Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finger on the French Pulse

Last night after Tex-Mex with Les Canadiennes, more on that tomorrow, Mon Mari turned on the France v Croatia football match. And lo and behold, their new away 'kit' (meaning their outfit) is remarkably similar to my favorite striped tee.
I ask you, do I have my finger squarely on the pulse of French culture?

Designed by Karl Lagerfield this new stripy jersey is totally wearable, chic, fresh and springy. Maybe not how the French team would like to be described but true nonetheless. It seems that it's receiving a lot of criticism but I can't imagine why. I think it's great. Maybe that explains it.

France fancy away 'outfit'

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mardi Things

You know that feature in people magazine called, I Really Love My.....?
summer skirt with a very young fille
Where they show a celebrity wearing one article of clothing or carrying the same purse more than one time. To celebrities I suppose if you wear something more than once you must really LurVe it. Being a regular human I carry the same bag every day for ages and still have a skirt I bought 8+ years ago at TJ Maxx that I'm wearing right now. It's my summer skirt and if you know me you can probably picture it. And if you don't it's up there.
h&m product detail h&
One of my new purchases and wear-at-least-once-a-week-favorites is my blue and white striped long sleeved t-shirt from H&M. I realized I'm wearing it a lot because in the past month I've been caught with it on in almost every photo. I'm wearing it in one of Kirsty's photos, for example.
I guess you could say 'I Really Love and white striped tee.' I think I should go back and buy one more just so I don't wear it out. C'est très Frenchie, non?

What have you been caught living in?

The weather is so nice and it makes me so very joyful that I have coined myself, Summer Girl. Please refer to me as this for the next few months. Or if you prefer, Mademoiselle d'été.
Bon mardi,
mademoiselle d'été

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seasonal Sunday--Chevre, Brebis, Roquefort and Dried Figs

The cheese course is one of our favorite French eating rituals. And it works all year round. In the winter you eat heavier, runnier cheeses warmed and studded with garlic and wine. These sometimes become the meal in itself because of their richness. As Spring has finally come and we've enjoyed days of unfiltered sunlight the cheeses become lighter; none less delicious, only more springy.
I buy a bi-weekly French foodie magazine and there's a 'seasonal' section. The current issue features dried figs, freshly made pasta stuffed with spring greens like aragula/roquette and chives and braised joue de porc or pork cheeks. I love figs fresh and in jam so I bought some of the seasonal dried ones to add to my cheese platter.
These beautifully white sheep cheeses were on special at the fromagerie and their delicate flavor is surprisingly light. I also bought a gouda made with goat cheese and its harder texture and stronger flavor are a nice foil to the soft, creamy sheep or brebis rounds.
And because we all love bleu, even mes garcons, I added Roquefort. Bleu and dried figs together are divine.
All of this topped off with a cold glass of the pink stuff and you're in terrace heaven.
Vive les Printemps!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grapes in France are called Raisins..this is Serious

Grapes or raisins as they call even the juicy ones here in France are not to be trifled with. I mean it. Careers, money, parties and lives are ruined or made by the varieties of this little fruit.
So it should come as no surprise that even plain old grape juice is judged and awarded based on flavor and I'm sure more things like color, bouquet, and who knows what else.The medal looks just like the ones found on award winning wine. Maybe we should compare a silver medal Cotes du Rhone with this juice?!
{can you see the silver medal?}
I buy this particular vintage from my local grocery store. It's just the store brand too, nothing fancy. But it has a silver medal. Nothing less for these kids, I tell ya.
Can you tell me if there are any particularly good New World grape juices? Or is this just a French thing?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Magic Tree & the Giraffe--Guest Post

{guest blogger-la girafe}

Does the title intrigue you?
Ma fille is today's guest blogger.
Last week's school assignment was to write a story casting yourself as an African animal who meets a magic tree. This tree is supposed to give the animal a gift.There were other stories of trees who gave amazing sporting ability, jewels and mathematical genius. In this case, the tree gave the gift of French. 
This is ma fille's story:*
photo courtesy:
 L'Arbre et la Girafe

