I’m counting down to my third trip to Paris since I left a little over a year ago. (I know, I know, old habits die hard). And this time, all I can think about is carrots râpéess.
Specifically, the cheap ones you buy at G7 in plastic containers they keep near the cheese section. Call me crazy, but that’s what I’m craving most. (Actually, call me easy-to-please and economical. Last time I went to Paris I spent a small fortune because I was out of Marriage Frere, Dyptique and the Lucite bangles I buy at a tiny boutique in the outer Marais).
Upon my return to the US, I’m moving closer to organic farmers’ markets, specialty cheese shops, bakeries, and my new flat has a really good kitchen. Even though I’m coming back to the US, I’m moving closer to a European style of living.
I’m not going to bash American cuisine, because I *love* $1 slices of pizza, burgers, chips and guacamole, and cupcakes the size of my head. I do not, however, love the extra 30lbs that inevitably goes along with steady consumption of these items. But I do love the yoga and ocean swimming that is burning the excess fat away.
So I’m calling it even and walking away from the cage fight of Me vs. American Comfort Food, never to engage again.
Instead, I’m going back to a European way of eating, albeit with slight modifications to breakfast.
Breakfast in Paris means an espresso and a cigarette. Even if you don’t smoke, you take your AM clope via second hand smoke at your local café or tabac and you like it. (I did). But as I’ve eased on to morning yoga, I’ve eased off the morning caffeine. A single noisette sloshing in an empty stomach does not feel right during a prayer twist. Breakfast is clearly a job for Greek yogurt, as I’m sure you all can agree.
I firmly believe that in all civilized countries, it should be mandated that lunch is the biggest meal of the day. Half sandwiches shouldn’t even be legally sold between the hours of noon and two pm. And just after consuming the biggest meal (which is gleefully carbohydrate heavy, as it should be) one takes a “petit café.” This tradition of savoring a strong, tiny cup of perfectly smooth and bitter espresso with just a noisette of whole milk, after a big meal, it’s like the final pen stroke that closes a gestalt circle, it’s the final missing note from Tristan & Isolde, in short, is the ultimate resolution. And it is good.
I’m going to get a Pixie Nespresso machines in both my office and abode so that I never go without this primal pleasure. I love those Nespresso machines and the George Clooney commercials that don’t show in the US, with the fiery passion of a million burning suns. A key quality to a good cup of coffee is consistency, and on this front, Nespresso always delivers.
I was recently on a 10-week, self-imposed sabbatical where I had no access to fast food. It really took removing the option of buying fast food and being forced to cook every single meal to make me become mindful of eating again. As a result, I learned to re-frame eating and realize how important thoughtful meal-planning is.
Since one has to eat at least 3 times a day…why not make each meal a meditative pleasure? And a thoughtful meal (even if you err on the side of cupcakes or other baked goods, as I often do) is an act of self-love. Feeding yourself (fast) food that you wouldn’t even let kids eat more than once a month…it doesn’t make sense.
I’m not going to wax poetic about France and food, there’s been enough said on that subject. They are the masters, and I bow to them. And I will emulate their ways going forward in order to feel joy when planning my meals, shopping and selecting my food, when cooking, and especially while eating.