops and restaurants that you can certainly find in France. I can understand that and agree with him for similar reasons. On the other hand, I'm not going to deny that I find it strangely comforting to know that there's usually a Target nearby if I need one. Shoot me if you want, but it's true.
Anyway, not too long ago a new section of shops opened at this local shopping strip that looked quite American to me, except with different stores in place of Target and Barnes & Noble. It even has a fake stream in front of the stores so customers get to walk over nice little wooden bridges before they indulge in shopping at Cultura or But. Yes, it's happening here, too. There are the same stores everywhere you go (or at least around Paris): Darty, Cultura, Milonga, Animalis, But, Planete Saturne, etc. The thing that really blew my mind yesterday, though, was the discovery of snack machines in two of the stores we visited. They were in the back of Cultura as opposed to up front near the cashiers, but they were still there. I never see snack machines here except in train stations, so it was just weird. A bottle of Coke will set you back 1.50 euros, by the way. At least they're not (yet) selling hot dogs and nachos.
The other thing I noticed for the first time yesterday was the seeming popularity of deep-fryers. I was looking for a rice cooker at the electronic appliance stores and couldn't find a single one. Usually there's a small selection of "normal" items such as blenders, food processors, scales and such, and for the the more unusual items you get one choice (but at least it's there). I saw a hot-air popcorn popper, a chocolate fountain, an ice cream maker (which also surprised me), and even a miniature ice machine. The next row over, however, featured about 20 different deep-fryers in a row. It took up the entire row. I don't think I've ever been served deep-fried food at someone's house, so I have to wonder who's making all of this fried stuff. It surprised the heck out of me because it's not something I associate with French cuisine. I could definitely use it with my Japanese cookbooks, but not so much with my French ones. Weird.
Monday, February 19, 2007
It's the little things
Posted by Pardon My French at 2:28 PM