Avant j’étais très timide et je ne savais pas trop parler français. Je suis une girafe et comme j’ai dit j’étais TRÈS timide.
Mais un jour, j’ai vu un arbre. L’arbre était différent des autres de la fôret.
Voilà pourquoi je suis allée le regarder. Quand je l’ai touché,  il a PARLÉ !!!
Il a dit : pourquoi tu m’as  touché ?!?
J’ai sursauté un peu parce que j’étais apeurée. Je n’avais jamais vu un arbre qui parle.
‘Pardon arbre’,  j’ai dit très vite.
Oh pardon si je vous ai fait peur.  Je suis ici pour vous aider avec votre problème. ‘
Q-quel problème?’, j’ai demandé.  
Et là je savais comment  parler français.

*English version, as translated by my daughter:

The Tree and the Giraffe

Before I was very shy and I didn't know very much French. I am a giraffe and like I said, I was VERY shy.
But one day, I saw a tree. The tree was different than all the other trees in the forest.
And that's why I went to look at it. When I touched it, it SPOKE!!!
It said, 'Why did you touch me?'
I jumped a bit because I was frightened. I had never seen a tree that talked.
'Excuse me tree.', I said quickly.
'Oh, sorry if I frightened you. I am  here to help you with your problem.'
'Wh-what problem?', I asked.
And then I knew how to speak French.

She said the teacher read the stories aloud and everyone had to guess whose was whose. They all clapped and called out her  name when her teacher read the 'not knowing how to speak French' part. So sweet. 

Merci ma belle fille de la belle histoire!
Thank you my beautiful daughter for the lovely story!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Seasonal Sunday--Chestnut Brioche Bread Pudding

I keep a list of things I'd like to try making tucked away in a notebook and from the first time I learned of the French chestnut spread or creme de marrons this idea was on that list. I make a french toast brioche every year for Christmas morning that I adapted from Ina Garten and Nigella does a bread and ginger jam pudding so this is a mix of the two. It is super easy, quick and versatile--just what you want for a Sunday morning. And you can even put it all together Saturday night or as with the french toast brioche, Christmas Eve.

If you aren't in France and can't find the creme de marrons you could always use your favorite jam or marmalade. Hmmm, chunky cut orange marmalade. Delicious. See, the possibilities are endless--not your same old bread and butter pudding.

{creme de marrons}

Chestnut Brioche Bread Pudding

8 slices brioche (it has to be brioche or it won't be as good, make your own or buy it in the bakery section)
chestnut spread
4 egg yolks
150ml  or 1/2c milk
150ml or 1/2c full fat cream
1/4c sugar
dots of butter for the pan

Preheat oven to 325F/180C

I use a round cake pan for this amount but you could use a square one if you prefer. You could also double the recipe and make it in a rectangular 9x13 if you are having friends over for brunch.

{chestnut spread brioche sandwiches}
Cut your brioche into thick slices. Simply make four sandwiches with the brioche and chestnut spread, spreading all the way to the outer corners of the bread, layering it on like you would a jelly sandwich. Cut each sandwich into four triangles.
Butter the bottom of your pan, what I do is just dot a few smidges of butter along the bottom so it soaks into the bread.
Put your triangles into the pan, smushing them all together into a little puzzle.
{brioche puzzle}

Now, separate your eggs saving the whites for a delicious meringue or coconut cake.

Into the egg yolks add the cream, milk and sugar. Whisk together well.
Pour this over your triangles making sure to get all the edges in the custard mixture. If you don't the edges will be crispy and not really in a good way.

Put it in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with powdered sugar or syrup if you like. A bit of bacon on the side would be perfect too.

I promise you that if you make this for brunch everyone will go bonkers for it. And it's perfectly easy because you can prepare it ahead of time and then pop it in the oven and your house will smell all warm and cozy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's All About the Baby

1) The Baby is propre, which translated literally means clean.
2) Or potty-trained as it's known in English.
3) He did it all own his own and I am in a state of shock and awe.
4) He even does it at playschool except there it's called making pee pee and ca ca:  Il a fait pee pee or Il a fait ca ca.
5) I don't care what it's called.
6) I call it freedom from diapers and give a little whoop, whoop!
7) He uses an awful lot of toilet tissue.
8) But looks super cute in his undies.

