Tag Archives: gluttony

München on meat

If you saw me in Munich, you wouldn’t believe that I’m not much of a meat eater. You definitely wouldn’t believe that I’m a recovered vegan, but it’s true. For five days, I was a total carnivore.

First dinner in Germany: delicious juicy roast pork with a crispy skin, a big potato dumpling, and a kraut salad.

Barbeque dinner at Andrea's bestie's house. The gigantic wieners are stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, just to prove a point, I suppose.

Andrea is a very proud Bavarian, so she wanted to make me taste the very Bavarian specialty of wießwurst (white sausage). It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, so one morning, she took me to the lovely café where she used to work for a breakfast of juice, coffee, and weißwurst.

This is what weißwurst looks like.

Andrea explained to me that you don’t eat the casing of this particular sausage. You cut into into at one end, then slurp the meat out of the casing. Needless to say, immature fellatio jokes ensue.

I wondered how sausage could possibly be white, but I liked the taste just fine. I wasn’t crazy about fellating it, though, because I didn’t care for the texture of the casing dangling like an overgrown foreskin at the end of the weiner.

It was only after I began struggling with that foreskin that Andrea said, “Do you know what the casing is made of?”

Cue foreboding music.

“How do you call the part of the intestines where the poop is made?”

Spit take! “The colon?!”

“I think they have some way of cleaning the poop,” she said to console me.

I did not proceed with the sucking process. I took the slightly less brave route of cutting open the colon to remove the shit with a knife and fork.

This is what the colon looks like when you're done.

I’ll save my last Bavarian meal for my next entry on Bavaria Day!

Classy Broad turned Wiener, Part I: Crisp apple strudels and schnitzel with noodles

To begin, as I always do, with my stomach…

One of my goals for Vienna was to eat my way through stereotypes. I’ve been singing so for years, and as it turns out, crisp apple strüdels and schnitzel with noodles really are a few of my favorite things.

Wienerschnitzel, served with a typical potato salad in a charming former wine cellar where we were serenaded by a violinist. Oh, Vienna!

To give you an idea of scale, this piece of meat was nearly as big as a sheet of paper.

Spetzel, made of seasonal leeks and served in a creamy cheese sauce. Fantastic. Tied with bratwurst (see below) for the best meal I ate in Austria.

Eis café. I love that the European interpretation of iced coffee involves not ice, but ice cream.

Apfel strüdel!

Roast pork with dumplings and kraut.

Spinach and feta strüdel served in a tomato sauce. (Austrian strüdel meets Greek spanikopitas.)

The best wurst! Hands down, no doubt, the best sausage I have ever eaten in my life. I'm sorry I can't telepathize the taste to each of my readers. There were wee bits of pumpkin seeds in the meat, which gave it a subtle nutty flavor. Unlike American ballpark brats, it wasn't salty and it didn't ooze grease.

Apfel strüdel from Freud's favorite café.

Next time on Classy Broad Abroad: a few more of my favorite things.

Gastro-not-so-economical, Part II

Lyon. My second oeuf en meurette, which was even better than the first. It was the starter for...

a huge piece of pork, smothered in gravy, served with mac & cheese by a different name. If I'd just come from the U.S., I might have been disappointed that this dish resembled American food, but since it's been months, it felt nice to have comfort food. The macaroni tasted just like my dad's!

Lyon. My second oeuf en meurette of the day, and the best one yet.

Paris. Prawn and pumpkin ravioli in a coconut cream sauce. Subtle, creamy, fantastic.

Paris. I was jealous of this salmon carpaccio with capers and red peppercorns that Jef ordered.

Paris. We each ordered a café gourmand, which the menu described in English as "coffee with many babies desserts." Clockwise from the coffee: tart apple sorbet, an île flottante (eggs whites floating in custard), pineapple drenched in a cream that tasted like the frosting of a tres leche cake, a baby rum cake and a baby sesame chocolate pastry.

And now I’m done bragging about the wonderful meals Jef bought me.

