I think one of the best signs that you’ve really gotten used to living in a new place is getting used to things that are regularly available and inexpensive at the grocery store. When I first move to a new place, I always find myself craving those easy foods from my old home: I really miss bagels from New York as a quick snack and the microwave Asian food that was available everywhere in Toronto.
I think I’ve finally gotten used to cooking with what is available to me in Paris. I find myself craving things that are unavailable or need a trek out to some God-forsaken neighborhood to find. Somehow, my body has subconsciously started to gravitate towards things that Parisians take for granted, and one of those is endive.
Endive is a sort of bitter lettuce that is grown in Belgium and is thus very easy to get and very cheap here in Paris. Whereas back in the States, endive is one of the more expensive lettuces, here, you can buy a huge bag of eight for about two euros.
I don’t get very creative with my endive: my favorite thing (and pretty much the only thing I do with them) is to make an endive and apple salad, like my host family in the north of France used to do. One sweet apple (red or MacIntosh-ish) for every two endive is combined in a bowl, the apple cut into large chunks and the endive sliced down the middle and chopped. I toss the entire thing with a simple homemade vinaigrette, and suddenly I start to feel, not just like a transplanted expat or like a Parisian, but truly French.