La Vie en Rose: All the things I’m missing

Good vittles, love, and kissing…

There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while.  A lot of them surprise even me!

  • Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict).  I need a burrito- STAT.
  • Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER.  Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
  • Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
  • Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
  • Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
  • Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
  • Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
  • Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?

And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!

*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly.  But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.

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Homesickness in Five Senses

Much as I’m loving living in France, there are some things that just aren’t the same and that give me a little ache when I think about them. This variety of homesickness is a lot less all-encompassing than the kind I had to deal with when I turned up at Yale four years ago (couldn’t tell you why), but for whatever reason this transition has felt much easier.

I do of course have thoughts about why, but that’s a topic for another day.
In the meantime, I’ve been finding it interesting to consider what it is I miss most about home (not necessarily America, but my own life there) and how there are some senses that are missing America more than others. Oddly, I feel like what I’m missing most are specific sounds, more than sights or smells or even tastes (though taste is a close second).

Sights:

  • Autumn color. Take it from an entitled North East girl who has spent all of her autumns surrounded by yellows and golds and oranges and reds. You definitely miss it. Leaves turn yellow and brown here- which is quite pretty- and you get the snow-like leaf shedding in the wind that I love so much, but the wonderland created by the other colors is just missing. Sighing for maples.
  • Giant supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll choose France’s small stores and open air markets over a Costco or Stop&Shop any day, but there is something oddly compelling (and reassuring) about that almost inappropriate abundance.

Sounds:

  • Canada geese
  • Sirens. The sirens here sound different and much more musical. I miss our sinister alarms.
  • Blasting reggaeton. There are not enough people blasting reggaeton from car windows here. Though mercifully there are more than none.
  • English. Hearing people speaking your own language as you walk around. You don’t realize how subconsciously comforting it is until everyone around you is speaking French.

Textures:

  • There isn’t anything tactile at home that I can’t as easily palpate in Versailles, except maybe my bed. It’s very easy to miss your bed.

Smells:

  • Not anything really. The thing about perfume school is that your nose gets plenty of exercise and novelty.

Tastes:

  • Good lord home-cooked food. I miss it so much. I am cooking for myself here, but not any of the larger and more time-consuming recipes I would undertake at home. Partly because I’m sharing a kitchen with a host family. Partly because vegan ingredients are harder to find in these parts. Like the French don’t do vegan cheese. Why would they? Their cheese is a national treasure.  But Dad’s pizza? My banana bread? Chickpea cutlets? Cornbread? So many foods.

And of course I didn’t list anything relating to the people and animals I miss. Beings are amalgamations of so many senses. The feeling of a hug or of soft cat fur. Every person and animal’s individual smell and the sound of their voice…

Boston-ish Restaurants At Which I Want to Eat

Over the past few years, I haven’t been a big one for eating out. 1) Anorexia obsessiveness has made it difficult, 2) I love cooking and eating homemade food, and 3) veganism. But that’s all changed recently and I’ve gotten a sudden yen to explore the Boston area food scene.

The first symptom was probably my desire to do the much more delicious version of a pub crawl- my vegan pizza tour of the Greater Boston area. Which was super successful and very yummy.
And then this past weekend my grandparents were visiting, and in the hopes of finding that rare restaurant that they would like and my parents and I could eat at, I fell down the rabbit hole of Boston’s vegan Yelp sector. Continue reading “Boston-ish Restaurants At Which I Want to Eat”

A Vegan Pizza Tour of the Greater Boston Area

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Just going to rapid fire this one off before I lose the truly tactile experiential pizza memories. And also because I’m super tired right now.
I just saw Wind River in the theater (It’s excellent, very bleak! Politically sympathetic to women and Native Americans but still makes white people the heroes and Jeremy Renner a very stoic lone wolf savior-type).

Pizza.

