Monday, October 15, 2018

chez Maman et Papa

One of the pics I snapped is specifically for my beer-loving crowd back in Seoul. When I told Dominique why I took that picture, he got excited and told me about some places that serve hundreds of different local beers.

I was happy to see my French parents again. Although I had visited Dominique back in 2007, I hadn't seen Dom's parents in over twenty years. I'm going to go back and have lunch with them on Monday, then they're taking me on a tour of some historically significant local sites.

rainy Sunday outing 3

rainy Sunday outing 2

rainy Sunday outing 1

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday lunch

I woke up around 9 a.m. today (Sunday the 14th), but I lay in bed and blogged for several hours (it's slow going on a tiny cell-phone keyboard) before I was ready to face the world. I'm basically housed in a separate building, and I didn't make it down to the family residence until 12:30, when Dominique texted that it was time for lunch.

Interesting and delicious spread, if a little bit too much on the onion-y side for me. Dom's wife Véronique described the main course with the English word "crumble," which was indeed a recognizable crumble, although Dom let his wife's dish sit under the broiler maybe a minute too long.

The dish tasted great, though: the base was mostly watery squash, with little bits of chorizo scattered inside. The topping was a dry crumble of flour, butter, and maybe some egg. Right underneath it was a layer of that lovely goat's cheese that I had praised earlier in front of Dominique. He and his wife took their cue from my compliment, interpreting it as a signal to feed me even more chèvre.

But before I show you the meal, here's a shot of a few of the gifts I had brought from Korea, now proudly displayed on the family hearth:

And here's your first look at an over-broiled crumble. I should have said something to Dom because I could smell the thing burning as soon as I walked into the kitchen.

That said, it was amazingly delicious, and I served myself two large pieces. The family served two types of rice as well, one being a regular, fluffy, long-grained rice, and the other being the same rice, but cooked with chicken broth to make it stickier.

Here's my plate:

This last shot was of something Véro had made. She modestly called it a gâteau au chocolat, using a super-generic term for her creation ("chocolate cake"), but what it was was nothing short of miraculous. The photo below doesn't do the "cake" justice:

This dessert was closer in spirit to one of those luscious terrines you can find on YouTube. It wasn't at all a cake in the American sense, i.e., a sugary cousin of bread. No: except for an afterthought-like layer of sweet crackers on the bottom, this was all about the chocolate. Of course, I asked Véro to take me through how she made it; there was absolutely no baking involved, but the dessert did need to sit for several hours in the fridge. Glorious. I really wish the photo could have captured just how amazing this was, but the experience was almost entirely tactile and gustatory.

dîner à la française

Crêpes aren't special or spectacular, but they are versatile. Saturday dinner was a mass of crêpes with both sweet and savory options: two kinds of ham, eggs, cheeses, creamy mushrooms, several types of honey, and of course, organic chocolate spreads.

the elusive Augustin

At long last, a pic of Augustin with his girlfriend and his little brother Tim, my intrepid tour guide.

I asked the young lady her name; it was something unpronounceable. I asked her how she spelled it, then I failed to catch the final three or four letters. I'll get back to you about that.

long jump

We did a hell of a lot yesterday. I walked around Dom's property, shopped at the local eco-grocery, toured the marsh with Tim, and went to the local track to watch Dominique's daughter Héloïse compete in several track events, including the long jump. Hélo, it turns out, can jump 4.95 meters, or a bit over fifteen feet. That's pretty impressive. She didn't win that event, sadly, but she was up there among the top competitors.

You can barely see Hélo off to the left of this pic, which does, in fact, show most of the family. I took a video of one of Hélo's jumps; I'll see if I can upload that at some point.

The day wasn't over: we went to a sporting-goods store to buy me a cheap trekking pole, then we went to a grocery to shop for food for dinner (which turned out to be sweet and savory crêpes). At dinner, Augustin, who's in college, finally showed up with his cute girlfriend, and I had the chance to unload all my gifts for the family. The French will spend several hours at table, and it was 10:30 p.m. by the time I staggered away from the family to go do my daily laundry, blog a bit, then flop into bed a bit before midnight.

Dinner and family pics up next.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

déjeuner à la française

Carbs upon carbs in this series of images of lunch, French-family style.

You're looking at herbed pork tenderloin with apples, plus rice and fusilli. Dessert was rhubarb pie. My father used to say he hated rhubarb pie, but I find nothing wrong with rhubarb, which I've eaten many times while living and studying in Europe.

coming back home for lunch

Just two images in this post: a cute, plump cat sitting magisterially on a car, and a pottery house, which I might want to visit at some point.

le vrai marais

Eventually, Tim and I arrived at what Tim called "the true marsh." After looking at the pics on Dom's website and not seeing any marsh, I had come to doubt that a marsh even existed. But here it was, in all its swampy glory.

I'll let the following images speak for themselves.

gardens and plants en route to the marsh

As mentioned in the previous post, the soil is dark and rich, and the water table is high. Result: a patch of earth on which green and growing things are all bursting with health and vitality.

Gardens upon gardens line this part of the path as Tim and I made our way to the true marsh. You'll see dahlias (the flowers with spiky petals), pumpkins, and a tomato so large that it looks as if it could be a pumpkin, too.

If you look carefully, in one picture you'll see a dog that followed us out of curiosity for a short way. It was skittish; when I turned around a couple times to see if it was still following us, it made as if to run away.