Avril 4, 2018. Exploring Crêpes And The Crêpe Suzette. Cultural Kitchen Clashes From France to Kentucky.

 

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Crêpes And Crêpe Suzette – 

It’s only fitting I explore the Crêpe Suzette.  Since it’s named after MOI and full of sugar and butter and brandy.  Comme moi sans brandy.

Exploring the recette / recipe, I watched several videos including the Julia Child video on Smithsonian.com.  What a character, she so seemed to have lived her life full.

Last month while my husband was visiting France sans moi, he and his Mother, bought me (upon my request) the most awesome crêpe  pan.  Crêpes are a French food that we really have never explored in our home.  I’m sure my husband had them many times growing up, but to be honest, we just make pancakes – even when ma belle mère visits.

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I remember one of the first times, I made a BIG American breakfast for my French in-laws.  Canned laughter plays in the background of this memory.  I made fried eggs, bacon, sausage gravy and biscuits and of course American pancakes topped with peanut butter and syrup.  Most likely it was the peanut butter that provoked the grimaces and looks of confusion – although, it could have been the biscuits smothered in thick milky sausage gravy.  All served with a side of ketchup.

One of the major cultural differences between us was and still is – la cuisine.

Blending – 

I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s in a suburban area just south of Detroit, Michigan with a Irish, German and Polish Mother and an Irish, Scottish Father who had been born and raised in Kentucky.  This common for the time classic American mixture and coupling made for extremely exciting childhood memories – mostly involving love, laughter, quick tempers, obsessive cleaning, cabbage, kielbasa and scotch whiskey.  It also yielded my fiercely protective Mother and my know-it-all Father who eventually flew the coop.

In addition, many interesting foods were made and shared over the years as I visited each uniquely distinct set of Grandparents.  On any given Sunday, we might enjoy pierogis at lunch, then beans and corn bread in the evening.

Flashing forward, I see how my personal cooking style was influenced.  As the years passed, I continued the traditions by sharing family recipes and flavors with my children and grandchildren all the while tossing in my half French husband’s roots and tastes.

I recall many happy Saturday mornings – watching Tom & Jerry cartoons and Abbott and Costello re-runs, and waiting for the pancakes and peanut butter.  Then heading out on my bike for the entire day.  Hours later, arriving back at home, I’d run into the kitchen, grab a spoon and thrust it into the peanut butter jar – just a little snack before dinner.

No one can make a steak, BBQ a pork butt, or roast corn on the cob, like an American.  There is also fine cuisine and many fantastic chefs in America and I personally love our eclectic menu.

Kitchen Cultural Clashes –

However, after 30 plus years of blending mine with his – I still can’t get ma beau-père (father-in-law) to try corn on the cob.  When I make it – he will occasionally (very occasionally) slice it off the cob or skip it all together.  And it’s not a denture issue.  For him, it’s more about the actual practice of eating corn on the cob.  And the fact that he is 86 and set in his ways.

Mostly he revels in new experiences – having traveled the globe.  But the peanut butter and corn on the cob (not eaten together, although… I might give it a try) have proven to be too much for him.  Oh and my use of ketchup, doesn’t everyone put ketchup on scrambled eggs and steak?

Buerre De Cacahuètes / Peanut Butter –   

Shown below, made with my new crêpe pan, delicious Crêpes avec et sans le beurre de cacahuètes / peanut butter.

We did not flambé le crêpes today – we are reserving the Cointreau for the weekend.

Crêpes with peanut butter and hazelnut spread and we may or may not have added a bit of maple syrup.

Délicieux / Delicious.

Bonne Appétit – Suz!A333A23A-A732-4CB8-A231-5BA5AE597B7F

 

Janvier 20, 2018. Dans ma tête, je suis! Mais, dans le miroir… In my head, I am! But, in the mirror… AND a good example from across the pond.

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Dans Ma tête 

Dans ma tête:  I’m BRISK, I’m active, I’m fast, and energetic.  I’m young, I’m limber, I’m awake.

Dans ma tête – I’m all these things.

In the mirror:  I’m slow, I’m idle, I’m listless, and tired.  I’m old, I’m stiff, I’m always falling asleep.

