A Travellerspoint blog

Food from four continents in one week!

Again, most of the stuff that's worth writing about is food-related...

snow 2 °C

At last, Besançon has started to get the winter weather that I am used to! I woke up this morning (and two or three other mornings this past week) to gently falling snow. It usually doesn’t accumulate much or stick too badly to the streets, but it’s pretty and makes it feel a lot less like April. And I’ve decided to use it and the significant amount of work and research that I have as a reason to spend a quiet day inside with my coffeemaker.

But that’s not to say that I haven’t been doing fun stuff, too! Last Saturday, Gabrielle, Claudia, and I enjoyed yet another of Gabrielle’s delicious homemade Korean dinners. This time it was a spicy red chile soup with potatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini, carrots, and whole chicken thighs, then it was served over rice. I feel like I’ve gotten almost as much authentic Korean and Chinese food here as I have French food! And I must say that the Asian dishes make me feel much less fat than the French ones.

Then, after dinner, we reprised our cookie night of last semester! As popular as the chocolate chunk cookies were, they both wanted to branch out and try something new. So I decided on two of my other favorites – Gingersnaps and Oatmeal Raisin. And they went over just as well, if not better. But man, is it a commitment to bake two batches of cookies six at a time!


Also, it appears that I am continuing in my amateur ambassadorial role this semester. Again, I received a vague email that was sent to me and the other two American students at the University, saying that Madame the Consul Général of the United States in Strasbourg would be coming to visit the CLA, and would like to have a little chat with the Americans in Besançon. So I thought that’d be pretty cool, whatever. And again, I walk into the room to find a full-on meeting with at least fifteen people. But after my adventure with the Prime Minister, this was nothing!


After the meeting, we had a little reception, at which I got to taste Franche-Comté's regional version of the galette des rois that I wrote about last week. This one, cleverly called the Galette Comtoise is much more like a thin, pizza-shaped flan. It was pretty good, but not quite as delicious as the flaky almond paste-y original. And a super friendly woman gave me the recipe, so maybe next year the Kammerer household will start observing the Epiphany…


On Friday, I was super happy to meet Bethany, a girl who just arrived here with ISEP, the same study abroad program that I am using. Last semester, I was the only one, and it led to a bit of confusion every once in a while. But we finally got the chance to meet up last week, and it turns out that she’s from Illinois, and actually attends a small college just a few miles from Knox, where Ben went to school! It’s also kind of cool to be able to know enough by now to be able to help people who arrived this semester, whether it’s giving them directions or introducing them to other people from their country.

Friday night was another “Club Cuisine” event (students get together at somebody’s apartment and cook a traditional meal - last semester I did an Algerian one). This time, I chose Bolivian cuisine. It was a bit different from the last one (multiple courses of super unique soups and breads and things I had never seen before) in that we just made a massive batch of a dish called pique macho which is pretty much the definition of drunk food. Bite-sized pieces of beef, sausage, tomato, onion, and peppers are stewed together into a thick chunky sauce, then ladled over a bed of French fries and garnished with hard boiled eggs. It was pretty good, but I definitely didn’t feel like doing much moving afterwards! But as stuffed as I was, I was still a bit disappointed to learn that desserts are practically nonexistent in Bolivian cuisine.

Though the stress level is a bit higher at the University, I feel like I’m improving even more quickly now. I’m starting to get into the work on my big oral exposé (coming right up in about 2 ½ weeks!) and I’m halfway through my third 19th century play. It was actually kind of awesome – I sat down to read the second one (a relatively short one-act called ¬Intérieur) and realized that I didn’t have access to a dictionary. I figured I’d just highlight the words I didn’t know and look them up later, but it turned out I didn’t need to at all! So that was a proud moment. :)

Posted by NKammerer 05:16 Archived in France Tagged snow soup club_cuisine gingersnap_cookies oatmeal_raisin_cookies french_consul galette_comtoise pique_macho bolivian_food classwork

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While you have definately one-upped us on the meeting dignitaries front, we here in Omaha have you beat on winter weather with half a foot a snow on the ground! I am really excited to observe the Epiphany next year. I'm already researching yarn crafts for the occasion. Or should I just make sock puppets?

by Vinnie

We woke up to snow yesterday, too. We have about seven inches on the ground, and Opa and I got stuck four time going to Stokes for brunch. The first "stuck" was in Opa's driveway; the next two were on the street leading up to the light on 42nd. The last one was trying to park the car in the Old Market. Opa did a great job of getting us "rolling" again each time. The "flan" looks delicious - glad you got the recipe.

Congrats on not needing to find a dictionary. It must be reassuring to find out how much progress you're making in a new land, new university, and a second language.

Did you speak French or English when you went to the meeting with Madame the Consul General? I'm starting to feel like I'll have to ask for your autograph when I see you since you keep "hanging out" with such important people!

by Judy Trout

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