And he says 'Oh, for goodness sake Mommy!'

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making French Cake with Ma Fille

As most of you know the French eat their biggest meal of the day at lunch time so for the evening meal they have something lighter. One of the popular recipes for this light supper is a 'cake' made with olives and ham or with all vegetables if you prefer. It is a loaf bread and can be altered to your liking. One of the parents at the big kids' school helped Ma Fille's class make these cakes recently so she wanted to try making one at home.

I'd bought some courgettes at the market and needed to use them up so we made our cake with courgette, ham and green olives. The olives seem to be the constant ingredient in this particular cake, no matter how much the other ingredients vary. We used the basic recipe that Ma Fille had written down in her school notebook and then simply added from there. I've seen some recipes for this cake that include a glass of white wine, shredded cheese, cooked bacon or lardons, and black olives as well. The possibilities are endless.

Ma Fille made this on her own except for cracking the eggs and pitting the olives, which I did for her because she says cracking eggs makes her nervous and olives aren't easy to pit without smushing. It makes the loaf cake look pretty if the olives remain round.

I was a bit hesitant about adding the salt here because the olives and ham are quite salty on their own. It turned out perfectly with the teaspoon but if that seems a bit much to you you can always add less or none. If I were making it with bacon I would lower the salt amount, no question.

Serve this warm or cold with a green salad. For lunch, American style or as a light supper like a la francaise

Zucchini, Ham and Olive Cake a la Ma Fille

1 large zucchini or courgette
12-15 green olives, pitted and sliced into rounds
2 slices of deli ham cut into small squares
1 1/4 cup or 150g flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
100 ml or 10 cl cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste

Grate zucchini into a bowl. Pit and slice green olives and dust with flour. This prevents them from falling to the bottom of the cake.
Cut ham into squares and add to the zucchini and olives.
Mix flour and baking powder. Add to zucchini mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk eggs with cream, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Pour over other ingredients and mix until combined.
Prepare a loaf pan with a rub of olive oil and then pour into pan.
Cook for 45 minutes at 350F/180C.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Seasonal (kinda....) Sunday--Coconut Macaroon Cake

Ok, so I'm finding it hard to stay seasonal right now because of the waiting, waiting for fresh spring vegetables to take the place of all these root guys, the undergrounders like carrots, celeriac and spuds that thankfully keep us happy on the cold, dark nights of winter. But this has always been my problem. I am a Texas girl and this European Spring that takes forever to really ignite makes me terribly impatient.

So, I hope you'll forgive me if I slip out of my self-imposed seasonal constraints every once in a while. Today is coconut. Shredded coconut. Which is seasonal only in the way that all dried fruits and the like are seasonal. You can eat them at any time and they add a bit of cheer to the root vegetable days of waiting for strawberries.

One of my favorite recipes is Ina Garten's coconut macaroons, not to be confused with the French macaron....more oooooo and less on. The recipe is very easy and quick and only calls for a few ingredients. The light, coconut morsels are perfect for taking to a friend's house for tea and keep forever in a cookie tin. That is if you don't eat them all on the first day.

The other day I got to thinking. Wonder what would happen if I made a coconut macaroon cake? Hmmmm. I thought it over and over and made one version that went down well with Ms Butt Bumper and the kids. Mon Mari didn't think it was sweet enough and I was disappointed with the outcome of a meringue icing. I cooked it in a bundt pan just because I think bundt cakes are really pretty but it wasn't as macaroony as I'd hoped. So I tried it again.This time I upped the sweet, gooey factor, used a round pan instead of a bundt and iced it with a cream cheese, coconut and sugar glaze. As it cooked everyone kept coming into the kitchen to have a look, drawn by the smell of toasty coconut.
bundts are just so pretty
You could make a chocolate sauce to drizzle over rather than the cream cheese if you have a Mounds/Bounty bar lover in your family. I like it as it is though, uncomplicated in its milky, sugary coconut purity. There isn't any sugar in this cake other than what is found in the milk and I find it sweet enough. I hope you like it too.