In the mirror – I’m all these things.

Je Suis Qui ?

Je suis moi! 

Je suis BRISK et actif, et rapide. 

Je suis aussi – fatigué… PARFOIS.  

Je suis qui?  Je suis moi.

C’est moi!

Mais, Je ne suis pas une vieille dame

Je suis jeune! Je suis jeune! JE CRIE!  Dans ma tête je suis jeune.

Pourquoi pas je dis.  Pourquoi pas!

Parce que tout est dans la tête – n’est-ce pas!

Mais, bien sûr! 

Supplémentaire – Elle est une bonne exemple (She is a good example)

When I think of how I want to be when I get old (older).  I think of her.

I think of how she appreciates the years and looks back on the smiles, the lessons, and the tears – but never the fears.

How she aims to share it with us all and hopes we never fall.

She is always by our side – there’s just a big ole lake – l’Atlantique, it’s so wide.

I want her grace and courage, her strength and drive.

Today, I run because I can

I run to feel the air so deep within my breath – beneath.

Suz

 

 

 

Janvier 16, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Fort, Forte / Strong.

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Sometimes things come out of the blue.  They don’t care for the plans you have or the dreams you dream.  They just want you.

This thing can’t have you!

It can’t have you – you are stronger than this thing.  It has no idea what it is up against.  Mon amie – tu est très forte.

Le mot de la semaine est FORT / FORTE.

Mon amie est très jolie and très gentille – ELLE est forte aussi!  

Elle s’appelle Coco.  J’aime beaucoup Coco.  Elle parles anglais avec moi and français avec tout le monde. 

Tu es forte Coco.  Tu es très forte.  Elle est à femme forte.  

My friend Coco is one of the strongest women I know.

She is strong and fierce like the winter wind.

She won’t let this stop her.  She will fight for herself.  She will fight for her children and grand children.

She will fight for her life!

Knowing we are here and she is there is the hard part.

As you start your journey this week, please know we love you!

Be strong as you PAUSE momentarily to get well.

Have FAITH that you will get well.

And KNOW that you are loved.

J’aime beaucoup mon amie Coco!

Love Suz

 

 

 

Janvier 2, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Espérer / To hope.

IMG_4665.JPGBonne année mes amis!  Quoi de neuf?

Aujourd’hui est le deuxième jour de janvier.  Cette année j’ai beaucoup à faire et à apprendre.  Alors, j’ai besoin de continuer mes études de français.

En 2017,  j’ai beaucoup couru et j’ai étudié le français un peu. En 2018, je vais travailler dur pour apprendre le français et courir un peu.

I haven’t sorted out my running goals for the year but am leaning toward shorter distances with focus on speed.  After last years 50 miler, my body needs to relearn to run shorter distances.  It’s a whole different game.

Thriving on change, I’m so excited as we enter the new year.  My new books have arrived and I have a sense of clarity I haven’t felt in years.

New this year will be an occasional blog post focusing on the word of the week relevant to the month, season or my mood.

An opportunity to work on vocabulary and sentence structure while attempting to be creative.

J’espère apprendre beaucoup de français cette année.

Bonne Année,

Suz

 

 

 

 

Décembre 1, 2017. Leaving this space to fill another. Dots on a line. And moving forward with new French themes.

IMG_4445.JPGBonjour!  C’est un nouveau mois et je commence un nouveau chapitre de ma vie!

Leaving this space –

My life thus far has been broken up into segments of time I call – dots; little pockets of places and time on a line.

Each dot or space of time on the line is a significant point in my life.  Births, graduations, marriages, deaths, moves, relationships, jobs etc…

The line includes places I’ve lived, worked, visited.  All chronologically recorded.  It’s quite simple – this line.  And just like everyone’s line, there is an end that we can’t see.  But we continue along the line with faith.

Soon I’ll be leaving a dot that I’ve occupied for 10 years.  A space that’s been very good to me, professionally and personally.

And I don’t yet have another dot to occupy.

Like a scene from a science-fiction movie, I can see the space – the dot on the line that I’ve rested at for the last ten years slowly filling itself in.

Gradually, the big fat sharpie of life gently colors in the dot, signifying that one space of time is closing and another should begin.

