I'm sitting on a nearly empty TER train from Mulhouse to Strasbourg en route to Paris, staring out at the cloudy sky and lamenting the fact that I woke up before dawn just for my original train to be cancelled (thank you, la grève).
Seeing as I've been in France four weeks to the day, I figured it was a good time to (finally!) start writing about how my first month as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant has been. And what better way to do that than through food?
Throughout my life, I've found that food has been my favorite way to track and categorize, in a way, how I'm doing at any point in time. Not to be cliché, but when I look back on my fondest – and not so fond – memories, there's almost always a certain flavor that accompanies them. When I remember the fairly short time I got to spend with my dad before he passed away when I was 11, I always think of the time he accidentally cooked a cucumber, thinking it was a zucchini. My sister and I got halfway through the meal before we started cracking up with laughter. Or, when I think back on the four months I spent as a stagiaire in Paris, I can almost taste the speculoos tiramisu I ate once a week as part of the formule du déjeuner from the small pizza shop near the office. It was delicious – sweet, crunchy, creamy... but I can also taste the loneliness I felt eating by myself as all my Parisian coworkers occupied a lively table at a nearby brasserie.
These past four weeks have held their fair share of ups and downs, as I'm sure the next seven months will too. Being in France, I've already had some extremely memorable meals. But I don't have to be eating foie gras to feel good – in fact, some of the simplest spoonfuls have been the most special, just because of who I was eating with or what I'd accomplished that day. From now on, this will be a weekly series, so stay tuned and follow along as I catch you up on every bite I've had since arriving in France (well, as many as I can remember).
Hopefully I'll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth and give you a real, raw glimpse into my new life at the same time. It's the return of Delicious Dougherty!