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Jan 15, 2015

A Souvenir to Remember: Fromage Fermier de Brebis Orsatelli Frères

THE STORY:

There are souvenirs you want to remember, and others you'd rather forget. And in case you didn't get the play on words, souvenir is the French word that means, "remember". The all-too-common apron-with-boobs is perhaps the most baffling of souvenirs to me. Who wants to remember their boobs in Paris? Who on Earth buys these tacky things? Well, evidently my daughter does. For me.


I've got to hand it to Gigi, she has a sense of humor about my breast cancer. It's the Christmas gift from my 11-year old daughter that I wasn't expecting, but perhaps should have been. She had plenty of other Paris-themed options: bags, T-shirts, journals, bracelets, soccer balls, boxer shorts, oven mitts (damn -- I could use some new oven mitts), you name it. We have our own small collection of Paris stuff here in Paris, which I assume we will augment just before we (someday) move back to the States, or elsewhere. We feel like we see these awful aprons everywhere, but Gigi tells me that when she actually went out Christmas shopping, she had to look in a dozen stores before she finally found one, at the end of the souvenir row on Ile de la Cité.


Anthony and I have a tradition of giving each other the cheapest possible anniversary gifts that vaguely adhere to the list of traditional presents. This year, for our crystal anniversary, I give him a 7€ crystal-esque glass paperweight with the Eiffel Tower etched in it. So now I know who buys those things -- and why -- too.


Anthony gives me a series of Christmas gifts all around the grapefruit theme, including special grapefruit cutting knife, and grapefruit spoons, also in reference to my recent mastectomy, but more subtle than Gigi's gift. Bonus: I like grapefruit.

But do I actually like the boob apron? Well, I suppose it does keep the bulk of my shirt from getting covered with grease, water, flour or whatever ingredient I'm using to cook. It does nothing to protect the arms, but that's a flaw with all aprons, not just those of the boob-covered variety.

The problem is that once it's on, I somewhat forget what picture's on it and just think of it as a regular apron and answer the door, talk on Skype, whatever. I forget about my real boob, in much the same way, too -- that is, my real fake boob that's attached to my body, which I now pretty much forget is fake. It feels just like a normal part of my body, other than the fact that when I accidentally walk into a door jamb, I kind of bounce off and feel grateful to its rubbery quality.

The construction on the building next door has necessitated a platform built right outside our 2ème étage (3rd floor) kitchen, so when I'm cooking, I frequently see workmen literally feet away from me, at the kitchen window.


They can see in as well as I can see out; each time, I jump when I walk in the room and see a man's face right there. I have to stop and ask myself, "Am I fully clothed? Or am I walking around in my bra and underwear? Naked?" I mean, when I'm alone in my apartment, it happens. Well now, I can be fully dressed and still titillate (pun not intended) the workmen, thanks to my fancy, flashy Paris souvenir that, frankly, we'd all rather forget.

THE CHEESE: Fromage Fermier de Brebis Orsatelli Frères

Fromage Fermier de Brebis Orsatelli Frères is, as the name suggests, a farmhouse sheeps' milk cheese made by the Orstalli brothers. The Italian-ness of the name, coupled with the fact that it's a sheep cheese, should give you the clue that it hails from the island of Corsica.


It's a thick disk of hard, crumbly, dry cheese, bursting with flavor -- and smell. It's not orange-rind sweatsock stinky, but rather full-bodied and farmy. The taste matches the smell.

Not only is this cheese made only at one farmhouse, you'll probably only find this cheese on Corsica itself (though perhaps it's exported to the "mainland" somewhere?). Anthony brings it home to me in Paris from a trip to Corsica -- very well sealed inside his luggage.

THE CONNECTION:
 

Looking at the label of the cheese, I know this is the one to go with a story about the tacky boob souvenirs all over Paris. Since the cheese is made by some brothers, it's also a convenient chance to fill you in on a little bit of an update about "the sisters".


 

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