school is now (v)in session

I took chemistry once.  It was fifteen years ago, during first year of university.  “Baby Chem,” as it was nicknamed, (not even Chem for Dummies or Chem 101) represented the bare minimum amount of science I needed to progress to Intro to Food Science (aka. cooking class) and then to the restaurant course (which also had a real name that nobody ever used).  From that initial chemistry course, my vague recollections indicate that carbon chains exist, and are somewhat important, but the remaining details seem to have escaped me.  I’m sure it’ll all come back very organically.

This idyllic scene from week one has been replaced by this terrifying depiction of tannin polymers in week two.

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one in Emilion

I dined and dashed yesterday.  It was a strange experience for someone who is typically physically uncomfortable with leaving less than a 20% tip. (Yes; if you see me ill outside of a KFC, it’s because I couldn’t tip.  No follow up questions, please.)  In my defense, it was less dash and more saunter, but let me backtrack: I had ordered oysters and a glass of wine, which took half an hour to arrive.  I didn’t mind it because it was a lazy afternoon, and one is supposed to enjoy a slower pace of life over here, one hears, and one was also catching up on writing and email correspondence (not to mention studying up on how to refer to oneself in the third person). Read More

a brutish invasion

There is totally room for potatoes in all the gaps in the meat section. Especially if you slow-roast and mash them..mmmm

There is totally room for potatoes in all the gaps in the meat section. If you slow-roast and mash them, they’ll definitely fit… mmmm.

High on the list of things that may be the worst idea in the world: attempting to eat a Paleo diet while living in France.  Look.  It seemed like a good idea when I got here, and it didn’t seem so tough to implement with some deregulations – at home my pantry is paleo-friendly, and when I go out I can eat what I want, although I haven’t tended to stray too far just yet.  But then I went to London and gorged myself on potatoes.  (There was some wine in there too.) And now that I’ve been back for one day, I’m in potato withdrawal.  (Not even bread… clearly I’ve got some Irish in me somewhere!) Read More

some like it haute

Every single person is wearing long, dark and even tight jeans in this 32º weather. At this rate I'll be wearing shorts until Christmas.

Every single person is wearing long, dark and even tight jeans in this 32º weather. At this rate I’ll be wearing shorts until Christmas.

In my short tenure here in Bordeaux (technically only about three days, as I ran off for the weekend), I’ve discovered that there are two constants about living in Bordeaux in August: the heat and the mosquitos!  The weather has been above 30º every day so far, and the humidity is on par with New York and Toronto at their worst.  Air conditioning, however, does not appear to be the norm, so shorts and sundresses, along with mid-day costume changes, are my uniform for the foreseeable future.

This makes me stick out from the French like a sore thumb, as THEY all seem to have missed the memo that it is hot and sticky as…heck… and traipse (yes, traipse. Gallivant, even.) about town in skinny dark jeans and long sleeves.  Maybe they don’t sweat?  They look cool as cucumbers, and I am insanely jealous.  Just the thought of putting jeans on prompts another costume change. Read More

c’est comme ça

The only thing I know about Ireland, from empirical evidence, is that it has free wifi.  And high expectations as to what sleepy travellers can accomplish in an hour, as long as passing through customs, security and catching your next flight are all part of the recommended itinerary. Suffice it to say, I was both wide awake and out of breath at 06:00 Dublin time (01:00 Toronto time) when I boarded the plane that would take me on to my final destination. Read More