The wine here is really good and cheap. In fact I could buy a whole gallon of the nectar for less than it will cost me to send this e mail (about$7 for an hour at an internet cafe). On a market day I bought a liter and a half of homemade red wine for about $3, in a recycled plastic water bottle from an old French man after he assured me the wine was good and gave me a big toothless smile. I was convinced. It had to be good if it ate away his teeth. (Note to self: buy some straws!)
They have all kinds of cheeses here that are delicious and melt in your mouth. But I have a basic rule and it is this: If something smells so bad that you have to keep it in a special container outside so it won’t stink up the house (like Jenny does with her cheese) then that is not something I want to eat. At market the other day when I asked for some cheese that was “not very strong” the look on the Cheese man’s face resembled disgust. I kind of shrugged, sighed and admitted I was an American as an explanation for my obvious lack of culture and stamina. The lady next to me who had just put her change away laughed as she left with her purchase. I bought some mild white cheese after sampling a piece that was yummy.
Bread and pattiseries here are fabulous! Baguettes are delicious and I’ve found I can easily set those on fire while I still often cannot get the fire going in the huge kitchen fireplace. As with fruits, vegetables, and any other product, organic baked goods remain harder to find and are more expensive. Whether made with some type of crème, fruit, or chocolate, my rule is that I will eat only one pastry a day. However the only time I have been able to actually keep that rule has been when I have already eaten all the pastries and actually have none left in the house. (The good news is this pastry is helping to fill out my face, reducing my wrinkles. The bad news is that the rest of the pastry is trying to head south and give me a nice grandma lap.) The Bread man at a market I go to has given me an extra pastry for free for the last two weeks. I told him that if I have to buy bigger clothes it will be his fault.
Southern France is known for this delicacy which literally means “fat liver” of duck or goose. How do they get the liver fat you might ask? They force feed corn (no doubt industrial corn) into the ducks and geese. When I got lost once on country back roads I drove by vineyards and also ran across a few of the farms where these obese birds were lying around. A favorite way for people to eat it is sliced into thin medallions and served chilled on toast, on a salad topped with hazelnut oil, or they might pan fry it adding goose fat and then cook some potatoes or grapes to go with it.
I don’t claim to be a vegetarian. I eat meat occasionally if someone else has bought it, prepared it, and especially if it happens to be a filet mignon medium rare (which I have had no part in harvesting). Otherwise a salad or some beans and rice, an occasional fish, are fine with me. But when I read the following I can’t help but wonder how even the staunchest of carnivores could eat this stuff.
Whenever you get a chance to purchase a fresh foie gras (goose or duck) at a market or even better; from a farmer, look for one that is firm and light in color with a touch of pink to it-not yellowish. Once you’ve got ithome, carefully cut out the blood vessels and bile ducts as well as you can, along with any greenish bits. Then soak it overnight with a bit of vinegar (1/4 cup).
Are you serious?!!