Sunday, October 21, 2012

Adventures in Food

This week has been an interesting food week.
Tuesday at the cafeteria: 
Lunch lady: "Veau ou boeuf" (veal or beef)
Me: "boeuf" 
Lunchlady: *gives me the veal*
Which makes two times eating veal since being in France this year. Which is a lot of veal considering I've never eaten it before, and considering the fact that I don't like the thought of eating a baby cow whose flesh is light because it still drinks milk. :(((( But I ate it anyway because it's not like not eating the food I am given is going to do any good. It was pretty good, especially considering it was cafeteria food. But I am yet to be blown away by the taste veal. I was under the impression that it was AMAZING...

Wednesday at the cafeteria:
So the cafeteria this day seems to be serving ham, onion rings, and potatoes. Kind of a weird meal, I think, but all very edible options. I ask for everything. Then I sit down at my table and start to eat. 'These onion rings taste weird,' I think to myself. 'Distinctly fishy, I wonder if it's the batter?' The meal progresses. 'Okay, these are DEFINITELY not onion rings... must be some kind of fish. I wonder why they made it this shape?' Finally, I make a comment about the onion ring shaped fish. 
German professor: "oh that's 'calmar' " 
Me: *blank look*
German professor: "uhhh....'octopus'?"
Me: *tries not to look horrified* 
I stopped eating the onion ring things after that. I know I probably should be open minded but octopuses are one of the most horrifying things on the planet. Upon reflection, I have decided she must have been mistaken and that I was actually eating Calamari or SQUID (which is another one of the most horrifying things on the planet). 

What cafeteria serves SQUID? What cafeteria serves veal for that matter? Aren't these things expensive?

Meanwhile, dinner had become another adventure.
We have an oven. It's tiny. But according to our landlord person, it works. So I decided that this week I would actually cook dinner rather than just eating a sandwich. So I looked through my cookbook, and everything I wanted to cook required the oven. So I buy the ingredients and an oven pan.
The problem with our oven is that apparently technology in France hasn't advanced since the 1950's (or whenever people started getting ovens that light themselves...), so we have to light the oven (and the burners ourselves).
I try to light the oven, but I get scared when nothing seems to be happening, even though I don't smell gas or anything. I ask my German roommate, she has no idea. My Panamanian roommate (who taught us how to light the stove) isn't around. We both stare at the oven in bafflement. I give up and change the recipe (stuffed peppers -- I cut up the peppers and saute them) a bit so I can do it stove top.
This day, I was planning on making Roasted Butternut Squash with Penne Pasta. This requires roasting the butternut squash, which requires an oven. I try to light the oven again, but I give up quickly because I am starving. I eat a sandwich for dinner.
I try once again to make the butternut squash. I try to light the oven, but it's clear I have no idea what I am doing. I ask my Panamanian roommate. She manages to get it to ignite, but it doesn't stay on. She gets sacred when it starts to smell like gas. I open the window and wait a bit, watch a youtube video on how to do light a stove. I try again, but I can't get it to work.
I am determined. I am going to light this stove if it kills me (which it won't, because this stove is DESIGNED to be lit like this, right?). Finally, I succeed. The trick is that you have to hold down the knob while you light the gas, and keep holding it for a bit so the flame takes. Success!
It is then that I encounter another problem: the pan I bought is too big for the stove!
Hmm... this oven won't close
But at this point I'm not going to let a little thing like the pan not fitting in the oven stop me... I slant the pan up, and I tie the oven closed (mostly) with a ribbon. 

To me this says one thing: classy
Finally, an hour and a half later, success is had: 
NOM NOM - totally worth it

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