Friday, October 19, 2018

Thursday lunch

I ate lunch with Dominique's parents again. Today (Thursday), the idea was to do lunch, then go out and visit some churches, then finish up in downtown Niort by around 5:30 p.m. It was a lovely tour and a great way to experience local history, especially with Papa as our knowledgeable tour guide. It would have been even lovelier had I not had to take a shit twice during our tour. Part of the problem was that I was still sick, but another major problem was that my digestive rhythm has been thrown out of whack by the reintroduction of dietary normalcy: I'm once again eating two or three meals a day instead of just eating lunch plus a late-night snack. This makes me want to poop more often, and it's starting to drive me a bit nuts. I'm going to have to tell Dom & family that I probably can't eat dinner with them anymore. That might hurt their feelings, but for the sake of my intestines, this may be necessary for survival.

Anyway, lunch started off well enough. The first course was oeufs mimosa, which we Yanks know by the inelegant name of "deviled eggs."

Next up: paupiettes de veau, a veal preparation that was incredibly tasty:

Not pictured: the cheese course. I simply forgot to take the shot. Remark: the French love their bread and cheese, but they don't eat either in great quantities. Like the Japanese, the French approach to food is more aesthetic than a matter of appeasing hunger. You might get at most a single slice of bread. You'll have your choice of five or six cheeses, but you'll cut off only tiny bits of each cheese. You can butter your bread or not, as you see fit. If you do things right, you'll have just enough pieces of cheese to allow you to eat all your bread and all your cheese at the same time: five pieces of cheese, five bites to finish your bread. Taking a second slice of bread and repeating the process isn't unheard-of.

Below is one of the best versions of mousse au chocolat I've ever tasted:

Maman complained that she doesn't make her mousses consistently: they turn out a bit different every time. She thought this particular batch had come out too dense; I told her that, as long as it had the requisite bubbles, it was a good mousse, as far as I was concerned. And it was.

Next course: cookies.

Below is a shot of the sugar cubes that were there to accompany the coffee that Maman served to Papa. (I made Dom's parents aware that I don't drink coffee.) Papa dipped a cube in his coffee, allowing the coffee to crawl up the cube by capillary action, I told him this reminded me of how some Turks handle tea: they do the same thing with their sugar cubes. Papa responded that some folks in the north of France drink their coffee by placing sugar cubes in their mouths and drinking their coffee such that it runs through the cubes as a way of counteracting the coffee's natural bitterness.

To be sure, sugar cubes aren't some sort of separate dessert course. I just thought they'd make for a pretty image.

Lastly, a shot of the same chocolates we'd had the other day:

Once again, a wonderful lunch. I should have availed myself of the parents' bathroom before we started our tour, but I failed to do so, and my intestines punished me for my decision. Even had I not been sick, I'd have had problems: I'm wired such that the eating of a meal causes me to want to poop out the previous meal. What can I say? I am what the Good Lord made me.

The following posts document the churches we visited and what we saw when we dipped into Niort's downtown area. I can't remember the names of all the churches we saw, so I'm going to leave most of the following posts un-narrated. If you're already familiar with the parts of a Catholic church, then you'll easily recognize the things I've documented. Just consider this an impressionistic tour of some local holy places. Enjoy.

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