Thursday, February 17, 2011

Going Green

And, what kind of dressing would you like with your salad? Formerly my least favorite question of all time.  Why? Because with my response - no salad, thank you - inevitably came the Spanish Inquisition.  Why didn't you order a salad? Why don't you like salad? You don't like anything green? What about... green beans? Wait, you don't like any vegetables at all? Why? Wait, what about potatoes.....come on, everyone likes potatoes.  And on, and on, and on....

The short answer to that question was no, I don't like salad.  In fact, for the first 20ish years of my life, I would not touch a single fruit or vegetable.  I think being particular about things in life can be a good quality (although the Mr. says I call it being "particular" and most people call it being "psycho") but I must admit, I found this particular picky trait of mine to be quite an annoyance.  In third grade I had to fake sick and run to the bathroom when a friend had me over for chili (somehow a bean found its way into my mouth and I thought swallowing it would be the complete end of the world).  Don't even think about a luncheon or tea... complete nightmare.  And for the first 20 some odd years of my life, I cringed when I was invited over to anyone's home for dinner.  So if absolutely nothing else fabulous happens in Paris and I am deported tomorrow (which is actually a serious possibility, I still don't have a visa), I will always be grateful to her for giving me the desire to go green.

I can hear it now... um, news flash, we do have greens in the US.  What did Paris have to do with it.
So let me start from the beginning....

A family friend invited us over for dinner at her little pied a terre (little meaning huge grand apartment right on the Seine with 10 foot windows surrounding every inch of the place).  How thoughtful! would be the typical reaction to such a nice gesture.  However, my reaction was more of a "how could you." You see, just thinking about the first course immediately brought on a mini panic attack.  Sure, I can get through a dinner when I know the person having me over for dinner, it is a whole other ballgame when I don't know the person and oh by the way, the person happens to have a royal title at the beginning of her name.  Great.  Offending royalty.  Perfect way to begin my new life in Paris.  Strike one.

Not only was the royal family nice enough to have us over for dinner, they  connected us with friends of theirs that live down the street from us....who invited us over for dinner. The nerve of these people.  I thought Frenchies were cool and aloof??  Not nice and welcoming?! Why is this happening to me!  This was the turning point.  Then and there I decided I simply could not offend two overly nice and welcoming families that have gone so out of their way to invite us into their homes.  Strike two.

And lastly, since I have gotten to France I try something new on a weekly basis.  Although that something may happen to be a pastry sometimes, it has also included lots of different pates, terrines and rilletes... several weird looking (and smelling) cheeses... tartare (hello?! raw meat dipped into raw egg) and chicken liver, and of course the ultra French foie gras.  Or if I am not trying something new, I am talking the Mr. into trying something new.  How could I convince myself to try all of this weird stuff but not eat a tiny leaf of spinach? Strike three.

In the end, I don't know if it was embarrassment, more embarrassment or the fact that Paris has opened my eyes to so many new foods, which in turn somehow subconsciously forced me to reface my biggest foe, whatever the reason, I am officially going green.

My first salad (baked goat cheese on the side, just in case).
I'll take the balsamic vinaigrette please.

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