Second Chance Idol Sudden Death: Open Topic
My fiancé doesn’t fit the French stereotype. In fact, until I started coming around, he never bought baguettes. Like, how is that possible? You have some of the best bread in the world at your disposal - there are literally boulangeries every few steps. They’re like Starbucks for bread. And you never have one at home? How is this even possible? Are you even French if you don't have a baguette with every meal?
People even break their own rules when it comes to bread. For instance, it's frowned upon to eat on the run. They think meals should be eaten while sitting at a table, enjoying the food. Except when it comes to their precious baguettes. People break off bits of the baguette, munching as they walk home from work. People give kids hunks of the hard, French bread as they run around the park. No butter needed. Just a chunk of bread.
But not my fiancé.
Not until I came around, that is. Because apparently, in some ways, I'm more Frenchified than he is.
It started with me venturing to the stores on my own, just an excuse to get out and about. I'd pick up a baguette to go with our dinner since it felt like the French thing to do. I'm really struggling with finding meals for me to eat there. A lot of the brands I'm familiar with back in the United States don't exist there, and it's been a frustrating process for me. I'm used to eating certain things, almost always the same types of things, every day. And now I need to find new things to eat.
So discovering baguettes has been a game-changer for me. It usually becomes my dinner. As in, I'd only eat the baguette with some butter and maybe some cheese. Trust me, it's delightful, and now my Frenchie regularly eats baguettes like this even when I'm not there. I introduced him to a new custom. One I just so happened to steal from his country, but that's beside the point.
We soon realized that one baguette isn't enough for the two of us. Not when I felt the need to munch on pieces of the delicious bread throughout the day and have it for lunch as well as dinner.
So we’d get two. Two baguettes a day. They’re cheap, and it’s an easy meal. I'm a simple gal when it comes to food, I could live off bread alone if I had to.
But my fiance expressed some concern about me eating nothing but bread. He's worried I'm not getting any vegetables or other nutrients, and he's probably right. A girl can't live off baguettes alone, and I need to expand my horizons and find meals I can eat in France since I'll be living there soon.
So we went in search of soup for me to eat with my bread. The problem is, the French see soup differently than I do. Their soup is liquid. Their vegetable soups are pureed veggies, and being that I'm a chubby gal with an appetite, I need some chunky vegetables or noodles or something to sink my teeth into. I don't like to drink my dinner. Standing in front of the soup display made me a very sad girl.
I decided fine, I’ll make my own soup. From scratch. Like I do at home sometimes (like once a year or so).
My favorite is a knock-off of Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup. I love dipping bread in the ooey, gooey cheesy soup. France is known for being the cheese capital of the world, right? This should be easy, I thought.
Oh, how wrong I was.
We headed over to the cheese section of the store, which is massive. It's a cheese lover's dream, and our grocer isn't even that large. I'd say it's about 50% cheese, 40% wine, and 10% everything else. There are cheeses I’d never heard of before mixed in with Gouda and Brie. Because of my American palate, I'm not a fan of many of their cheeses, sadly. It's an acquired taste, I'm told. I stick to Raclette and Mimolette — cheese for beginners, as I call them — because they are fairly bland and remind me of cheese back in the United States. No weird smells, no after taste, no strange texture. Just... cheese.
But trust me when I say they have pretty much every variety of cheese known to man at this small, corner grocery store, even if I don't eat most of them.
So you can imagine my surprise when I realized they didn't have cheddar. Not that I could see at least. They had shredded Emmental, a cheese that tastes like dirty feet, but no shredded cheddar. I did a quick Google search and found out that the French don't think cheddar is cheese. So that's why the country famous for its cheeses somehow lacks the most popular cheese in the United States. They think they're better than us. And for the most part, I would say they're right. But they're wrong about this, and I will fight anyone who disagrees with me. Cheddar is most definitely cheese — even if it doesn't taste like feet.
I had given up my search, but my Frenchie managed to find a tiny block of cheddar for $4 tucked away in a dark corner of the cheese section as if they were trying to hide it in shame. I was dubious since it looked nothing like the cheddar back home - you know, bright, neon, no-way-that’s-real orange. But we bought it to try it.
I cut off a chunk, and my first thought was — okay, this is close to what I'm used to. Close, but not exactly. It was similar to the hard varieties of cheddar with a really strong flavor. The texture was a bit weird to me, it was flakey and a bit chalky. Then I was hit with an incredibly strong aftertaste, a trace of bitterness in the back of my throat. I thought — wow, this is overpowering. I wasn't sure if I liked it, but I went back for another bite. And then another, larger bite. Before long, I ate the entire small block, with some help from my Frenchie. Obviously, I do like it. At least I'm about 80% sure I do. The aftertaste still throws me off.
But one thing I am certain about— it's not right for my soup. It's too strong. It's overpowering. And it won't melt properly to give me the ooey, gooey cheesy soup I desire.
But that’s okay.
It goes really well with a baguette.
(Thank you to <lj user="tigrkittn"> for the random word — Brioche — which inspired my post).