Yesterday was a big day; a big shopping day.
I was charged with buying all of the things that we can’t get in France, and I must say the list is getting smaller every year. It’s not that we can find more of the ‘stuff’ in France so much as we are realizing that we don’t need it.
Like vitamins. For years I have hauled back multi-vitamins, vitamins E and C, calcium, glucosomine, etc.
Don’t misunderstand; vitamins are readily available in France. Every pharmacy has a rack of vitamins, minerals and supplements behind the counter. But they come in quantities of 30; not 300.
And the pharmacist wants to know why you want them.
He’s not concerned about vitamin abuse, or that you are going to start selling them, covertly, on the local playgrounds. He/she wants to know what deficiency in your diet warrants taking a supplement and then, perhaps, he can counsel you to a better approach. Regardless, you should certainly be able to sort it out in a month and start eating more healthily so you don’t need supplements.
(On the other hand, you can buy tubs of cream to get rid of cellulite; vats of lotions to combat wrinkles; and supplies in bulk to help you trim this and that. A healthy diet one should be able to handle…. For Beauty, any and all assistance is there for the asking.)
In the interest of economy, combined with the new travel weight restrictions, we took a hard look at all of the stuff we had been mindlessly swallowing for years and decided to stop.
I quit, cold turkey, all of the extra vitamins and supplements, about 3 years ago. It was hard… There was no ‘patch’ available to get me through the rough stages. I found that a piece of chocolate helped stave off the tremors (perceived or otherwise) and a glass of wine went a long way in relieving any anxiety I felt about being so, well, unprotected from the rigors of the world.
I still take a multi- and calcium (which is what I was buying); but that is a far cry from the 7 or 8 different pills of 15 years ago.
I have discovered that it is much more fun to find all the nutrients we need in a wide variety of foods! And then eat them!
There is so much that I have yet to try…. So many foods; so little time.
Now, if I could only convince small-town American restaurants that a sprig of parsley is not an adequate vegetable…. But that’s a post for another day.
For this day we’ll get on to the pasta.
I’m certainly feeling much more in tune with the comforts of pasta here in the frozen north…. My desire for summer salads has completely disappeared! Or been firmly repressed….
I will admit that this week’s submission to Presto Pasta Nights, founded and hosted each week by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast, does, shall we say, flirt with a bit of decadence? It’s not as bad as some (Fettuccine Alfredo) but worse than others (Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes).
Pasta with Bacon and Leeks
4 medium leeks – about 1 1/2″ diameter (3.5cm)
3.5 oz (100gr) bacon – strips, streaky bacon
2 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, sour cream or even cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3 oz, 60 gr) plus a bit extra for sprinkling at table
fresh fettuccine, tagliatelle or spaghetti, 9 oz package (250gr)
Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions.
Sauce: Clean leeks and slice 1/4″ (.75cm) thick. Sauté bacon in a large nonstick skillet until crisp. Remove and set aside. Pour off most of the bacon fat. Add olive oil to skillet and scrape up any brown bits from the bacon. Add leeks and sauté until very tender, about 10 minutes. Crumble bacon and return to pan. Whisk eggs, yogurt and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Finish: Drain pasta and quickly add to leeks. Using tongs or 2 large forks, toss lightly to combine. Pour egg mixture over pasta and cook, stirring/tossing constantly, 1 – 2 minutes, until eggs are very, very lightly cooked (they’ll finish from the heat of the pasta – if you cook too long the sauce will be crumbly rather than creamy). Immediately pour into a large serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve.
What else did I buy on my big shopping trip?
Other staples: Jolly Ranchers (the French don’t like sour candy), green chilies, some cheap cloth napkins for photos, a double chocolate chunk brownie (I was hungry!) cheap clothes for gardening and exercise, and there might have been one or two things not on my list…..