Gastro-not-so-economical, Part I

You know how I said that our walk from the Marais to the Eiffel Tower was approximately really far? I used Google Maps to calculate a more precise figure. We walked at least 6.5 miles that day. The cheap flats I was wearing are destroyed, as are my legs (probably because of said flats).

48 hours later, my hips and heels still hurt. If I had it to do over I wouldn’t have changed—the only thing uglier than a tourist wearing running shoes in Paris is a tourist wearing Crocs in Paris—and it’s not as if Paris is lacking in public transit. I realize it’s my own fault, but still. Ouch.

Despite walking plenty every day of our vacation and over a quarter marathon that last day, I realized when I returned home that the effort of putting my body into my jeans resembled scenes in old movies where girls tighten each others’ corsets. As any girl with a healthy dose of self confidence will do, I blamed the dryers at the laundromat…until I stepped on the scale. Three weeks in Lovers’ La La Land was enough to increase my body weight by over 3%! (And, no, there is no baby inside of me (yet).)

Thus, I have been reflecting upon all of the fantastic meals that Jef bought me. Eating was one of the best things about our trip. I’m too poor to go out for French specialities on my own, so Jef spoiled me rotten.

So today, dear readers, I thought I’d share some of the best things we ate. 50% to make you jealous, 50% to rationalize gaining kilos (plural) in a mere three weeks.

Dijon. Okay, so, I didn't really eat this one, but Jef sure did. It's a Burgundy regional specialty: andouille à la moutarde—that is, mustard-smothered pig intestines.

Dijon. This doesn't look like much, but it's one of the tastiest meals we had in France: meaty, cheesy, open-faced sandwiches served with a light split pea soup, beets and greens.

Beaune. We had a great lunch in a charming place in an old wine cave, but this tiramisu was the most photogenic element. It was kind of like an American ice "cream" confection from the freezer section, except it was French so it was in fact creamy and delicious.

Dijon. This Burgundy specialty, oeuf en meurette (an egg poached in a red wine sauce with bacon and toast) became my new favorite French dish. I ordered it three times in four days.

Lausanne, Switz. It may not look like much, but this lunch we had of farmer's market gruyère and hearty Swiss breads was great. We ate it on a sunny square while we watched cool Swiss kids chase pigeons.

Annecy. This French Onion Soup is the Real McCoy, and sacré bleu was it fantastic.

Annecy. We shared a Savoyarde fondue. Assuming Jef remembers how to use pi to calculate volume correctly, we (mostly Jef) consumed over 450 cubic centimeters of cheese.

Annecy. Bacon and potatoes are hard to mess up, but this Michelin-rated lunch did them especially right.

Annecy. I did have a few healthful things in three weeks. One of them was this gorgeous display of veggies.

Believe it or not, I have more good food to show off, but it’s my birthday and looking at these pictures has made me hungry, so I’m going to go buy myself a birthday sam’ich. Stay tuned for more droolage.

Muscles & mussels.

After a rocky start, my weekend improved considerably. Saturday afternoon, three other assistants and I went to the Angers v. Grenoble football match. It was a very worthwhile adventure, memorable for a number of reasons.

Cast of characters, from left: Abby & Caitlin, fellow American assistants, and Andrea, a German assistant. Note the uncapped bottles.

Being recent college grads and cheapskates, Caitlin and I wanted to sneak in some drinks. Being American, we assumed this would be interdit and got a little nervous when we had to open our bags at the gate. As it turns out, they couldn’t have cared less that our bottles of Coke had clearly been…improved. They just made us throw away the caps so we couldn’t use them as weapons.

When we took our seats, we noticed right away that it was a sausage fest. I was surprised and annoyed to discover that sports spectatorship is even more gendered here than it is in the U.S. I don’t mean to say that sports are any less of a Dude Thing in the U.S. than anywhere else, but I’ve attended plenty of games of plenty of sports and I’ve never felt so clearly outnumbered as we did on Saturday. In our section of around 200 people, we made up half of the women. That’s right: 8 out of roughly 200. I’m not sure whether I should be more annoyed at French men for being men or French women for staying home.

Not only were they all male, they were all wearing black coats and blue jeans. Granted the team's colors are black and white, but then where were the white accessories? It was a funny image.

