Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On the other side of the Atlantic...

I was getting sad about my inactive blog, so here I am again.
Only this time, a couple things are different: different country (for 6 months, anyway), which means different apartment.

And who says different apartment means different kitchen. In my case, it means having an oven from the 1950s, possibly 1940s, which has to be lit with a match. Those who have known me since my kindergarten days are well aware that I have a bit of a problem with fire. In fact, my childhood school years were punctuated by the dreaded visit of the firemen and the "smoke trailer". At Leal Elementary School, learning to "Stop, Drop and Roll" involved crawling on all fours in a smoke-filled trailer and learning how to get out as fast as possible. So it's not surprising that come bedtime, I would have nightmares and my parents would find me hidden underneath my comforter, or worse, hear me fall off my bed and onto the floor.
Anyway, the six year old me didn't like fire, and I still don't like it much. Lighting a match, or even the electrical match things, is scary enough--having to turn on the gas at the same time and wait for a reaction is even worse. All this to say that I sadly won't be doing a huge amount of baking in the next months, although several recipes are already on the list and I bought a brand-new pretty cupcake pan.

Even without baking, there are plenty of culinary options to choose from in this country.

I feel like every single store in the city has a selection of cookies or muffins to choose from and be tempted by. Not so tempting, though, when you learn that the average American has 12 teaspoons of corn syrup a day--I'll pass on the store-bought cookies, thanks.

I might be baking and cooking a lot less, but I have been learning a lot about my own food habits and those of the people around me. For once, I keep telling myself to eat healthy sweets if I really want some (and I DO!), so the chocolate bars sent over by Maman are going away a little too quickly. But I've also come to notice that I eat three meals a day, with a snack in between lunch and dinner (too close to dinner, and too much sugar, but oh well). For those living in France, it seems pretty normal, and the opposite would seem rather strange.

But not here! Three meals a day, where I'm currently working, is almost strange. Some people don't eat lunch, and others just eat all day long. "Healthy" food, sure--eggs! nuts! fruit!--but without the three-meal pattern. Besides the fact that I wouldn't be able to swallow hard-boiled eggs at 9am, or at any time for that matter, I've been discovering that these specific habits are exactly what differentiate Americans from Europeans, food-wise.

Obviously, many Americans don't fit this example, but I don't know a single person in France who eats like that.
Learning to eat three meals a day (I should say four, because the "gouter" IS important) seems like such a simple thing to do, but it really takes a lot when you're used to not having true sit-down meals, I guess. On a side note:

http://thisiswhyyourefat.com/ - A funny blog which, once again, makes it easy to believe that scary statistic about corn syrup.

So anyway, the next few months will hopefully see some beautiful baking experiences, but what I hope above all is that I won't get caught in the whrilwind of perpetual snacking. Trader Joe's cookies, stay away from me!

Coming Soon (I hope) : Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins!
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Suzanne said...

omg..I went to that website. And thank you. I"m seriously so disgusted right now..but it's a good thing! Keeps me away from that stuff!!