Saturday, March 29, 2008

The New Face of Evil

I'm starting to seriously think about acupuncture for Chat-chat. Speak of the devil, he just leapt into my lap, barely giving me enough time to get my plate of toast out of the way. Anyway, I saw a report on TV about acupuncture for animals. There was this cat who apparently had "accidents" and his owner took him for treatment. Now he only has an accident once a month or so and he's more relaxed. Apparently it does work. It was kind of funny actually cause the vet put the needle in then attached some little piece of cork to the free end and lit it. So it slowly burned and this brought energy into the target area. I was just hoping the fur didn't catch fire.

If I'm considering this (and for the record, I'm not really...), it's cause Chat-chat is getting on our nerves lately. He's a sweet cat but a little too energetic, and his only outlet is sometimes going on the balcony. So I suppose it's not surprising that he acts up a bit. But I'm starting to resent losing so much sleep because of a cat who is supposed to bring me comfort. We don't let him sleep with us, but sometimes he really wants to see us in the middle of the night. Or is it that he thinks he can get food at 4 a.m.? He's wrong about that. It's not just that he meows, but he also scratches at the door and jumps up to the push knob. The latter makes a very annoying clanging noise that you just can't ignore. My husband came up with a system (he always has a system!) to reduce this awful noise. He puts a tall suitcase in the hallway so the cat can't jump with enough force to make a loud noise. But it still wakes us anyway. Or sometimes he falls off the suitcase or knocks it over entirely.
Sometimes he gives up and leaves us alone till 6:30. You've got to give it to him. The cat can tell time. He's almost always there to wake us up at this time (or earlier). So we don't have to worry about a power outage and our alarm not going off. I just hope that Chat-chat is aware that this weekend we change to daylight savings and will reset his internal clock.
If you have any ideas about how we can retrain kitty, they are most welcome!

Friday, March 28, 2008

On a sesame seed bun

If I were living in the US, going to McDonald's would not be blog-worthy. But in France it's sort of like visiting the US embassy. I know this is not the culinary higlight of my country. But it's just that sometimes you get a craving for those tastes you've known all your life, and when you walk into the restaurant you feel a bit like you're at home.

So today I treated myself to Le petit chicken, since the McChicken was out of stock. An order of fries and a vanilla milkshake. I guess I decided to go all out. It was only 11 so I had to wait a bit for my sandwich. But I went ahead and started eating my perfectly hot fries. Black-eyed Peas "Pump It" was playing, and I was bopping my head. There were so few people in there anyway so I didn't care too much. All in all it was a tasty little lunch.

So how is McDonald's different in France? First of all they call it "McDo". And if I say McDonald's to a French person they often give me a look that means "Quoi?/What?" But frankly it just doesn't sound right saying it any other way. And if you order a Happy Meal (which I sometimes do- there's no shame in that, right?!) the choices for the desserts are a yogurt drink or a little packet of apple slices and grapes or an apple sauce. Now it's been a while since I got a Happy Meal stateside, so you'll have to tell me if they have the same desserts.

I noticed they've got a new side dish now called "petites tomates" which is basically a packet of cherry tomatoes. All in an effort to make "McDo" more McHealthy for the French. If you ask the average French person if they like the food there, they'll probaly scrunch up their face and say, "C'est pas bon./It's not good." Like maybe if they were to admit it was kind of good they'd get their nationality revoked. They may be a little right when they say it's not so hot though. I'm convinced the quality is better in the US. The lettuce is crisper, the meat juicier. So my theory is (and yes, I have given this enough thought to have a theory), that they made it a bit inferior just so the French wouldn't go crazy for it. At any rate, a number of French who've visited the US (including my husband who's rather picky...) agree that it's better stateside.

So think of me the next time you crunch down on your deliciously golden fries...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Big French Meal

Not the first and certainly not the last. It was Easter this weekend, so we had a big lunch. As a starter there were these filled pastry cups. A creamy chicken/mushroom type filling. These are easy for me to finish. As the main meal, belle-maman (mother-in-law) made duck à l'orange. So tender and not overwhelmingly orange. A lady had given her the duck in exchange for a big rhubarb plant. Not sure who got the better deal here, though everyone knows a rhubarb plant is the gift that keeps on giving. Belle-maman does make a mean rhubarb pie.

Of course, this was served with steamed potatoes and green beans. I succesfully fended off their attempts to give me more meat, ensuring that I could actually finish what was already on my plate. Then cheese, of course. I opted for the spreadable cream one with garlic because I was pretty sure it was pasteurized. I'll tell you more about the difficulties of cheese-eating while pregnant in France another day.

Then, the dessert. Usually my favorite part. This year it was a cake with a light chocolate mousse filling. They call this cake a "nest" or nid since it's for Easter and there are little egg decorations on it. Those leafy like things you see are hiding orange persimmon fruits. They're so deliciously tangy. Anyway, belle-maman gave us huge, and I mean huge, portions. Everyone except grandad had trouble finishing their piece. I left part of the gooey chocolate end and was gonna go back to it later. Then I saw that she was preparing pieces of an ice cream cake, Viennetta style tiramisu. Without thinking or censoring, I said, "you're trying to kill us!" Luckily she took this in stride and said with a smile, "in every possible way."
French hubby and I barely survived all this sugar, and he's got a big sweet tooth as it is. Then on Michel Drucker (Sunday variety show), they were talking about Abba. I like their music, but after about four songs, I felt the same sugar overload as from the cake. All I was craving that night was a big piece of lettuce. And to think we're going to a restaurant next Sunday...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here we go

So I finally decided to start a blog. It's my little (cause I swear she's a few centimeters shorter) colleague who gave me the idea. I've been meaning to start one for a while, not cause I have particularly interesting things to tell you, but more to get things off my chest. Of course, if they're angry things I'm gonna have to change the names and characteristics of those involved. I'm sure I'll go an a few rants now and then. And maybe then I'll feel better. Some of the entries may be a bit (a lot) baby-related, since that's the new thing that we're preparing at the moment. And now, let the blogging begin.