Criteria: In order to be a vegan pizza, the pizza must have something purposefully vegan about it. This can be vegan cheese or some other vegan protein (like sausage or tofu). So I’m not accepting pizza with no cheese, just red sauce and vegetables. Because then I would also have to accept bread with just red sauce. And then I would have to accept just bread. And then eventually I would be buying and testing pizza air. Meh. Continue reading “A Vegan Pizza Tour of the Greater Boston Area”

Yale Dining: Dying Vegan

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(This is (/was) my dining hall. At least I can suffer surrounded by beautiful symbols of an elitist intellectual old boy culture 🙂 )

In honor of being DONE WITH UNIVERSITY (AAAHHHHH) I’m going to focus for maybe a week or so on college-related topics.  So the first one is going to be the best food served at Yale dining halls.

Now anyone who’s read a few posts here may have noticed that I am kind of vegan (nothing “kind of” about it) and really struggle with Yale’s dining system because, while they make promises about having a vegan entree at every meal, that is frequently not the case. And their idea of a vegan entree is frequently something along the lines of ‘rice’.

But sometimes they actually have quite good and edible options (and when that happens I bring discreet tupperware and load the fuck up like a camel at an oasis in the middle of a hot arid desert). Continue reading “Yale Dining: Dying Vegan”

New Haven Eats

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I wish Yale’s dining plan was set up more like Northeastern University’s.  The huskies are able to use their meal cards at local restaurants while we poor bulldogs are helplessly in thrall to a strict dining hall system.

As a vegan this is kind of troublesome, especially when the meal options are limited (and the plan is expensive!)
It’s especially frustrating when one considers how many excellent vegan dining options there are in the New Haven area.  I mean, I get that New Haven is famous for its pizza- but let me tell you, there is nothing quite like Ethiopian Food or a good plate of Mike’s Nachos (see number ).

So if you’re heading to New Haven, these are the places I recommend you pop in at, vegan or no! Continue reading “New Haven Eats”

Veggie Beefs

EDIT// I just found out that October 1st is World Vegetarian Day. How apt. How serendipitous.

Okay, so I know it is the general consensus of the riffraff/plebeians/peasants/“common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd” that vegetarians are annoying in a holier-than-thou sort of way.  As a vegan (surprise!) I may be more guilty of annoying the general populace than most.  Except I stopped being preachy sometime in middle school (so if I’m annoying people it’s actually because they have a problem with my personal choices and identity- so if that’s you basically go fuck yourself).

That said, I do get a little irritated by the endless parade of ‘ways in which vegetarians are annoying’ and ‘worst things about vegetarians lists’. Thankfully, there are lots of annoying things omnivores do that I can take issue with in retaliation.

But first, a disclaimer: I don’t at meat. It’s a personal choice.  My personal choice is not a judgment on your personal choice.
It seems that a lot of the anti-vegetarian hostility comes from a sense that another’s vegetarianism is a passive aggressive way of passing judgment on others’ choices.  It’s a bit hypocritical of me to suggest that non-vegetarians cut the whole ‘the best defense is a good offense’ shit when I’m about to discuss ways in which they’re irritating, but I do think a more accepting outlook on both sides would solve a lot of problems (Hey, what problems wouldn’t a more accepting outlook solve?)

That’s enough of the peaceful talk. Time for shots to be fired.