Another dot waiting to emerge –

I can see in the distance, the new dot forming – it starts with an arc over the line.  It’s an excited little arc of energy, full of potential, adventure and experiences.

It’s up to me if I chose to roll with this arc of what if.  But why now?  This space is good.  I’m content.  It’s simple enough.  So why am I leaving it?  And why do I feel so strongly that I need to move on?

I have no idea.  Do I thrive on change?  Is it time to learn something new, slow down or mix it up?  Is this the time to count my blessings, to smell those roses?

Whatever it is, I’m walking through the door.  I always do.  I’m going to make it a great dot.  I’m going to live like it’s the last dot YET, I hope I have many more.

We never know how long our dots will last.  Some find fullness in many dots, some find it in one big dot.  On the time line in my head, I have several more arcs waiting like the sun on the horizon at sunrise – peeping eagerly and excitedly for their turn.

Trust.

New French themes –

2017 saw me enhancing my French language skills and running a 50 mile ultra marathon.

2018 will see me continuing to enhance my French language skills and contintinuig to run – possibly a 100 K AND drum roll please…I hope to host a French exchange student.

I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never had the time.  This year, I’ll have the time.

We live in a beautiful area of the U.S., close to several larger cities and intersting Amercian attractions.  I’m excited to host a student and share our amazing America.

Suz

 

 

Septembre 1, 2017. Don’t ask me why. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. It simply interests me. And sitting down to do the work – ensemble (avec du vin).

Bonjour mes amis.  Comment ça va?  Moi, ça va très bien!  Pourquoi?  Pourquoi pas!  Mais, actuellement c’est parce que aujourd’hui est vendredi et demain est samedi.  Aussi, samedi et dimanche, je cours!  J’aime courir!  Et j’ai trois jours sans travail.

Oh my that was exhausting and I hope it’s not too horrible.

Let me know!

I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – don’t ask me why! (From There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. Rose Boone and Alan Mills 1952).

In French this song is known as A vieille femme qui a avalé une mouche. 

I just LOVE French words.  

Hier / Yesterday, I heard this song and immediately asked myself – POURQUOI / WHY?

Why a life long quest to speak French?  Why am I so drawn to a language and one I’m NOT even good at?

And why do I find it necessary to run 50 miles / 80.46 kilometers?

As much as I long to know, I know God will show me in His time.  He always does.

It might not even be that deep – the reason.  It might just be pourquoi pas / why not.  Or, it might be a life changing super cool adventure, which would be so exciting!  Regardless, He reminds me that while I wait, I should enjoy the ride.

“BUT why?”

It simply interests me.

I remember being 12 and dreaming of France.  How I even knew what to dream about, I don’t know.  Yet, I dreamed of  colors and scents and scenes.

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Ironically, I also remember being 12 and running through the woods by myself.  I was afraid of the darker, thicker areas, but never too afraid.  I knew all the trails and I loved being there.

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When I made my way to France for the first time at 20 (wow that was a while ago) it was exactly as I dreamed.

As we drove across France to the Atlantic Ocean, I was oblivious to everything.  I wasn’t even overly excited.  Arriving at the ocean – I felt at home.

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Dont ask me why.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi / I don’t know why.  I have no idea why, no more than I know why I’m training for a 50 mile run!

It simply interests me.

And I trust en Dieu / in God.  God is BIG.  He is HUGE.  He is more than we can comprehend and He is in control – always has been, always will be.

He has the bandwidth to guide each of us individually along our way WHILE still at the same time –  taking care of EVERYTHING.

Sitting down to do the work.  

This week’s 50 mile marathon training schedule has me running 41 miles and 30 of them within two days (not sure how that’s going to pan out).

S’ asseoir ou s’assoir / To sit down.

My handsome half French guy and I have added a sit down night to our weekly schedule.  He may or may not be as thrilled as I am to study…

One night each week we will sit down and go over our French lesson and drink French wine – ensemble! / together!

Learning French while running is Fantastique!  It helps me to tick off the miles.  I normally get two to three audio lessons in during one six mile run.

But to really drive the French learning home, we’ve added a sit down night.  Allowing us planned, uninterupted time together.  In addition, it will allow me the space to practice speaking French out loud not just dans ma tête.

