If Les Sables d'Olonne say so, it must be true...
From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne
I'm really liking this song right now:
As I listened to Crystal read a text message from her husband the other day, I started thinking again about the differences between terms of affection in French and English (or at least in American English). Besides all the lovely-dovey ones (mon coeur, mon amour, ma chérie, etc), the French ones mostly tend to come from the animal Kingdom. You've got things like:
Labels: French language
I've been calling my mother every Sunday night at 9pm for probably the past ten years. A couple weekends back when I was Normandy, I lost track of the day, as you often do when you're on vacation, and forgot to call. What followed was a series of increasingly frantic emails on her part, wondering where on Earth I was. It started off with "Samantha, it's after 9, are you going to call?" to "It's getting late now...just wondering where you are..." to "What's going on? Has something happened??" etc etc. My poor mother, being the uber-worrier that she is, didn't sleep a wink that night.
Yesterday I got up early, rolled up my sleeves and set about to make something special for my last Finnish class. I decided on pulla for several reasons - we'd talked about it in class and many of my classmates had never tasted it, it was a recipe I was familiar with and it also reminds me of my dear grandmother.
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups mik, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1 cup (or less) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
7-8 whole cardamom pods, seeded and crushed (or 2-3 tsps ground)
4 eggs, beaten
8-9 cups sifted white flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup chopped or sliced almonds (optional)
1/2 cup crushed lump sugar (optional)
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (about 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be quite smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter and stir in well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until a stiff dough forms.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board and cover with an inverted mixing bowl. Let the dough rest 15 minutes. Knead until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, turn the dough to grease the top, cover lightly, and let rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees) until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours). Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled (about 30-45 minutes).
Turn out again onto a slightly floured board, divide into 3 parts, then divide each of these parts into 3. Shape each into a strip about 16 inches long by rolling the dough between the palms and the board. Braid the 3 strips together into a straight loaf, pinch the ends together, and tuck under. Repeat for the second and third loaves. Lift the braids onto lightly greased baking sheets. Let rise for about 20 minutes (the braids should be puffy but not doubled in size).
Glaze the loaves by brushing with the beaten egg, and if you wish, sprinkle with the crushed sugar and the almonds.
Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overbake or the loaves will be too dry. Remove from the oven when a light golden-brown. Makes 3 braids. Slice to serve.
Variation: Sometimes for special occasions, my grandma will drizzle powdered-sugar icing over the top of it all once the loaves have cooled.
Instead of making the third loaf, I decided to roll it out and make some korvapuusti. Korvapuusti is sort of like the Finnish version of a cinnamon roll - you use the pulla dough, roll it out, spread it with butter, cinnamon & sugar and then roll it back up and slice it. Press down in the middle so that the sides smoosh out, let them rise a bit more and then pop them in the oven.
I'd never made it before, but it sounded simple enough, so I decided to give it a shot. Until I realized I couldn't find my rolling pin. I searched high and low for it (and really, where could it go in my shoe-box of an apartment?), but it was nowhere to be found. So I improvised instead with an unopened bottle of hairspray. I'm getting to be quite the expert at finding second-uses for everyday household objects, non?This is how they turned out - they're slightly over-cooked because I didn't realize they would bake so fast - these were in the oven for less than 10 minutes.
A website I first heard about several months back is finally up and running! It's called My American Market and is targeted towards American (duh) expats living in France. It's run by a French woman named Anne-Claire who spent several years in the US and is now back in France.
My American Market:
Are you struggling to satisfy your cravings because you are:
- Embarrassed to ask your family and friends for one more favor?
- Fed up with products that melted or broke during the transatlantic trip?
- Worn out from having to rush around Paris, search for parking spaces and drive in traffic?
- Frustrated from having to wait until your next trip or someone’s visit?
- Tired of bringing back heavy suitcases from your trip to the US?
Then, My American Market has been designed for you: it is a hassle-free online store for your American food and beverage staples.