  1. When people ask me if I’m offended by them eating meat in my presence.
    “?”… “No?”  Yeah, no, that’s not a thing.
  2. “What do you mean there isn’t anything you can eat? They have salad!”
    I’m vegan but I still have the nutritional requirements of a human being. I didn’t suddenly turn into a gerbil.  I still can’t live on iceberg lettuce.
  3. “That moment when you try the ravioli and it tricked you and it’s the vegan ravioli.  That’s why I hate vegans.”
    Ok, this doesn’t even make sense.  You have options besides the vegan ravioli. I don’t and I also think the vegan ravioli is disgusting.  I promise I would be just as happy if the vegan ravioli disappeared as you.  If anything, the vegan ravioli is a reason to hate omnivores collectively (it’s never a good idea to hate anyone collectively)- because they think because I’m vegan I’m happy to eat dust pockets.  Do not hold me accountable for the atrocity that is vegan ravioli.
  4. “I was vegetarian for three days/oh, I could never be vegetarian, meat is too good!”
    I don’t care about your failure.  Just kidding, it’s just that you hear variations on these so often.  I’m happy if people actually want to have a conversation about their experiences, but so often people seem to just be trying to excuse themselves to me- while I honestly don’t care what you eat.
  5. “Can you pick off the meat?”
    No.
    Further explanation: I don’t eat meat and I also try to not support meat production.  Chucking meat in the trash is pretty much just as bad.  Also I don’t want to touch it.
  6. “What do you eat?!”
    The blood of my enemies.
    The souls of the innocent.
    The tears of children.
    The fondest dreams of virgins.
    The nightmares of angora bunnies.
    I also really like burritos.
  7. “You know you’re basically murdering plants when you eat? How does that make you feel?”
    Mmm. Okay.  I don’t have a problem with death.  I’m not Voldemort.  I understand that things must die to give me life.  But murder is a legal term that does not apply to plants (or to animals, though some of us might feel it should and it certainly does feel like it should when the guy in the horror movie kills the family dog).  But I’m not yet convinced that plants feel pain.  Also, plants aren’t treated as poorly as we treat animals prior to consuming them.  The effect on the environment of eating plants and plant-derived food is also much less than that of eating meat.  So I’ll think about it when I learn that plants feel pain, when they start being put in veal crates, battery cages, etc., and when they threaten the environment as much as raising livestock and livestock feed.
    Also, this question is aggressive.  Middle finger to you.
  8. “I’m also vegetarian, but I eat fish.”
    I think that means you’re not vegetarian.
  9. “What are you eating? It looks disgusting!”
    Your face looks disgusting. And so does your mom.
    A bit of background: I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for a while, so this is a hard one to deal with.  My thought process: “Haha, yeah you’re right! All food is disgusting and why am I even eating anyway?”
    And this is so rude.  If my food doesn’t please you aesthetically, I don’t know who made you a food critic but either way I’m not interested in your opinion.
    And I have so many things to say about how disgusting I find bloodied carcasses.  Don’t get me started.
  10. “But humans are meant to eat meat.”
    Yes, and pop tarts.
    Really though, I’m fine without meat.  It can be done.
    And we’re kind of not meant to drink milk from cows. That’s just weird.
    “We were born to eat meat!”
    Haha, no, I was born to be wild. Byeeee.
  11. “So you can’t eat meat?”
    I physically can. I choose not to.
  12. “What if I gave you a million dollars to eat a steak? What if you were stranded on a deserted island with only chicken nuggets?”
    What if you had to choose- watch your parents have sex everyday or join in once and never have to watch again?  Sorry, that was twisted and cruel.  But hypothetical you started it.
    Also, if you’re curious- probably yes to the first (I’m vegan, not an idiot) and perhaps yes to the second.
  13. “Oh, so you’re vegan- that must be why you’re so skinny!”
    Haha, funny, no. This is actually a result of my longstanding struggle with anxiety and anorexia.  Cheers!
    Also a shit ton of unhealthy things are vegan.
  14. “I could never give up —–”
    As a vegan you generally learn to explore similar-tasting (better-tasting because they also have the pleasant savor of moral superiority) substitutes.  Also, I’m sorry that you struggle with addiction.
  15. When you ask the dining hall worker where the hummus is and they point to the tuna fish.
    No words.
  16. “Can you eat bread?”
    Does no one know what their food is made of anymore? Seriously, someone asked me recently if potatoes were vegan.  No, people hunt them with pitchforks as they roll through the underbrush, all of their eyes rolling in terror.
  17. “You know being vegetarian is unhealthy?”
    Nice response: I challenge you to a dance off.
    Mean response: Who told you that, your obese grandma?
  18. Canonical vegan options
    If I’m offered one more soggy wrap I will shove it up someone’s nose.
    But thank god for the home fries and oatmeal at continental breakfast, am I right?
  19. “I think people just become vegetarian/vegan so they be morally superior.”
    No, I’m vegan because I AM morally superior.