Thursday, February 4, 2010

Je Suis Gourmande

In French, “gourmand” means “fond of good food.” You could also use it to describe someone who would “bouffer” (basically the French equivalent of nomming) his food down. Certain stores with have Gourmand… written on them. Well… I am gourmande. And France is so much more fun if you are gourmand.

My house mom cooks delicious food. She likes to explain how the food she cooks is healthy (she doesn’t use a lot of oil…etc). Well… I like it.

She has cooked for dinner:

-chicken cooked with honey, wine, vinegar, and onions

-fish in a tomato, lime, and coconut sauce

-pan-fried fish with lemon and seasoned rice

-wild salmon cooked on the barbeque

-Sausage cooked with cabbage and potatoes. Served with beer. (Claude is

from Alsace, which is close to Germany)

-pumpkin soup

-omelette with a side of buttered spinach

-zucchini au gratin

-octopus, clam, mussel, and not sure what other sea creature tart.

And for dessert:

-strawberry tart

-chocolate éclair

-yogurt with currant sauce in the middle

-yogurt with apple cinnamon chestnut in the middle

-king cake (a flaky pastry with brioche in the middle, sold in January for the Epiphany)

-chocolate pudding

-orange cream


My housedad, Claude, loves cheese. Caroline always prepares a cheese plate for dinner. His favorite is Camembert. It’s a soft creamy cheese with a stronger taste than Brie. It’s produced in Normandy, and Claude informed me that it was the favorite souvenir of the American soldiers who were there in WWII. You can get Camembert in the States, but it won’t be Camembert de Normandie because they make it with unpasteurized milk. My housemom made me a “typical sauce of Southern France” which consisted of equal parts Roquefort and butter mixed together. Not really my thing… but when in France…

Typical French Cuisine

Caroline says that typical French food tastes salty/sweet. The chicken with the vinegar she made me is typical salty/sweet of Southern France. Typical Parisian salty/sweet would be duck in an orange sauce.


My housemom and I had a bit of a miscommunication the first morning. She was asking me how I take my coffee. She had poured me a steaming hot cup already. “Beaucoup de lait?” (A lot of milk) she asked. I said “Oui” because I don’t like my coffee black. I like my coffee maybe 85% coffee 15% milk, which to me is beacoup de lait. Well, Caroline took this to mean BEAUCOUP DE LAIT and dumped some of the coffee back in the pot. She then poured the milk she had been heating on the stove in my mug. She heats the milk so my coffee won’t cool from it. I guess your coffee would cool if it were 75% cold milk. So now every morning I have my coffee milk and a glass of Clementine juice. I still chuckle to myself when I take my first sip. I now know that a little bit of milk is “un nuage de lait” (a cloud of milk).On Sunday, Caroline made me a fruit salad and yogurt with cherry sauce.

Dining Out

I haven’t really dined much outside of my homestay yet. (Why would I?) But for lunch, we are on our own. On school days, I eat at the school cafeteria. Not worth mentioning. We already have our favorite kebab place near the Comédie. They don’t do anything special to the meat, but the bread tastes like a nan pancake. When in France, sometimes lunch is forgotten because of the tarts all over the place. The raspberry tart makes my mouth water. It’s got raspberries and white chocolate cream and… a couple pistachios sprinkled on top. At first, the pistachios offended me, but then I realized they add so much. In Carcassonne, Kate and I had a triple chocolate tart with whipped cream. Another dessert that gets you in trouble is of course the crepe/waffle. The French serve them hot and with a liberal smearing of nutella.

Coffee/Hot Chocolate

The coffee served in France is strong, dark, and served in a little bitty cup. With the mindset that I am on a 4-month vacay of sorts, I go for the hot chocolate. The hot chocolate extreme here is called a “chocolat viennois.” The recipe: hot chocolate topped with enough whipped cream to make Paula Deen raise an eyebrow, and finished off with chocolate shavings or chopped almonds.


I don’t know much about wine; I just drink it. But if anyone cares to know, Montpellier is located in the Languedoc Roussillon region. (Think Long Duck Dong from 16 Candles. But not quite)


The party that the program tried to host for us was a flop. It was supposed to be a French/American mixer, but the French didn’t come. Oh well. They fed us sheet quiche and sheet pear tart. It would be like going to an American party and being served pizza and sheet cake, except it’s France so it’s quiche and pear tart. Bouffe!


  1. So I've already ordered up a gym pass for when you get back. I think I'm going to have to run about 200 miles when I get back from 1 week over there.

    Your great-grandma Odziemiec used to make the kids (us) coffee with "Beaucoup de lait" when we were kids. It was just a way to get some warm milk in us. Like you say, about 25% coffee, 75% warm milk, and a teaspoon or two of sugar.

  2. Je m'appelle Mazur = Je suis gourmande! :-)
    Great blog....loving that we are able to follow your adventures. (Love your writing style too!)

  3. Thanks for the comments! The French cuisine equals the Mazur appetite. Dad--- there is a garden really close by that you can run through.

  4. Thanks. And thanks for the great picture. I'm gonna need that place to run if I even have one of those Paula Deen things.