Both of the teams played badly. The game didn’t hold our attention very long, but when while it did, we had spirit, yes we did. I’ve noticed that the French like to chant together, so I was really disappointed that I couldn’t get our section to sing “AhnZHAY, AhnZHAY, AhnZHAY, AhnZHAY, Anzhayyyy, Anzhayyyyy” to the tune of the World Cup “Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé, Olééééé.” I’m just too clever for them, I suppose.

I was also disappointed, if completely unsurprised, that no one joined me in making vuvuzela noises. I’m probably the only white person in the world who genuinely loves the vuvu, so I’d just like to note that it was at the precise second that I played a vuvuzela iPhone app that Angers scored a second goal to tie the game 2-2. See? They’re good luck!

After the game, the girls came over to my little house where Andrea made us a delicious dinner of mussels in a white wine & garlic sauce. I was mesmerized. I haven’t eaten much shellfish in my life, but when I have, it’s always been in the form of canned clam bellies. It never even occurred to me that I might be capable of making the things in the shells into a meal, so Andrea is now pretty much my hero.

The fruits de mer of Andrea's labor. Yumlicious.

Stay tuned for a very special episode next week! I’m finally taking advantage of my five-day weekends and going to Amsterdam on Wednesday!

Instead of pain, pain.

My weekend got off to a very bad start. I was in a horrid mood Friday, made worse by my eternally aggravating lack of WiFi connection, made even worse when La Femme aux Grandes Yeux knocked on my door at 10:30 to tell me that the message I’d sent (the umpteenth, mind you) in which I reminded her to do something about the WiFi was “aggressive and disrespectful.”

(Note: I’ve re-read the message now that I’m calm, and I think it was perfectly reasonable. Julie and her parents agree.)

I was already in my pajamas, definitely not in second language mode. Now I’m really mad at myself for not having whipped together my sassiest French to say, “Yeah, well I think it’s disrespectful to ignore me for four months and then knock on my door at 22:30.”

I went to sleep thinking that going to the Farmer’s Market the next morning would be just the thing to cheer me up.

Oh but wait.

When I went, as always, straight to my favorite bakery stall to get a week’s supply of pain d’épices (those magical cookies I’ve mentioned a time or four…), I was horrified to discover only their conspicuous absence. I assumed they had sold out, but to be sure, I asked the woman behind the counter.

She replied, “We’ll have them again next year.”

Come again? I don’t always understand everything that’s said to me in French, but after ten years with the language, I can at least differentiate between “semaine” (week) and “an” (year).

Mais si. My beloved cookies, she explained, are seasonal. I felt like that thing in the movies where the background blurs out and the camera zooms in on the person’s face as they scream NOOOOOOOOOOO. I dropped to my knees,  shook my fist at the heavens and said, “Il n’y a pas de raison d’être! As God is my witness, I’ll never go cookie-less again!”

I’m still grieving like a just-quit smoker, but luckily my weekend got better from there. Stay tuned for my first football match (of the global variety).

What a crêpey night!

This week my roommate Julie guided me through an important rite in my pursuit of Frenchness. She taught me to make crêpes, those oh-so-French flat pancakes that are a staple of Parisian street life.

Turns out it’s pretty simple. You just need flour, eggs, milk, toppings to suit, and a bit of patience for the part where you have to take turns cooking and eating.

One trick is to put the eggs in a little valley so that you can mix them in very gradually.

Then, it's handy to have a friend pour in the milk very slowly until you just get the right runniness. The batter should be just one notch more solid than the milk is on its own.

To fulfill as many stereotypes as possible, you don a scarf and beret for the flipping part.

This combination of toppings was Julie's idea. Ham, tomatoes, creamy chèvre, and herbes de Provence. Mmm.

I didn't immediately master pouring the batter such that it resulted in pretty round crêpes. Mine came out looking something like jellyfish. (This picture is called Portrait of Crêpe as a Double Entendre.)

And now that I know how to make crêpes, I can come home and be all “Oh yeah, you know, I make fancy French meals all the time…”