Saturday, May 9, 2009

Salad and nuts, lunch and shoes

Let's start with the shoes. Carla and I live near a street that hustles with clothes shops and the like. I can get a nice costume for under 200 euros around there; and there also happens to be a shop that sells second-hand clothing for cheap. Carla bought an excellent pair of black boots that had hardly any wear for three euros. And I found a pair of nice brown European shoes for 10 euros.

Now, I usually don't like to talk about salads on our blogs, but we should make this exception. Below is a close-up of one of the best parts of our dinners: roquette avec betteraves et noix --- arugula with beet and walnuts. We try to get our roquette fresh from the roquette box at our local street grocer. We pull the leaves out with our own hands and stuff it in a plastic baggie that we reuse just for the roquette. We follow our main meal with this salad and boy is it full of awesomeness. These greens are extremely spicy, the beets are sweet, and the walnuts provide a nice crunch. When we get the roquette prewashed from a sealed package it isn't as spicy.

After the salad, but before dessert, we eat more fresh nuts. This time we add some amandes. We must go through a pound of nuts a week. For a while we had no nut cracker and were forced to crack them open using one smacked onto another. Then I went to a store and asked the man, Avez vous quelque chose pour des noix? (Do you have something for the nuts?) My hand gesture of cracking didn't help, and I think I saw him wince.

Finally, here is a picture of a normal lunch at the cantine of the university I am at. We have pasta carbonara, steamed spinach and other vegetables, rolls, crème brulé (far), and a cherry something rather (near) that was excellent. This entire meal cost us about 4 euros each --- which would easily be 12 euros each at a restaurant. The price is so low because the university food service is subsidized by the state so that all students can afford to eat well.

That brings up an interesting thing we learned. We are running low on our multivitamins that we have taken for several years now. Carla looked at the price of vitamins in our local pharmacy, and for the same size jar as we get at Trader Joe's, the cost would be over 100 euros! We mentioned that price to our friends and they said, "What do you need vitamin supplements for? Only very sick people and elderly people take vitamins. You should be getting plenty of vitamins from the food here." Donnez-moi le roquette!

And finally we have learned about the current controversy in the U.S. over President Obama eating arugula, and asking for a hamburger with dijon mustard. Can you hear us laughing from there?

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