France


A few weeks ago I helped serve at a dinner in conjunction with the Gwangju Design Biennale. For the starter, diners were presented with syringes filled with olive oil, vinegar and mascarpone

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It’s salad season and I seem to be missing out. While I think California wins when it comes to making delicious, healthy and satisfying salads, my favorite thing in Paris was going to my weekly neighborhood farmers market. I looked forward to walking down to the market on Sundays and strolling up and down the different stalls.

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I moved abroad in September 2008. What started out as a three-month plan to live and work on French farms has now become over two years living in three different countries: Switzerland, France and now England.

And it all started with cheese.

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I was helping out with a Lunch in the Loft cooking class where there was a lesson on de-boning rabbit.

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Hoarding jars of duck fat in my fridge probably stems from the same pathology as some people who keep a stash of Vicodin in their medicine cabinet.

I might never use it, but it’s reassuring to know it’s there if I ever do need it.

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I hate to kill everyone’s Paris fantasy but there’s something I have to say.

The food here is mediocre. French food here is good. Cous cous is good. Eat those things, by all means.

But in terms of Japanese, Korean, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese — all the things I crave on a day to day basis — it’s a don’t. These are things that will have to wait when I go home for the holidays. But a warning to you, Reader: Don’t waste your precious calories/depressed dollars on these foods when you’re in Paris (and people do, just check out any Paris food board).

I’m warning you.

It’s terrible, it’s an outrage, it’s a mockery to people who know better than to eat soggy ramen, boring pho broth, naan with Laughing Cow cheese stuffed in it. I once read someone’s post on a food board how Japanese and Chinese food were just a “cheap option for Parisians” which threw me into a rage for days.

If the French are totally condescending about the way non-French people butcher their language, then I can say that they mess up a lot of good food, even the simplest things — like guacamole, anyone??!!!

My friend just got fed up with this food travesty and inspired by this post, decided to make his own Shanghainese shengjian bao, from hand-making the dough to boiling down pig’s feet to get the gelatin for that tiny bit of soupiness. Me being me, I helped out with the construction and eating parts of the project.

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