Aug 28, 2015

So Fritish, So Brench: Jersey Frais


A short ferry ride away from St. Malo, the island nation of Jersey in the Channel is physically closer to Bretagne, but culturally aligns more closely with Britain. If you look at all the Channel Islands, it doesn't make any sense at all that they use the UK telephone country code (+44) and not the French (+33). But of all the Channel Islands, Jersey retains the strongest link to its French roots: it's très Fritish, so Brench.

Aug 24, 2015

Everything But a Bee in Her Bonnet: Fédou


Did you hear the screams from your place? That was Pippa, blackberry picking. Normally, you expect some pricks and scratches when you pick blackberries, due to the brambles, but in the countryside outside of Beziers in southern France, Pippa gets way more than she bargained for, when she sees (and feels!) three spider wasps (Argiope bruennichi) biting her leg -- each spider around the size of my hand when you include leg span.

Aug 20, 2015

Get Back on the Horse: Galopin


Conventional wisdom says when you fall off a horse, you should get right back on. Unless, of course, you are lying in agony in the ground, about to faint and/or vomit, with pain shooting through your hip and shoulder. Then, when you try to get right back on the horse, the guide tells you, "Madame, I applaud your courage, but you're in no shape to ride a horse."

Aug 16, 2015

We're Waffling: Briquette de l'Ardeche


You think you know waffles. You don't know waffles. Unless you've spent time in Belgium. But I'm not talking about what Americans call "Belgian waffles." Hah! In Belgium, there are gaufres (waffles) de Liège and gaufres de Bruxelles. Yes, one of them is what you think of as a Belgian waffle; but it's not the one you should be eating.

Aug 12, 2015

What's In Your Closet?: Gargilesse


I feel it is only slight hyperbole to say that we could probably clothe all of Pippa's and Gigi's classmates -- at least their good friends -- with what we've got in their wardrobe. And that's after we've pared down, drastically, over the years of living in France. Now you can actually see the clothes in their closet, and get things in and out. To us, it's near miraculous, because trying to stuff their American-quantity of clothes in here when we first moved to Paris was a disaster.

Aug 8, 2015

Speculating on Speculoos: Le Petit Cube (Crumble Pain d'Epice)


What is Speculoos? It's more than a popular cookie with a funny name. It's also a flavor. And an ingredient. And an enigma, because it's a cinnamon-flavored cookie beloved by French people who, in general, hate cinnamon.

Aug 4, 2015

What, That Little Ole' Thing?: Chèvre Frais Basilic


When Anthony and I were hiking through the incomparable Torres del Paine park in southern Chile, we played a game we dubbed "the ugliest view." We would stop in a random spot -- not a scenic view point -- and turn around till we found the ugliest view. Then we would frame it, as if taking a photo, and proclaim, "Yup. Anywhere else in the world, this would be the view people came to see." We have that same feeling sometimes in Paris.


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