At French class last week, Laurine asked each of us about our plans for Christmas, specifically what we’d be eating. (The French really love food.) She started with me. I told her I’d be staying in Paris and eating Christmas dinner with some French and Belgian friends. I said that we’d decided to eat all of our favorite foods, even if it meant not having a super traditional meal.
“Par exemple,” I said, “I think we might eat du saumon, du caviar, des huîtres (oysters), du champagne, …”
The other students laughed along with me at my plans for a gourmet Christmas dinner. But Laurine jumped in:
“Ah! But you see, for me, that is traditional.”
I knew I liked France for a reason.
Our final menu last night included oysters, caviar, boiled shrimp, three types of smoked salmon, smoked eel, three cheeses, raspberries, pomegranate, and of course champagne. The whole thing took only 15 minutes to prepare since it was all either raw or pre-cooked, but it took eight hours to eat. I’m still digesting.
But wait, there’s more! Because it wouldn’t be French Christmas without it, Colin and I also bought a traditional bûche de Noël for Christmas Eve dessert, to follow the hot chocolate and hot wine we’d gotten at our neighborhood Christmas market. And since it’s not Christmas without gifts under the tree, we bought each other macarons and chocolates. Mon dieu! Some traditions – like eating everything in sight – must be universal.