I'm currently in a very good mood because I just had SO MUCH YUMMY FRENCH FOOD!! As I wrote yesterday, I was invited for lunch around Anne-Lise's house, and I'm now going to tell you about what I ate. So if you have no interest in food, then don't waste your time reading this post.
Apart from Anne-Lise and myself, there was also her husband Dominique, two friends of theirs called Danielle and a name I've forgotten, and their one-year-old son/daughter called Marin or something like that (I didn't manage to work out bébé's gender over the course of the afternoon). When I got there, I was poured a glass of Pineau as an aperitif. They explained that Pineau is a regional alcoholic beverage, and in my opinion it tasted quite like a sweet sherry. Small tart things were then brought out that were filled with egg, cheese and ham. I had quite a few of those, as they were delicious and I didn't quite realise how many courses were involved in a French lunch, and thought that they were the starter. After that, the actual starter was served, which was cold beetroot, with a garlic/mustard/vinaigrette dressing to go with it. I went back for seconds, so I must have enjoyed it. For main course we were given roast veal with sauted potatoes. Veal is the only meat I really try not to eat for ethical reasons, but I really couldn't say no in this situation! When it came out all pink in the middle, they were murmuring among themselves, and I could tell they were worried that I'd find it too underdone because I'm English. When I told them 'J'aime le sang' (I like blood) they literally all cheered and told me I must be part French. Of course, next came the cheeseboard. Including a HOMEMADE goat's cheese by Anne-Lise. Say whaaat? Apparently French people that work full-time and have a baby to look after still have time to make cheese. Along with a nice chunk of Roquefort and some crusty bread, it was perfection. Danielle had brought along a tarte aux pommes she'd made, so that finished off the feast in true French style (although the British part of me craved a dollop of creamy hot custard to go with it).
Obviously, conversation was all in French, which I was a little worried about. But I was quite pleased with how much I mangaged to follow, and I think I only said 'Comment?' about 2 or 3 times when asked a question. So there's progress on the language front, it seems.
Lunch was followed by a walk around their quaint little town of Prahecq where we were followed home by a cute little white cat. And then Anne-Lise and her husband showed us all the vegetables they grow, and the animal section of their garden. There were pigeons, ducks, 2 varieties of hens, and hutches full of rabbits. It was when Dominique pointed to each hutch saying 'these are for October, these are for November...' that I realised all the animals there were to be eaten at some point. As Dominique said, 'Les Français sont barbares'! I realised how immature I am when I kept silently sniggering to myself everytime Dominique mentioned 'mon coq'. Don't tell me you didn't enjoy that one too!
All in all it's been a lovely day. The teachers really do try and make me feel so welcome, which I really appreciate, as otherwise it's a struggle to meet people, especially in Melle. I would have loved to have taken photos of my meal (anyone who knows me will know I love taking pictures of food!) but I figured it may have looked a bit odd or rude to those I was with this afternoon. So it's not a very pretty or colourful post today. However, the sky was quite fiery this evening, so I got a snap of that:
|La crepuscule melloise|