Food, I love you too much

My love story started in 1996. In England

Before that, I didn’t know how to cook a courgette. And the most fancy food I had ever had was duck.

I regularly get mad with my fellow French citizens who easily laugh at the British food universe. For most the French people, UK gastronomy is limited to boiled meat, mince sauce and fluorescent jelly. But I know it’s not true!

Thanks to the wealthy family for whom I worked as an au-pair, I first discovered the fine world of gastro pubs and Indian restaurants. Coming from a family who didn’t cook anything fancy or spicy, my life changed and I discovered FLAVOURS!

As my University studies in France were taking me nowhere, I settled in England and accepted the first job I was offered: kitchen help in a Persian restaurant. The food they prepared was fresh and had mediterranean inspirations.

I tried so many things that year. Even French specialities I had never tried before! Now more than 20 years later, I still remember the delicate aroma of the Chicken Liver Paté, the magnificent taste of the Beef Stroganoff with cream and Cognac, the blissful pleasure of bread dipped in the béarnaise sauce, the sublime combination of olive oil feta and tarragon, the surprising accordance of Deep Fried Brie with red fruit coulis…

My first job

When coming back to France, I kept on working in the catering business. Years passed and I grew more and more curious. During all my travels, local food was one of my favorite thing to discover.


Over the years, I tried to work both in the kitchen and on the floor. The quality of the products I used slowly became a priority. And I have to argue with myself to buy an aubergine in the middle of winter now!

We all know how important it is to select what we buy to feed ourselves. My vegetables are 95% organic, local and seasonal. Not only is it cheaper, but it is also environmentally-friendly. Right now, in our part of the world – and during the last 3 or 4 months, we’ve had Brussels sprouts, cabbage (loads!!!!), carrots, onions, leeks, potatoes, greens (spinach, lettuce, kale), turnips, winter Squash, and a (expensive!) apples. And to be honest, I’m getting so bored of being a sensible locavore! Although it is said “eating seasonally keeps challenging my creativity to come up with new, fun and delicious dishes based on what I’ve find“, it is getting more and more difficult to stay focus.

To make it even more complicated, I love mediterranean food. Ottolenghi makes me dream of fresh figs, tasty tomatoes and aubergines, lima beans with lemon… But to enjoy all of these, I have to wait. Months!

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t care that much about what I eat. Not that I am a health freak, but I know I’m doing the right thing. And I love cooking so much. A couple of years ago, I worked in the kitchen of a small canteen. I spent about 5 to 6 hours everyday peeling, baking, roasting… And as soon as I came home in the evening, I started preparing our dinner and spent an extra hour cooking again. It was a never ending story

!

When starting this post, I had planned to write about what I ate during my stay in Sydney, how I missed the mangoes and ripe tomatoes and avocados at the Paddy’s Haymarket, the Egyptian bakery, the King prawns from the Fish Market, the steamed bao buns near Bondi, and so much more…

But I guess all I want to write about is my love for food!

Well good job! I’m hungry now…

15 thoughts on “Food, I love you too much

  1. Hahah! You made me hungry too. Your photos are very appetizing! But really, is organic cheaper over there? I buy organic when I can, but it’s very much more expensive over here, as is local. Local is for wealthy people to boast about, not for regular folks…

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  2. The only thing I always get 100% organic is veg. This is an agricultural area around here so at the market, you can easily choose between an old school organic farmer or an agrochemical kind of farmer. The price is not an issue and for my weekly basket, I usually pay less than 10€.
    I try to buy as much organic food as I can but cannot afford to buy all the items I need. Meat for example!!! So We usually only have meat twice a week at the most.
    Mini organic shops also sell bulk products such as rice, pasta, nuts etc… and that is affordable too.

    How can local food be more expensive?? Is that for everything or just veg?

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  3. Ha, glad you noticed that we do not live in a gastronomic wilderness here!! There are still many people that ‘don’t like spicy food!’ Everyone to their own. Like you it was travel that opened my eyes to real cooking. Especially travelling through Asia, and India, well as a vegetarian India was heaven, but I love to cook as it is how I get the food I like best. Like you there are things I miss though, Chilli tofu hot dogs from the K road in Auckland…..mmmmnnnnn!

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    1. I think the British know how to celebrate food. Not necessarily on a daily basis (forget about traditional beans on toast etc) but the food markets, quaint vegan cafes, fusion food restaurants… And all these programs on TV…! There is a lot of imagination and creativity in the UK. In France, the food is good, but we’ve remained very traditional. And French customers tend to be very traditional too! Which is killing creativity and the will to experience something new.

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      1. For some reasons, I’ve erased by mistake your comment on the Climate Change post as I was typing my answer!!
        One of the reasons which pushed us to move to the country was a change of lifestyle. But I realize now I need my car for everything and I hate it. There’s nothing I can do against it… but I’ve never had any problems when leaving in a small village in Buckinghamshire. There were buses to take me where I needed every half hour from 6am to 11pm everyday. Over here the system of public transport is a disgrace.

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      2. Yes, the transport here is pretty good, even though of course everyone always complains about it! I see my bike as my personal crusade though. I do my shopping on it, everything I can. I have to take the car when I go away though. Train fares are crippling!

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  4. When living near Paris or in the center of Marseille, I would walk or use the metro. The car was for weekend.
    I remember I used to complain in England when I was an au-pair because not having a car left me with less liberty. But I realize now I feel the same here because I need my car for absolutely everything.
    Always complaining!!!

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  5. All of it looks so appetizing! It’s a great joy cooking and eating good food, isn’t it. I try to buy mostly fresh and local too, during summer we have actually quite a few options and the local produce always tastes better. In our local Carrefour there’s a section of local produce all year round, which although a bit more expensive tastes better! I miss the idea of buying fresh veggies every single day like they do in Nepal, although lately I’ve been hearing that most of them are all chemically enhanced.

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    1. Do you have local weekly farmers markets where you are? That’s where I buy my veg from now. I know where my veg grow, and how they’re grown. Fruit is a different story because appart from apple and pear, and strawberries, there isn’t enough sun. So I have to rely on supermarkets.

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