this is buttermilk in France if you can't find it
Coconut Macaroon Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup buttermilk
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. or 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
6 egg whites at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl.
Stir buttermilk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and almond extracts together in a large bowl. Slowly add in dry ingredients while stirring until combined. Add in the softened butter and mix on low speed with an electric mixer.
Separate egg whites and save the yolks for something else like hollandaise.
Julia Child's Blender Hollandaise

In a separate bowl whisk egg whites until they are almost white and by this I mean no longer clear and just a bit stiff.
When the egg whites are ready gently fold them into the cake batter. Careful not to break down their whisked bubbliness.
The mixture will be quite thick and gooey because of the sweetened condensed milk, not to worry.
see. it's pretty thick.

Pour the batter into a prepared round cake tin or bundt pan if you prefer. Be sure to butter the pan you choose very well and dust lightly with flour.
If you're using a round pan it is a good idea to butter it and then line it with parchment paper. It works like a dream to release your beautiful cake.
Cook for 30 minutes at 350F/180C.

Cream Cheese Glaze
1/2 c. or 4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl mix softened cream cheese with powdered sugar in intervals....using up to 1 cup of the sugar as needed. I do it to consistency and taste. There isn't any butter in this so that's why it's more runny, more of a glaze. If you want a thick traditional cream cheese icing you can use the recipe that calls for butter instead.
When the glaze is runny enough to drizzle over the cake add in vanilla and stir to combine. Then pour over the cooled cake and let it drip over the edges. It will harden a bit as it stands.


You could also ice it simply by sprinkling over powdered sugar as I've done here.
simple powdered sugar

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard near Nimes is a Roman bridge and aqueduct and one of the must-sees in this region of France. Way back when the Roman Empire extended well past Italy to cover most of Western Europe, France was securely under Roman rule. You can see remnants of this all over France in the form of Roman ruins like the aqueduct that runs through the small village of Castries just north of Montpellier. But the most impressive and famous Roman mark on this area is not a ruin but the restored bridge and aqueduct, Pont du Gard.
three levels, top level was for the water
Not ones to be foiled by a river blocking the flow of precious water into the town of Nimes, the Romans built the bridge with the aqueduct tunnel carved out of the top to allow the water to pass across the Gard River. The bridge is 900 feet long and the highest of all the Roman bridges at 161 ft/49 m.
inside the aqueduct, this is where the water flowed
Consider this for a moment. Not only did the Romans use water much as we do for drinking, cooking, bathing and as a means of removing waste they were engineers who manipulated nature to bend to these needs.If there's a stream in Uzes that pumps fresh, clean water then by golly, let's find a way to get into the town so we can have our baths. And if there's a river that gets in the way of our water tunnel then I suppose there's nothing for it but to build a bridge. A bridge that still stands today, two thousand years later. A bridge that you can walk across and examine and touch with the carvings of those who engineered and worked on it visible in the ancient stone.

In the summer they have light shows bouncing off the stones of the bridge and open air concerts on the banks of the river. You can visit it then but when we went last month it was a bit cold and drizzly and we were one of three groups of people there. It was quiet as we walked across and we were able to get close and really look at it, to explain to the kids how and why it was built, and take photos without the summer's tourists getting in the way.

Practical information on the official pontdugard website here.
You can enter at either side of the river where you will find large parking lots and a collection of buildings housing a little cafe, gift shop, museum and public toilets. Parking is 15 euro per car in high season, 10 euro per car in low season but admission after that is free. Visit the link above for all the information regarding directions, entry and high season activities.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our Favorite Noodle Salad

As the days get sunnier I get excited about salads. Yes, excited. I'm not talking the basic salade verte here either, although I do love those too. What I love is being able to chop up some vegetables, mix them in a tangy, sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy, mayonaisse based or vinegar and oil dressing. The choices are endless if you let your creativity and tastebuds lead you.

Today's salad is one of the kids' favorites and it's a great way to get them to eat their vegetables. My kids don't like cooked veg as much as when they're raw and crunchy and that's lucky because the uncooked versions pack more of a vitamin punch. The yellow pepper are sauteed a bit but not so much that they lose their appealing crunch.

