Hello there everyone. My name is Emily (also known as Emiglia over at my blog, Tomato Kumato) and I live in France.
That will tell you a lot about the food choices I’ll be making over the next few months of writing here. I carry on a lot about the fact that I can’t buy sour cream, buttermilk or refried beans, and I’m always having to change recipes in order to suit what I have. I’ve made a lot of creative changes over the past year, simply because some ingredients that are so easy to find back home, like cornmeal or graham crackers, are nearly impossible to locate on a Parisian grocery store shelf.
Today, however, was one of the most surreal France-induced food experiences of my life.
It’s the 4th of July, which usually means corn on the cob, burgers, watermelon and lemonade. Even last year, I managed to get to the Hard Rock Café in Barcelona to have cheeseburgers and Budweiser with one other American. But this year was completely different.
I’m currently working at a summer camp in southwestern France. An old French tutor of mine started it, and she brought twelve of her students over to learn about French language and culture. Everything we do is à la française, from talking to the rhythm of our days to what we eat. Especially because this was only the kids’ first full day here, we decided not to do a 4th of July celebration… we didn’t even mention the holiday. For what I believe is the first time ever, I didn’t even wear red, white and blue. And we made a gratin de spaghettis… one of the least American things ever.
It’s tough sometimes to forgo my food traditions. Try as I might, I can’t get the ambiance of a real Thanksgiving in my tiny Paris apartment with an oven barely big enough to roast a chicken, much less a turkey. And having the 4th of July come and go without so much as a firecracker or a few bars of the National Anthem was a little bit odd.
But the gratin was delicious (leftover spaghetti carbonara from last night, with some grated emmental cheese on top). And the sausage with hazelnuts almost made me forget the fact that I was missing out on grilled hot dogs.