We made it! We’re in Paris and enjoying our first few days. So far it has been cold, but sunny and beautiful. It feels great to be here and to officially begin the Big Trip. The most surprising thing so far has been feeling the freedom of time. I’m used to traveling on a tight schedule and running from one thing to the next. T and I are enjoying taking our time today — we slept in, walked everywhere, and enjoyed stopping on benches to sit in the sun.
In terms of food, we’re off to a good start! Here’s a photo of the last meal we ate in Boston made of the random things we had left in our fridge and pantry. It was actually quite delicious, but very different from the food in France.
On the bottom left is a dish of black-eyed peas, rice, and curried onions. I wanted to use up these ingredients before leaving, while also making sure we ate nutritious food that was easy to digest so our body wouldn’t be working too hard while traveling. All cooked food is easier to digest and assimilate than raw food and adding a carminative spice, like curry, really aids the process. Onions and curry also boost immunity, which made sense before getting on a germy plane.
On the top left is a jar of lacto-fermented red cabbage made by Real Pickles. Rick Pickles is a wonderful MA company that makes a range of true fermented foods. I try to keep a jar of this red cabbage and one of their spicy kimchi in my fridge at all times to add to soups, salads, or as a quick snack. Fermented foods are full of beneficial probiotics, which are essential to healthy digestion and support immunity. Fermented foods should ideally be a part of your everyday diet, but they are especially important preventative medicine before doing anything that will stress the body, such as a red-eye flight.
On the top right is a nettle infusion (essentially a long-steeping tea). Nettle is one of the most nutritive herbs around offering loads of important vitamins and minerals. Drinking this infusion is similar to taking a multivitamin, although even better because you’re consuming the nutrients in a very bio-available form.
Finally, on the bottom right is a slaw made from the carrots and turnips lurking in the bottom of my crisper drawer. I shredded them and added olive oil, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and braggs (or tamari/soy sauce). This gave us a nice dose of fresh veggies before traveling to the land of refined carbs.
Then we arrived in Paris after a long day and night of traveling. We checked into our hotel, showered, went for a walk and and found this adorable bistro, Chez Germaine, for our first dinner. It was tiny, filled with French people, and was the perfect place to celebrate Easter in a new city.
We started with this delicious salad of mache, tomatoes, bacon, and duck confit. It was lightly dressed in a vinaigrette that pulled everything together while still allowing for distinct flavors.
The meal ended up being very duck-heavy because we ordered Duck l’Orange (duck confit with orange sauce) as our main dish. We didn’t realize there was going to be duck in the appetizer salad, but decided a duck-heavy meal was the perfect way to kick-off our Parisian visit.
Both dishes were really tasty and perfectly prepared. They even inspired me to think about attempting duck confit at some point, which given my inexperience cooking meat is quite something!
I’m usually very thoughtful about how much animal protein I consume and while I’m not officially a vegetarian, I definitely lean in that direction. I knew that eating veg would be more difficult while traveling, but more importantly I want to keep myself open to trying all the local cuisine – including meat. It is also matters to me that animal husbandry is quite different in Europe than it is in the US. Farms tend to be smaller and more sustainable, animals are generally treated more humanely, and chefs/shop owners often have personal relationships with farmers. So bring on the duck!