December 20, 2009

Mmm... French Food

I'm going to write about something very near and dear to my stomach. Back in October, I visited Montpellier and a handful of other cities in the South of France. One of the most memorable parts of the trip was the seemingly endless number of delicious treats I stuffed my face with. Now, I'm no foodie. I don't even know what a foodie is, but I'm sure I'm not one of them because I prefer the portions of food on my plate to be larger than a thimble and often ask for extra ketchup. I could easily subsist on a diet of nuts, berries, and greens, but all that said, I can still appreciate a good meal, and oh how I did in France.

The French have mastered the art of flavor, presentation, and the almighty power of cream. I don't have the words to describe the subtle perfection of each dish. It was as if someone in the kitchen was meticulously counting by hand and scale the portions of vegetable, grain, meat, and sauce to concoct the ideal mixture both by taste and amount for every single plate and person. The ironic thing is that I already know French cooking is not done by exact measure at all! Nothing was compensated for by extra cheese or hot pepper, nothing was overdone or thrown together, and nothing had a hint of staleness. Everything was simply delicious in a way that made you ashamed you couldn't cook the same way at home.

I was more focused on eating than snapping, but here is a small collage of some of the morsels I had the privelege of consuming:

French food

Now, I actually love the variety of food offered in the bay area, so I don't want to go dissing California. Chicagoan food also has a special place in my part, even if it does compensate by adding extra cheese (in a deep dish crust). By contrast, I am openly disappointed by the number and price of food options in Zurich, so it's possible I was just in good-food-withdrawal, but I look back on my week in France as the closest I've gotten to gastronomic ecstasy. Let's see if Paris next week can top it.

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