Le Vin / The wine – it’s a bonus!

I love my half French guy, he never fails to support my endeavors.  No matter how big, small, odd, lame, far-fetched or costly, he just goes with my flow.

Merci mon chérie.  Je t’aime! Tu es trop mignon.  

Note to self:  Acheter / To buy.  Be sure to buy champagne for the 50 mile run victory celebration.  Cause you’re going to do it!  Pourquoi Pas!

À la prochaine.

Suz

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2017. An 8 kilometer trail race or 5 miles of conjugating avoir. And a final thought on metrication.

IMG_2566I vomited at the end of the 8 kilometer trail race.

Aujourd’hui, il fait chaud!  Il fait très chaud.  Today, it’s warm outside!  It’s very warm.

July in my neck of the woods here in the U.S. means high temperatures and extreme humidity.  It also means trail running which means I have time to conjugate French verbs.  C’est amusant – vraiment!  It’s fun – really!

I’ve been working on être (to be) and avoir (to have) for months.  I know these two irregular verbs, until I go to use them and then they just blur together dans ma tête (in my head).

So, today I praticed le verbe avoir while I ran a trail race.  With the extremely hot conditions this was the perfect verb to practice. Porquoi (why)?  Because, it was hot as heck and I needed something to distract me from the HEAT.  Something to take my mind off the HEAT.  Something to take me to my happy place…France.  All I could think about was how very warm I was.

J’ai chaud translates to I’m warm.  In French, you use avoir (to have) not être (to be) when talking about your body temperature.  Here chaud (warm) is used as a noun.  Do not – I repeat – do not use Je suis chaud(e) (I am hot) to say you are warm – it means something entirely different – let’s just say it means you’re ready…

I went out fast, maybe a little too fast.  I knew it was a single track trail for the first mile and I didn’t want to get stuck behind anyone.  Mais (but), please don’t think I’m a rapide / vite (fast) runner.  I usually just run the first mile as fast as I can then fade somewhere in the middle of the race.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi (I don’t know why)…it’s just what I do.  I’m working on it. Negative splits, that’s my goal.

I was running along pretty well, a little faster than I should have been and right about half way through the race I tanked.  I wish I had an audio file of the sounds I was making – freight train comes to mind.  My mile pace then slowed by 30 seconds, not by choice but, because I was fatigué (tired).

Trail runs are very different from road runs, you have a variety of terrain features to deal with (fields, tree roots, water crossings, old creaky bridges, dirt trails and holes).  I love to run and I love the trails.  Juste un jour parfait (just a perfect day).

I finished the 8 kilometer race and beat my personal projected time by 24 seconds.  I won my age group and was the 10th female overall (goals).  It was a small local race.  I also feel better about using avoir maintenant (now).

Here’s what I repeated over and over and over for 8 kilometers or about 5 miles:

J’ai chaud, very warm as in extrêmement warm.  It’s hot as HECK out here.

Tu as chaud, but I’m way warmer.

Il / Elle a chaud, but there’s no way he / she is as warm as me.

Nous avons chaud, but one of us is warmer than the other – and that would be me.

Vous avez chaud, but you can’t be as warm as me – there’s no way.

Ils / Elles ont chaud, but I’m sure I’m the warmest person out here on this darn trail.

As I ran through the finish line – I knew I’d throw up.  I always do – not sure if it’s the adrenaline rush or the exertion level.  Luckily, I made it through the crowd and over to the grass before I tossed my cookies.

I was happy with my effort in the heat.  And most importantly I think I have finally mastered le verbe avoir. 

Final thought – failed or incomplete metrication in the U.S.  Why do we use miles and not kilometers in the states?  It’s a very complicated and controversial issue.  Back in the 70’s, I got stuck in the whole “let’s try to switch to the metric system” thing.  I didn’t get it then – and I still struggle with it today.  I recall one year of learning it in school then it just seemed to fade away.

For me, learning the metric system and learning to speak French, make running a marathon seem like a breeze.  Running a U.S customary unit marathon…way easier!  It’s just 26.2 miles.  Running a metric marathon is 42.16 kilometers!  It just seems so much farther.

Suz