Another great thing about this, our favorite salad is that you can add chicken (mon Mari has to have meat) or smoked salmon, toasted sesame seeds, chopped roasted and salted peanuts or any other old thing you like. The main thing is to go with it, do what you like. This is a base to make your own favorite noodle salad. Your favorites may be different than ours.

So, here goes as promised...

Delicious Noodle Salad

angel hair or spaghetti pasta

1 yellow pepper
splash sesame oil
1 tsp chopped or grated fresh ginger

1 can artichoke hearts, not in oil
1 organic English cucumber
1 avocado
1 can bean sprouts or a handful fresh sprouts if you're lucky enough to have them at your grocery store
squeeze of lime
1 good handful chopped cilantro/coriander

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Cook the noodles. Make 3 servings of pasta for this amount of vegetables or more if you like more noodles. Drain and set aside to cool.

Slice pepper into thin slices. Heat a splash of sesame oil in a small skillet and sautee sliced peppers with 1 tsp ginger. Set aside to cool.

Drain artichoke hearts and chop them into bite-sized pieces.
Hollow out cucumber seeds and then slice unpeeled cucumber into half moons.
Chop avocado and squeeze with lime.
Mix above with bean sprouts and cilantro.

Add cooled noodles and peppers to the other veg and mix well.

In a separate bowl make the dressing with the rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce.
Pour over all and stir.
Et voila! C'est fini!

If you want to you can cook chicken breasts in a bit of sesame oil, leave it to cool and then slice and serve on top.
Or toast some sesame seeds and sprinkle over.

Once you start with this you won't be able to stop...wasabi, shredded carrots, spring onions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Than You Really Want to Know

Sarah, the soon to be Londoner from Texpatriate Musings tagged me on this fun questionnaire. If you want to know what kind of books I like, where I met Mon Mari or if I like Elvis young and one-legged or old and fat then read on....

If not, I understand. And I'll see you tomorrow with a recipe for a delicious noodle salad.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are the members of your family?
No pets now. We had a cat but had to leave her with mes beau-parents when we moved to Ireland. She died the week before we went back for a visit a few years ago. It was sad.

2. If you can have a dream come true, what would it be? 
A personal dream? Well, it's kind of cheesy but it has already. See my life in France.

3. What is the one thing most hated by you?
Arrogance. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
This question makes me think of those Texas Lotto commercials when people would say, "I'd buy myself the new Buick!" and it just goes to show that someone else's Buick may be your Vespa. I didn't really answer the question, did I? I'd buy something nice and then I'd do something nice.

5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
A jog.  A cuppa and a chin wag. None of your business.

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
I agree with my fellow Texpat. This is a silly question. "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." Moulin Rouge

7. What is your bedtime routine?
I'll tell you there's a lot more to it than there used to be....eye creams, face creams, elbow creams, heel creams. And reading. Always reading.

8. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?
Through friends on Memorial Day at a lake party. Cut-off shorts, tie-dyed bikini, cute boy with the bluest eyes. Irresistible.

9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be? 
Definitely an artist; Picasso or Matisse maybe. And Rodin. For sure Rodin. 

10. What kinds of books do you read? 
I love historical fiction, classics from Jane Austen, contemporary fiction but nothing horribly sad and tragic like all those Jodi Picoult novels, I can't read those. But I do love anything a bit melancholy with a touch of longing like you'll find in war stories. And cookbooks. I actually read them.

11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?
Published. Fabulous and fifty. Able to go on a date with Mon Mari without getting a babysitter.

12. What's your fear?
I don't want to say. It's too scary.

13. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to visit outer space?
This is like that question, 'who'd you rather do? young Elvis with one leg or old, fat Elvis?' No.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married, but poor?
Um, how poor is poor exactly?

15. What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Go back to sleep.

16. If you could change one thing about your spouse/partner what would it be?
More romance. But then again it might freak me out if it really happened and I would wonder why and then what has he done? and then maybe think it was kind of cheesy. It's worth a try though....I said, it's worth a try.....

17. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
I used to hate my name because it is a popular boy name and before that it was always hard for people to understand. I like it now though. But if I had to pick a new one it'd be something like Olive or Violet or Teddy.

