Monday, October 6, 2008

GONE KEBABING (October 5th)

Gabrielle says: When one officially knows that she is about to embark on an experience requiring her to inhabit a foreign country for a period of about three months, it is only expected that she would set some pretty concrete goals for herself to complete throughout the excursion.

And if that above statement is not a truism (for I have no supporting evidence of that fact and no consistent access to the Internet in order to search for forms of evidential confirmation), it (at the very least) rings true for me. In fact, I’ve created multiple lists of goals to complete while living in France. Some of these goals are quite simple (well, I guess that terminology only applies depending on your own personal definition of “simple,” but read on and judge later) such as physically, mentally, and emotionally surviving the trip. Other goals are a bit more intense like being able to communicate in French on a basic level by November 29th. Yet, overall, the goals are all worthy of attempt.

I’m writing this post because I’ve just recently completed two of my goals, which for one unimportant reason or another both happen to deal with food. First, on Saturday, October 4, I had my very first crepe! You see, crepes are an extremely common treat in France, and I’d never had that opportunity to try one before. Therefore, I figured France would be the perfect place! Not to mention, as soon as I discovered that they consisted of a folded up, pancake-like pastry filled with your choice of fruit, jam, or other spreadable products including nutella, my ridiculously active sweet tooth became very intrigued. In fact, almost immediately afterward, I made a pack with another student that we would both purchase crepes together on an upcoming excursion into the city.

When Wendy took us on our first walking tour of Lyon, we realized it was the perfect day for crepes! We passed multiple stands and shops along the way, and no matter how chilly or hungry we were, we held out until the tour was over in order to purchase our treats. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (it was an amazingly long day), we found the perfect crepe stand. A single, older man stood behind it and effortlessly whipped up the goodies for the numerous customers anxiously waiting. When it came our turn to order, we practiced our French, and watched him pour the batter onto the burners, flip the pancakes over, spread nutella thickly across the pancakes surface, and then fold them up into the cutest little triangular pockets I’d ever seen. He handed them to us on cardboard plates, instructed us to take some napkins along for our journey, and graciously accepted our 2.50 euros. Overall, having a crepe in France was entirely worth it! It was warm, fresh, sweet, and filling. Basically, it was perfection in a little triangular pocket… and if I’m not careful or watched carefully by my peers, I just might become a crepe addict for my remaining time in the city. Haha!

The second food product that I was recently able to try while in France is called a kebab. No, I’m not talking about meat and grilled vegetables that are served on a stick. In France, the common kebab shops (they appear on almost every street corner, but are all individually owned and run instead of franchises such as McDonald’s) sell sandwiches and simple plates of food similar to a town sub shop. The kebab part refers to the meat the owners use in order to create their entrees. This giant hunk of meat (imagine an overall oval shape) is kept in plain view and somehow solidly stuck onto a rotating pole, which the worker then spins as he easily slices thin pieces off of the meat with two ridiculously sharp, large knives. Once the pieces of meat are ready, a pocket of bread is prepared, and the customer is encouraged to choose whatever vegetables and condiments she’d like to create her sandwich. For example, I chose mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce, and tomato. The meat is quickly cooked up, the customer’s selections are all combined together, and the sandwich is usually served with fries (sans French) and a can of soda.

Overall, I was surprised by how yummy this concoction happened to be. I was a bit timid to try a kebab considering how the unappetizing meat was just sitting out in plain view, but my friends highly recommended it. Therefore, I added it to my list of goals, and viola it was successfully completed. Now, I know what you’re all anxiously wondering: Will I ever “go kebabing” again? Who knows! It’s quite possible though. The food was very satisfying. Of course, I have other food goals to accomplish while in France before I run out of time, which most definitely includes trying escargot! I made someone a promise about that one WAY before leaving. I can’t break that promise now. I wouldn’t even think of it. Maybe I’ll try it in Paris! We do leave in THREE weeks.

Avec l'Amour,

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