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  • Writer's pictureLillian E.

Toujours de la Saucisse

The class I had on Saturday was surprisingly difficult. I slept in after the long night with the Banda, went to class at 2pm and the school felt empty. We were supposed to be making quiche Lorraines but nobody finished their quiche. Ok, technically we all finished our quiches but NOBODY managed to cook them properly. We made dough by hand, which took a little time (first time doing it, be nice) and then blind-baked it which literally means you can't see when it's been baked, so it turns out that all of our guestimates fell short. The frustrated mood in the locker room was tangible.

I took my quiche for a ride on the metro, all the way home thinking I could save it. I could not. It just took up real estate in the fridge.

After dropping off my quiche, I went down the street and met my classmate for wine tasting at local wine shop. Long story short, we had an amazing time. The owner took his time teaching my friend and me about the wines he was displaying, and ended up pulling out a bottle from "exotic" Oregon that my friend was actually part of the wine club for (she's also from California). Turns out it was the owner's 31st birthday and his wife and friends had stopped by to bring him lunch earlier, so they joined us and after a while, closed the shop, brought out a snack (saucisse from the butcher down the street and baguette that you tore chunks off of), and turned up the music! We made new friends and I will be going back to them for all my wine needs.

This was their dog, Pepper. She was an expert at figuring out who had saucisse in their hand.

I didn't stay long. Around 9pm I went home to change, because Flatmate and I had plans to go out with her classmates.

We started with a drink and pasta snack at their apartment.

Then ventured out.

And went to Pachamama.

It's huge and reminds me a bit of Clifton's Republic in Los Angeles, but much more packed. The music and dancing were much better than the place I went on New Year's Eve.

We probably didn't get home until 4am again, so getting up on Sunday was a bit of an effort. My flatmate and I rolled down into the metro to go meet my friend at the Marché aux Puces up in Saint-Ouen. I was too tired to remember to take any photos, but we walked around exploring for a few hours. I'd like to go back again sometime now that I have a better idea of what it's like.

As soon as I got home, I turned back around and went down the street to my classmate's apartment to re-attempt my quiche. She texted me with her gorgeous results to let me know that she had indeed gone out to buy the necessary ingredients, so I asked if I could take another stab at it too using her kitchen. It took me much longer that it should have but I think it was good practice because look:

I added potatoes and spinach this time because I wasn't being graded.

Unfortunately because it took so long to make, I was running late to church. The only reasonable option? Bring the quiche- it's a good ice breaker. I took quiche to church, it probably soaked up some holy atmosphere, and I got about 50 questionable looks. Afterwards I met some young adults (jeunes professionels) who brought me to the young adult dinner across the street at the rectory. Lots of people, lots of pasta. I should have just added the holy quiche to the table. I wasn't the only new person, but I was definitely the farthest from home and everybody was very welcoming.

*Keeping on theme with dinner being "an event" in France, we started in a sitting room area with beers/ waters, potato chips and saucisse (always saucisse), then moved to pasta and tartiflette (potatoes, lardons and cheese dish) for dinner in the dining room where they also opened red wine, then finished it all off with Snickers/ Mars ice cream bars and limoncello. Nothing fancy by any means, but definitely separated out into distinct courses. Also they sing their prayers, and since over half of them are in the choir it sounded fantastic.

On Monday we had possibly the longest day at school yet. We started with a demo at 7:30am where Chef showed us how to decapitate, gut and truss a chicken served with rice pilaf. Then we immediately went into Practical and beheaded our own chickens. I named mine Frédérique, but only until I cut off its head. Then it just became a regular old chicken in a kitchen.

Unfortunately I did sustain my first injury. It could've been much worse, I wasn't actually using the knife, but I did put my cleaver down on the cutting board and pull on something in the chicken that didn't want to budge. My hand slipped in the direction of my cleaver and I ended up with a bandaid on my finger.

Last class of the day was a theory course on sensory analysis. It was really interesting, just talking about how the senses play into what we're doing in the kitchen. The chef in charge of the class was very engaging and had us all discussing and thinking about different ways to analyze food and how perceptions can be objective/ subjective. Kind of a one-off class, there's another theory class about meat somewhere down the line.

At the end of the day I pulled my chicken, rice pilaf, vegetables, and velouté out of the school fridges and home to change, then took the whole circus on the metro over to a friend's place where we paired it with red wine and Nutella beignets.

*Back to describing dinner being "an event," I provided a whole chicken, rice, and vegetables, and we still stopped by the corner market beforehand to pick up an appetizer of bread + goat cheese + honey, saucisse (again with the saucisse), salad (which we ended up not eating, too much food), the dessert, and a bottle of red wine.

I stayed longer than I should have because by the time we put the plates in the kitchen, it was probably not a great time for me to be on the metro (nothing crazy, just midnight) so instead I crashed on the couch. My favorite thing about this friend's apartment is that it's above some stables, so I woke up in the middle of the night wondering what the unceasing rumbling noise was coming through the walls, only to realize that it was the horses snorting and kicking their stalls. I woke up again at sunrise to the sound of those horses being walked on cobblestones and a far-away solo trumpet playing something lovely, while I got to snuggle back under my puffy duvet and listen for free.

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