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  • Writer's pictureLillian E.

New Friends!

After we learned how to make veal escalope, I went home and dubbed Monday: Cleaning Day. I did lots of cleaning, reorganizing, writing, homework etc. I only went back out of the house to meet my friend for dinner and catch up for a few hours. 

Please excuse the world's blurriest photo of the most perfectly proportioned onglet and fries with sauce.

Tuesday was back to school to make the veal escalope and fresh pasta for ourselves, and I would like to take a moment of appreciation to note that this dish earned itself a 5 on the grade scale for presentation. My kitchen partner didn’t have a tupperware for his pasta, so I ended up taking 2x the normal amount home and couldn’t possibly fathom eating it all, so I called up my firefighter friend and offered it to him.

Upon arrival at the firehouse, he told me he’d just gotten back from a mission and if I’d have come sooner he wouldn’t have been there nor had his phone. Never a dull moment. Anyway, his chief let him show me the fire trucks which was cool, and then she let me stay for dinner which was unheard of. We didn’t join the whole firehouse in the mess hall, but went and ate in a different dining room instead. Coincidentally, the firehouse was serving chicken escalope, pasta, and peas for dinner, but probably the blandest food I’ve ever tasted. When I left, I asked my friend to thank the chief for letting me stay for dinner (because I didn’t see her on my way out) and he said chief told him next time I come with school leftovers, I have to bring enough for everybody. Deal.

Wednesday was an early morning theory class, I think about “meat”? They’re starting to blend together and I can’t keep up with these posts fast enough. It’s too vast a subject to really dive into detail, and the French have probably 3x more specific classifications of how to cut up an animal (cow, for example) than we do in America. At the very least, after the course, even if I don’t know what cut specifically I’m working with, I’ll be more confident on how to cook it based on some basic criteria.

Finishing at 10:30 meant I had the whole day to myself! If you don’t care about art, you can skip the middle of this blog post because after making breakfast, I took myself to the Musée d’Orsay to see the regular exhibit and the temporary Van Gogh exhibit. Did you know, in the last 70 days of his life he painted 74 paintings? That’s crazy! This exhibit focused specifically on those last 70 days, and a lot of the art I’d never seen before because it usually lives in Amsterdam.

Aside from the exhibit, I had the best time wandering through the main hall looking at their sculptures and then into the side wings to see a variety of paintings. 

I took a photo of this one from three angles because I was so impressed at the size of the wings.

We've got Eve before and after eating the apple.

This one that could be interpreted as Hebe, Zeus' daughter who was a cupbearer to the gods (Zeus is the eagle) or a symbol of France sleeping beneath the wings of an eagle. I forget what the plaque said.

Joan of Arc before she was called to war.

And this guy with a really cool scroll that I liked.

And some more art I liked, as well as a view of the Eiffel Tower from one of the windows. I thought the meat painting was just relevant to what we'd learned in class.

Also this ballroom in the museum that nobody was in, but the doors were wide open.

When I’d finished, I met up with a new friend outside of the museum and we wandered off in search of coffee/ tea and somewhere to sit. We ended up staying at a cute little coffee shop in the Latin quarter for a couple hours, before getting up and wandering into a couple shops on our way towards the metro.

I had to run home and eat dinner quickly because I had another “drinks” planned with another new friend. Turns out she got stuck in a late work meeting, so I went for a walk around what I thought was the right neighborhood, and then she arrived at the bar and it turned out I’d picked the wrong one so we had to each walk 20 min to try and connect in the middle, and I ended up walking right past the new meeting place… it was a total mess but we had a good giggle about it when we finally did meet up much later than originally planned. Giving up on the original plan, we sat down at the first restaurant that was still open and (with her being French) chatted in French for the next several hours each with a glass of wine. 

Thursday I slept in. Too much running around Paris on Wednesday (just kidding, no such thing). But I did get up and start working on the homework due next week because I knew I had a busy weekend coming up.

The demo was at 2pm but I arrived early to change, and one of the pastry students I’ve made friends with came down to the main floor with a gorgeous strawberry cake and said “someone please help me eat this, I have no idea if it’s good.” Say less, girlie.

Chef showed us how to clean and prep a trout, as well as make puff pastry (necessary for next week’s class), and then I bounced back out of school for yet another evening drinks meetup with a girl. Oui, c’est moi, le papillon social. We had a great time, discovered a new cafe and split a giant cheese board. 

Friday morning was bright and early, but we took a field trip! We started in a classroom, learning about different kinds of Paris markets and food seasonality, but kept our street clothes on because then we went out and actually visited a local street market with one of the chefs.

Back to school in time to change and go attempt to clean, cut and fry trout for ourselves (and make puff pastry in between). Chef kept telling me I wasn’t prepping my fish fast enough, but c’mon. I wasn’t the only one and I definitely wasn’t the last. Also, do you know how slippery and slimy trout is? And we had to prep and cook TWO of them?? My trout ended up cooked, just could’ve been more fried if I had more time. As it was, the whole class was running behind because we took too long to scale the fish at the beginning. Also, fun fact: There is a proper way to plate a fish, and mine was backwards. I knew that before I plated it, but I accidentally cooked it backwards too and couldn’t flip it over to present because it cooks differently on both sides. First thing Chef noticed? I forgot to put parsley leaves on my dish for presentation. Second thing? My fish was backwards (in my defense, so was my kitchen partner’s).

I went out with my neighbor-classmate afterwards in our neighborhood for a well-deserved, end-of-week snack. 

Home to change and pick up my trumpet because guess what day it was- rugby match day! France vs. Ireland. I made a quick stop by the local wine store on my way out to the metro to say hi (because I was going to miss his wine tasting on Saturday) and get a quick lesson about Bordeaux wines/ the region, and also make a few plans for the coming weeks.

When a few customers arrived, I made my exit and took the metro up to the north of the city for a night with the Banda. I found a few familiar faces and a whole lot of new ones, and this event was easily 3-4 times more packed than the last time I played with them. Instead of a dinner event upstairs, we were downstairs on the main floor and outside in the courtyard watching the rugby game on giant projectors with a few hundred other people, playing when the game stopped, and drinking and eating otherwise. 

The trumpet player whose concert I went to last weekend and whose rugby team also came to watch? He showed up injured (from playing rugby earlier in the week) so we propped him up on a stool and he became a fantastic source for learning about rugby all night. If I hadn’t had to pack and catch an 8am train the next morning, I’d have stayed out all night with them again!

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