I lazily rolled out of bed and took the first bus of the morning. No, it wasn’t six in the morning. Not seven o’clock. Not eight either. Not even nine o’clock. The first bus of the day was at 9:45 AM. This is France…and it’s Sunday.
Etienne, the French man with whom I cook, picked me up at the bus station near his house. Valentina (the Italian girl), Etienne and I returned to his house where we met up with Beatrice, his wife. Today, we were finally going to cook for the first time. The other two meetings we had eaten traditional French food. Today, we were going to eat traditional Italian and American food. Yes, American food. What plate did I chose for this honor?
Chocolate chip cookies.
Yes, I can repeat that for you. Chocolate chip cookies. Why on earth would I choose cookies? The choice is easy when you look at it this way. America doesn’t have many “traditional” dishes. The United States of America is a melting pot of culture and also a melting pot of food. It’s hard to find a dish that is unique to America…except hamburgers. However, I didn’t want to make hamburgers. So, I looked it up online and guess what? Chocolate chip cookies are truly an American creation. I like making cookies. I like eating cookies. Perfect.
But here’s the problem. In America, we measure with cups and teaspoons. In France and everywhere else in the world, they measure with grams. How do you covert cups to grams? Well, you can’t really. A cup of flour isn’t the same weight as a cup of butter or a cup of sugar. Also, the couple felt like the recipe made too many cookies and they wanted me to half the recipe. But I didn’t have a measuring cup with me.
They gave me a coffee cup and told me to pretend it was a cup. I tried, but ran into some pretty big problems. I had no way of measure a cup of butter. They don’t have sticks of butter in France so I couldn’t just add two sticks of butter (and then we were making less than the original recipe anyway so…I don’t know how much butter to add). I estimated all of it. They didn’t have vanilla extract so they added vanilla sugar. They didn’t have packed brown sugar, they had granulated brown sugar. I was using less than half a cup so I knew I needed less than half a teaspoon of baking soda so…I tried. I really did. But the cookies came out like a giant, flat sheet. I blame it entirely on the butter/baking soda/brown sugar. It wasn’t me.
I was embarrassed, to say the least. The cookies didn’t look anything like cookies, but they tasted okay. Valentina made a plate that is typical from Sardinia where she lives. It was a special type of pasta with sauce and meat. It was very good.
Our meal plan followed its usual course. We had appetizers before moving into the dining room. We started with Valentina’s plate and then moved on to a salad. After the salad, we had cheese and bread. After the cheese and bread, we had dessert, which was my chocolate chip sheet…I mean cookies. Right.
Moving on, we had coffee (I had tea). Then, it was time to go a free jazz concert. Beatrice knew someone in the jazz concert so we thought it would be a good idea to go. We piled into the car and got out and…found out that the concert actually starts in two hours. So, with our two hours, we drove through the French countryside. They showed us many vineyards and towns.
On our way back to Nantes, we stopped in Vertou and walked along a beautiful river. We returned to the jazz concert, at the right time, and I really enjoyed it. The singers were very good and, when calls came out for an encore, the choir returned and sang another song. It was wonderful.
The couple invited us to stay at their house for dinner, but it was already seven o’clock by then. I was thinking about my homework that I haven’t done yet. To be fair, it’s not due until Thursday, but you know me! I like the have my homework done early…especially since I have two tests on Wednesday! I need to do my homework, study, do laundry (some time)…I need to mop my floor too. I don’t have a mop, but a paper towel works fine. I should probably pay rent before the first of the month and I need to get my monthly transportation ticket before the first of the month. So much to do. Where should I start?
I think I’m going to eat a chocolate chip cookie now.