18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?
It depends on how special the special someone is and how horrible the horrible thing was. I've been forgiven and have given forgiveness before though and it does make you feel better. Better than holding onto all the badness and keeping it inside.

19. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
Green beans? No. Cereal.

Oh, and now I want to hear from YOU:

1. Susan*  The Fearless
2. Diane from KidsnCastles

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blogapalooza in Provence

Have you ever had a pen pal? Like back when you were a kid and people actually wrote letters and put them in the mail? If so, you know what it's like to meet someone and like them based on shared stories without ever laying eyes on them. This is exactly what I felt about the fellow women bloggers I was lucky enough to meet this past Saturday. I felt like I'd met them long before through comments, jokes, support and the shared experience of being an English speaker living the good life in France.

There was Sara who followed her heart to Le Petit Village and makes us all laugh on a regular basis with stories of life in her tiny hilltop town, Kirsty whose beautiful creations are not limited to sewing but also include gorgeous kiddos and delicious banana muffins, Piglet who climbs out of windows, has a thing against pole dancing and is about to enter the magical world of MommyPiglethood!, Charley the published author of ghost stories (holla!) who is beyond cool, Tanya who met her husband online and now lives in one of the Nicest spots in France and B who I could sit and listen to tell stories for hours because she's so darn funny.

Meeting them in person was what I'd expected. And more. When you read each of their blogs you get a really good idea of who they are, how cool they are, how diverse they are and what it is about life in France that suits them all. It's the life part. Each of these women has a  joie de vivre and I'm delighted to have met them. Thanks ladies for a lovely afternoon and for living up to my expectations of your fabulousness with bells on!

I didn't take any photos because I was too busy yapping with Sara (my cyber soulmate) and Kirsty. I didn't even take any the next day when Kirsty opened her sun-filled garden to the five of us for a morning turned afternoon of chatting and laughing (grown-ups) and exploring, running and jumping on the trampoline (the kids). If we lived closer I know we could have spent the entire day together.

The only requirement for participating in Blogapalooza French Stylee was to write about it afterwards.
Here's Kirsty's.
The rest of you cheeky ladies must have been recovering from all the fun like me and taking your sweet time. I can't wait to read them all so post away....but please, no more group photos because I seem to be the least photogenic human on the planet. At least I hope that's it.

Bisous a tous!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dinner with French Friends

We went to dinner last week with the Bon Amies and another French couple who will now be known as Mme & Msr Avion. We went to a restaurant nearby that's on the grounds of an old farm, complete with stables, gites and a small wooden bridge. Rustic. Inside it was luxe; all gold, crimson and emerald green and we sat at a round table in the center of the dining room in Alice in Wonderland chairs. The bottle of champagne and salmon appetizers went beautifully together and as we clinked glasses across the vast round table, careful to make eye contact and not cross glasses (bad luck apparently) I remembered how nice it is to go out to dinner sans enfants.
There were two set menus, one a bit less expensive and exotic and another just this side of pricey and very interesting. And by interesting I really mean bizarre. I love the bizarre, I love trying new things, I embrace food of all varieties and will try anything. As you recall I bravely ate my first escargot only recently.
The frog legs, yea, no problem. We ate those when I was a kid in East Texas. Crayfish, sure. Ditto the Texas thing. Even the tete du veau that Mon Mari ordered in a rush of French inspiration is only a step away from barbacoa except it's baby cow cheeks and not full grown mama's. Oh, and the tongue This dish included the tongue.
But the most bizarre thing, hands down was the little stew pot of crete du coq that Msr Avion chose. Apparently it's a specialty of this particular restaurant and not to be missed. Do you know what a crete du coq is? Well. A crete is a comb....getting a better idea? Everyone around the table was gesturing with their hand on top of their heads, wobbling it back and forth in explanation. A cock's comb. The reason those pretty red and pink flowers are called coxacomb. The red thing that handsomely flops on top of Foghorn Leghorn's head. There were about eight of these served fricassee with crayfish and vegetables. Except they weren't red anymore. They were pinkish beige. Mmmmm.
What do you think? Can I tempt you with some cock's comb?

Fric, I say, Fricassee