France appears to be a delicious place.
At least on paper and in general culture. It seems that if you are discussing food of any kind, the conversation will eventually load up on a Concorde jet and find its way somewhere near De Gaulle Airport.
There may or may not be a baguette or a pastry of some sort involved. I happen to have a special place in my heart for both of those. I don't remember the first time I had a baguette, but I am pretty sure I was an adult. The first interaction I ever had with French culture was a kid in school named Eric. We were pretty good friends and his father happened to be a chef, so he made something for the class once, but I don't remember what it was, just that it was good.
And then the only thing I thought of related to France and their ability to wave white flags during wartime for the next decade were French Fries. There was a restaurant called the 57th Bomber Group, or something like that designed around the Second World War in France. It sounded like a steak sauce and served me French onion soup for the first time. I was rather impressed.
I was also young, stupid, and unable to cook.
Eventually learning to cook was a good thing. It is a very marketable skill on the dating circuit, and while I was proud of myself, the whole kit and kaboodle was a flash in the pan as it regarded my luck with the ladies because I was still young and stupid.
Over the years I learned plenty more French things and improved my skill set. I learned about compound butters, how to work well with chicken, and ended up more on the rustic side of things.
I became older, not quite so stupid, and more eligible to marry myself off. Which I succeeded in doing.
The first time was seven years, and that itching was like a horrible rash. I survived it, and kept cooking.
You can call it what you want to, but soccer is usually one of the most useless sports known to man. The constant flailing and convulsions as players pretend to be hurt is reminiscent of any given lecture on a college campus these days. Everyone is so hurt and offended on almost every play that I need a safety pin and a safe space to watch it.
Except for the yearly Lyon-St. Etienne match. That one is pretty much a violent bloodbath. And as a red-blooded male who enjoys hockey, this one is usually fulfilling.
It was like most conversations during my first marriage, where the neighbors would pop bowls of popcorn to watch the nightly fireworks after the lady of the house had put down a fifth of vodka.
I understand she is no longer among us, and I hope that she rests in peace now. It's a commodity that I learned you simply cannot give to people, no matter how much you might want to.
The second go has worked much better. I have almost fifteen years under my belt now, and no one really notices we're around. And I have been cooking pretty much that entire time.
You know what Malcolm Gladwell has to say on that topic.
I tried to share the Francophile bug with my wife when we first met. Movies are a natural aphrodisiac, some idiot proclaimed. I shared the movie Amelie, and she became afflicted with narcolepsy.
The Travel Gnome had to be explained, because she was a full on lumberjack by the time he became involved.
I have no idea why I chose to talk about the French today, but I'm sure there will be more pain this year where that came from.