My American Market’s best features:
One of the largest assortments of American food and treats
in stock and ready to be shipped.
Open 24/7, My American Market is there whenever the cravings get you!
Easy to order
My American Market online store is very user-friendly.
Find and order your favorite products in just a few clicks.
Your order will be processed within the next business day.
Your shipment will be securely packaged and sent via La Poste Colissimo.
In France, it will be delivered to your door within 2 business days.
My American Market uses a 128bit SSL encrypted checkout system.
You can choose to process your payment online, on the phone or by check.
Get connected with Europe's American community and friends.
Great customer service
The American way, period!
Visit us today: www.MyAmericanMarket.com
and enter coupon code “BLOG21” to get a 10% discount on your order (shipping costs not included).
In just a few minutes, I'll be leaving for an appointment at a local Eye clinic. I'm meeting with a surgeon to get more information about LASIK vision correction. Those of you who followed my old blog will remember that I had already scheduled the procedure once for last June, but then I ended up canceling it because I was worried about going through the operation alone. (I had images of being alone in my tiny chambre de bonne and having something go horribly wrong and no one to call).
Yesterday, I took advantage of the (semi) nice weather to head down to Provins, a small medieval town located 77km southwest of Paris. I'd been wanting to go there for a while to visit Casey, a fellow American-in-France, so when I heard Provins was holding its annual renaissance festival this past weekend, I thought it might be the perfect occasion. If you don't have a car, you can get to Provins via a commuter train leaving from the Gare de l'Est, and it takes just over an hour. They are at the very end of zone 6, so you can either buy a train ticket or use a mobilis ticket zones 1-6 (FYI: cheaper than the train ticket).
I saw this at a bus stop the other day near St Michel and thought it was unusual because it had actual bathing suits as part of the ad. It also gave me something to do instead of staring at the crazy old woman who was sitting on the other side of me, muttering to herself and taking of/readjusting her bum leg at all hours of the night. Granted, I may have had one too many 2€ kirs before heading home, but the sight of her holding her leg in one hand, while her "knee" laid on the ground in between us, was just too much for me to handle.
My co-worker wasn't too in to the idea of going to a French restaurant, so instead of going back to the Quebecois restaurant, we decided to eat at a Moroccan restaurant instead. It turned out to be a fantastic experience - we were the only ones there, so we got great service and the chef kept coming out to make sure we were happy with our dishes.
Through a contact at the American Presence Post in Rennes, I was able to get a last-minute invite to the D-day celebrations in Normandy this past weekend. I'd already been planning on going to visit Karina that same day, so the timing was perfect. And so worth catching that early morning train, even though I'd gotten back around 9pm the night before from my work trip.
Most of you know already, but I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the D-Day Celebrations in Normandy this past Saturday. I have a lot to say about it, but I'm chez Karina until tomorrow night, so I'll do a proper post once I get back.
Doh, just realized I forgot to post about this. Tuesday night, the city of Rennes held the first-ever multi-media Opera experience in France. They showed "Don Giovanni" simultaneously on a big screen across from the opera building, inside the city hall in two different halls (one HD and one 3D), on several different local TV channels, on one international channel (Mezzo) and also on the radio.
Well, I'm back in Bretagne this week, though thankfully this time I am NOT at the feet-smelling hotel. I decided to try out a new one in Pontivy instead, and it's actually really nice. They've got all kinds of extras that I rarely see in France, like aromatherapy candles and those incense stick dealies in the rooms. Pretty avant garde for a small-town French hotel. The employees are all incredibly friendly as well. And since we are on a business trip, we have the right to what is known as a "soirée étape". It's a special deal that a lot of hotels offer for people traveling on business, and it usually includes the room, breakfast and a three-course dinner for around 50-60€. Considering that the rooms themselves are often 65€+, it's definitely a bargain.
I was downtown running some errands today, when I came across a whole bunch of people sitting in front of l'Hôtel de Ville. At first I thought maybe it was another protest, but as I got closer, I saw they were watching a big screen TV:
Labels: Life in Paris