Thursday, September 01, 2005

I think that my cholesterol must have tripled in the past four days.

Before I left, Sarah and I joked that I could eat only bread, cheese and drink wine and be happy. Then we’d laugh, because it seemed silly to think that I would eat only bread and cheese while I was in Lyon. Everyone who has been eating mostly cheese for the past several days, raise their hands. If you look carefully, there I am in the back timidly holding up my hand. Yes, it’s true. Between my roommate’s love affair with French cheeses (which I seem to share) and my desire to try everything I lay my eyes on (it is research, after all), I’ve eaten quite a bit of cheese. Scratch that- I’ve eaten a LOT of cheese. I opened the door to our dorm-sized fridge one afternoon after Sylvain had been to see his parents and to find it suddenly full of cheese. I’m not talking about a few kinds here- we must have had seven or eight varieties scattered among the shelves and drawers. I closed the door, thinking that it was some sort of French-induced hallucination. But when I opened it again (and many subsequent times, just to check), the mass quantities of cheese remained. I’ve always loved eating cheese (thanks Mom and Dad), but never thought that I would make entire meals out of it. And that’s why Sylvain and I have done. More often than not, we’ll decide that we’re not terribly hungry, and sit down at our table and eat some Chèvre, Compté, Brie, or a multitude of others, sometimes with bread, sometimes without. Every once in a while I feel a pang of guilt, wondering what this diet consisting mostly of milk products is doing to my health, but then I’ll have another piece and forget all about it. It could be worse, I could be lactose intolerant.

You may think that my eating habits are going rapidly down-hill, and that it’s all my fault. But don’t despair, I have eaten other things, some involving cheese (mixed with other things, bien sûr!) and some not. And it’s not really my fault. The one thing that all of these “other” meals have is that they’ve been eaten outside of the apartment. You see, we’re having trouble with the “plaques éléctriques.” Our tiny kitchen has two plaques, or hotplate-type contraptions. The first time that Sylvain tried to make pasta and it took the water half an hour to boil, I thought it was odd, but I chalked it up to him not putting a lid on the pot. When I waited forty-five minutes for the Italian cafétière to provide me with coffee, and still got nothing, I was annoyed and de-caffeinated. But tonight, when after AN HOUR the water holding my potatoes hadn’t even come close to boiling, I was upset (and hungry). I made a hunger-based decision, fished the potatoes out of the non-boiling water, thinly sliced them, and threw them in a sauté pan that I had, ahem, attempted to pre-heat. Over half an hour later I had passable food. But the plaques? I’ve had enough. We’ve tried preheating them, using both, waiting exceptionally long periods of time, and still nothing. I don’t think this is normal. And although I really love this cheese-eating phase I’m going through, I would like to cook something else. (Don’t worry Mom, I’m eating yoghurt too! And I even bought salad, but we’re sadly still without salad dressing, which is another story entirely.) Especially since I’ve already bought things for tomorrow night. Breakfasts are fine, we can have bread and marmalade and juice and coffee without using the “stove” (Sylvain luckily has brought a coffee maker, so even if I follow my urges to throw the other one from the terrace, I’ll still have my coffee). But it looks like it’s off to Carrefour for us, to buy one or two free-standing plaques so that I can cook something without any milk in it. As for right now, I’m rewarding myself after the dinner mess with some coffee (but espresso, really) and chocolate. So yes, sleeping is going to be really easy.


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