Today is the 2 week mark for how long we have been in Montpellier, and it also marks the halfway point of our trip. Realizing that this trip is halfway over has caused me to do a bit of reflecting on some overall themes of my stay here. I remember before the end of mod 4, I sent my host parents an email to introduce myself a bit and see if I could get to know them a little before arriving at their home. In their email back to me they mentioned that they were very excited to show me different plates from French cuisine that I might not have been introduced to from the states. And after spending 13 dinners with them, I can confirm that this is what they have done!
On the first day I arrived, my host mom asked me if there are any foods that I don’t eat because she wanted to make sure I could try new foods, but not be forced to eat anything I didn’t like. When she asked this question, my mind went completely blank (I was pretty nervous — I had just stepped in the door 10 minutes before) and all I could say was that I was allergic to shellfish. To be honest, though, at this point I am glad I didn’t say anything because some of the dishes I have eaten are things I never would have guessed I would like! I have had duck two times now, and my host mom tells me it is almost as common to eat in France as chicken is! I have also had several different kinds of fish – something my dad knows I rarely enjoy 🙂 – which were actually some of my favorite meals that my host parents have made me.
While trying all these new dishes, my host parents will tell me about where the food comes from and also some history about the recipe. They try to buy all of their dairy and produce from organic, local places, and a lot of the recipes they follow are from certain regions of France where they are considered their “specialty” dish. The first week I got here, I told my host mom that my dad enjoys cooking and that he will make something different every night. Since then, every time she makes a special meal (about three times a week) she will call me into the kitchen and tell me to bring a pencil and a notebook so I can take down the recipe for my dad! As she cooks she tells me what she is doing (in French) and also has me write out the ingredients. This has been one of my favorite parts of my stay here because I’ve learned some new food vocabulary and I’ve also gotten to connect with my host mom over something we that we both value: food!
Although I do miss being at home and eating my dad’s cooking, I’ve come to enjoy spending time with my host parents and learning about food from all different regions of France! I also have gotten a good taste (literally) of the food around Montpellier. Most of us on the trip have taken on eating a 4th meal in between lunch and dinner because the food here is such a huge part of the experience (and also we are all always hungry from all the walking around the city)! In fact, I’m actually off to go meet some friends for lunch right now! Hope all is well back home,
P.S. learned from Noah that instead of eating popcorn while watching a movie, the French eat sausages!