Saturday, July 28, 2007

Caught Between Two Cultures

My mother could survive a nuclear winter. No, she's not a termite nor is she currently radioactive. My mother 'stocks-up'. There sometimes seems there isn't enough storage space for the amount of food items that exist in my parent's home. Maybe I exaggerate a bit but I don't think by much. I grew up thinking it was quite normal to have enough rice in the pantry to last for three years. And maybe it isn't just my family. On any given day in warehouse-type shopping centres like Costco you'll find umpteen people racing around with huge carts buying ginormous hunks of cheese or case-lots of toiletpaper. My mother shops weekly and, like many people around her, get a heaping amount of stuff for 'just in case' or 'it's on sale' as well as food for the next week.

Then I go to France.

I'm sometimes in awe how little my Frogger in Law has in his cupboards and fridge. It's such a European thing, it seems, to have more dishes than food in the house at any given time. Mind you, I've never actually been to a working farm's pantry in France so I could be wrong. Going shopping for the next few days meals, and whatever household item you currently need, seems much more par for the course. You get what you need and that is that. Yet that seems to go hand-in-hand with some better quality 'convenience food' as well as top notch fresh items. I rarely see people in the supermarket buying more than half a regular shopping cart's full of food. And, often, it is things like paper products and beverages that take up the most space. Given that waistlines like European cars and homes, seem smaller on average here, perhaps this is a good thing.

Back home in my isolated little village, I am truly stuck for what to do. I'm rather beholden to stock up on things in case they run out of things at the store for a long period of time yet I still go nearly every day to see what they have. After all, they mayve have had some perk or extra brought up fresh on the plane. Things like that don't last very long in the village. I'd really like to go every few days for fresh items as in France but I see the necessity of pioneer attitudes in keeping lots of food stuffs around 'just in case'.

However, while in France I enjoy the freshness of food that looks like just came from field, water or tree. Here's some of the things out of Papa's kitchen that we've had in the last two weeks:

Atlantic Salmon with noodles and peas'n'lettuce (my addition)

Jumbo-sized shrimp with mint tabouli and a fresh salad

Shoulder of lamb with flageolet and Charlotte potatoes

Paupiettes de veau with noodles

Floured Sardines, fried

Quail with mashed potatoes
(yes, people, the head DOES come with the bird from the store)


child-prodigy said...

Sorry, if this is a bit out of topic from food, but I was wondering if you could tell me how you got your blog post title to not become a link anymore? When I say title the example would be "Caught between two cultures" the default on Blogspot is it become a link, but I'm having a hard time getting rid of that function. I've gone through every single code on mine and nothing seems to work, so I thought I'd asked.


Nerissa said...

I'm not sure what you mean by title because the title shows up on the top of the entry and on the side in the "previous posts" section. My own entry top titles have never been an issue for 'linking' codes so your issue is a bit of a mystery for me (at least until I have more details, perhaps?)
Don't worry about asking a nonfoodie question. I'm more than happy to help a blogger in need. Just sorry I don't quite understand the issue for this one.

child-prodigy said...

haha I thought that might be the case. I just find it highly odd that's all. I even previewed the other templates and they have the linking issue and yet some people doesn't seem to have that problem. If anything, I'll just use another template and recode everything again. Still, thanks for the help. I'm pretty new to blogspot so I don't quite get the rss feed thing since I never use it and I don't know when someone replies to a comment unless it's left on my page XD

I live about a 15-30 minute drive from Richmond so it's not so bad. I always go to Richmond anyways.

Christine said...

Lovely post, Nerissa. I love the French way of life where you either go to the garden, the farmers market or the local vendors every day or so to decide what will be for dinner.
I used to live that way when I was closer to source, so to speak. Now I also stock up on many items to keep from having to drive 25 to 50 miles very often.
Do you suppose that Child Prodigy is putting his/her titles in the link bar that resides just under the title bar?

Nerissa said...

that's not such a long drive, cp
Hmmm Christine may yet have your answer. I didn't think of that when you asked. Where are you putting the title. The top title bar or the bottom one? For it should be the top, indeed.

Christine: thanks, hun. I'd love to be that close to my sources.
Count your blessings. My travel to stock on better quality or general availability is 500 km (about 300 miles).
Thanks for the tip, Christine. I didn't think about that at all.

child-prodigy said...

Link bar? I haven't a clue. It's just the normal title used for a new post. Every time you go to post a new post there's a section for you to type in the title and I can't seem to figure out what's causing it to become a link. link bar under the title bar? I have no idea =p you guys are welcome to check my site out and right click view source for the code. I tried everything and it's not working.

child-prodigy said...

thanks for the help and I do understand what you're saying and I also tried using another code off of someone as well and my effort is proven useless but I will keep trying to see why it's so messed up haha thanks again

have fun on your trip I think? =]

s'kat said...

Now those are truly magnifcent meals! Have a wonderful trip.

neil said...

I have to ask you about the flageolets. After having them in a French restaurant for the first time many years ago, I've tried cooking dried ones many times but there were never as soft - even after 1.5 hours. Do I need to cook them longer or just stick to the tinned ones, which are nice and soft? S'kat is right, all the food is mouthwatering.

Nerissa said...

s'kat: many thanks. I will relay the compliments to the cook.

neil: How unfortunate a turn out! I wonder if you soaked the bean overnight (around 10 - 12 hours in cold water) before you started to cook them? I went to the store today and saw some dried ones in a box. I looked at the instructions and they mention the soaking too (same amount of time) and then simmering them in boiling water for about 1 and 1/2 hours. I hope that helps? I've not actually done it yet and Papa Frog only gets canned so he wasn't sure at first when i asked.

neil said...

Yes, they got to soak first, no salt in the cooking water and I went way past 1.5 hours, but they were nowhere near as soft as tinned ones. I finished up calling the supplier thinking they might have been old beans, but they said I should keep on cooking them until they got soft. Maybe I'll get some more and try them for a really long time on a simmer mat. Thanks for your help.

Nerissa said...

well, neil. I honestly didn't think you'd make such a newbie mistake as not soaking dried beans but I had to air it just in case. I really hope you have better luck with the next batch. I wish I could help more.

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