Musings from a Seattle personal chef
Archive for September, 2007
Despite seven years of wedded bliss, my darling and I sometimes find ourselves needling one another. He never folds the laundry correctly, I never tighten caps on bottles. He has a rather dry sense of humor, and I often mistake his “jokes” for personal attacks. This sends us into frivolous arguments that, once they’re over, cause us to question what the big deal was in the first place.
One thing that has particularly irked me is his portrayal of me as a carnivore. Mind you, I DO like meat, but I’ve consciously reduced my intake, especially when it comes to red meat. In fact, many of our dinners are vegetarian. So when I hear him say, “My gal LOVES her meat!” I assume people must think I spend my entire day gnawing away at huge hunks of dead flesh.
This all came to a head the other night. We were out with a few of his now former coworkers celebrating his last day at work (his freelance photography business has taken off so he had to give up his “secure” newspaper gig). They ordered several rounds of appetizers for the table, and one coworker says to me, “We ordered a bunch of meat, so we’ll make sure to send it your way.” HARRUMPH!
I was still fuming about the comment the next day so I confronted him at lunch. Of course, I had blown it all out of proportion — he only meant that given all my running, I need a lot of protein, and my preferred form is meat (which admittedly is true). But then he asked rhetorically, “Could you go a month without meat?”
I don’t think he was prepared for the answer.
“Why not?” I said. “In fact, let’s go meatless for the month of October!”
The look on his face spoke volumes: perhaps HE’S the one who will have the most problem!
It’s going to be an interesting experiment. I’ve already earmarked a lot of recipes from Heidi Swanson’s book, plus I’ll be making many of my standbys (pasta with vegetarian sauces, meatless pizza, bean & cheese tostadas). I’m a bit concerned about our protein needs, but fortunately we love beans — despite their odiferous aftermath (ironically, we’re less socially acceptable after eating red meat than we are after consuming beans. I know, I know: Too Much Information).
We’re still going to eat eggs and dairy, and may allow fish on a couple of occasions. We’ll also be taking a “bye” next Saturday as I promised our house-sitters a French feast (chicken liver mousse, salad Niçoise, beef carpaccio). However, other than the three pieces of prosciutto we shared, today’s menu was meatless. But tomorrow we start in earnest. Check back often to see how we’re doing!
Breakfast: Homemade egg muffins with cheddar cheese & prosciutto
Lunch: Edamame and English muffins with peanut butter
Dinner: Whole grain pizza with eggplant sauce, olive tapanade, grilled artichokes and fresh mozzarella, served with a green salad
I can’t believe more than a week has passed since I was sitting in a Paris bistro sipping café noir and taking in the sights and sounds of the street.
The primary reason for our trip to France was to run the Marathon du Medoc — 26.2 miles through the chateaux of Bordeaux featuring the wine and food of the region (for a race report, click here). But considering the race was a week before our 7-year anniversary, my darling and I decided to tack on a few days in Paris. He’s been promising to take me there ever since we got together and finally our day came. It lived up to — if not surpassed — all my expectations.
We lucked out on our air travel, having secured a nonstop flight on Air France from Seattle to Charles de Gaulle. The flight leaves Seattle at 5 p.m. and arrives in Paris the next morning at 11:30. Although we both got limited sleep on the plane, we were determined to stay up until at least 7 p.m. in an attempt to stave off jet lag.
It was cool and overcast when we arrived — perfect running weather! We took the RER from the airport to the Notre Dame station, then walked the 5 blocks to the St. Jacques Hotel on rue des Ecoles. The hotel was recommended by our friends and is in the heart of the Latin Quarter. After checking in we set out for a bite to eat before our run.
In planning our trip I scoured the Internet searching for recommendations for good eats in Paris (as if they’re difficult to find). David Lebovitz was a treasure trove of information, as was Serious Eats. However, those would have to wait; we were hungry and decided to just find a place nearby. But given we were in the Latin Quarter, we had plenty of options from which to choose.
I had a hankering for moules frites and soon spied a quaint place offering a special (10 euros, including a beer). But I didn’t want to settle on the first place I saw, so we meandered down the alley to the next bistro. They too offered moules frites, but the price was a bit higher (12 euros). And just when I was about to say I thought the first place had better ambiance, I saw the name:
How could we NOT eat there?!!! While the moules were delicious (they were much tinier than what we get here), the frites were merely so-so. No matter; I knew there’d be other opportunities.
After lunch we changed into our running togs and took off toward Notre Dame. The streets were packed with tourists, but once we reached the Seine the crowds thinned out somewhat. The Voie Georges Pompidou closes to automobile traffic on Sundays, so we ran along that until we reached the Louvre. We continued through the Jardin des Tuileries and back down to the Port des Champs Elysées until we were across from the Eiffel Tower. C’est Magnifique! Pictures just do not do it justice.