This week, we had a crisis of epic proportions. We almost ran out of peanut butter! Actually, it depends on your definition of “almost”, this is what we had left.
We consciously try not to recreate our American lives here. We’re trying to do things the way the Swiss do and use local products…with one exception. He loves peanut butter. He may survive on peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey sandwiches (feel free to draw conclusions about the quality of my cooking).
He used to be a JIF man, but when we became DINK’s (Dual Income No Kids) we started splurging. We love Trader Joe’sPeanut Butter (the kind made from only crushed peanuts). He’s a creamy man. I’m a crunchy girl. Since he eats 30x more of it than I do, we buy creamy.
When I saw the “almost empty” jar in the fridge, I went to the nearest supermarket that I thought would have peanut butter that wasn’t completely packed with sugar and oils. They didn’t have plain crushed peanuts so I bought one that was mostly peanuts with a small amount of oil. For good measure, I bought one that was made of only crushed almonds and another of only crushed cashews. Crisis averted.
“Man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter.” – President James A. Garfield.
I went grocery shopping in France. It was a little bit different than in Switzerland. The store was larger than I have become used to. I confess, I was a bit overwhelmed. I have gotten to know the Swissgrocery stores, but there were so many crazy French foods that I was overwhelmed trying to make sense of them all. When I saw the butter… well, I froze.
There was a wall of it. I have never seen that much butter (buerre in French). Heck, over the course of my existence I have probably not consumed than much butter. Actually, now that I think about it, Luciano Pavarotti probably never consumed that much butter.
I counted over 100 different types! In actuality, I stopped counting at a hundred with more to go (including margarines).
When faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of choosing the correct type of butter, I immediately started laughing at myself and whipped out my phone to surreptitiously take pictures for you. There were so many different types. Each of the 27 regions of France must have had several of their own. Butter was salted, half salted, soft and types I can’t even remember.
I ended up just picking one and hoping that our inexperience palates wouldn’t pick out the nuances of the my poor butter choice.
While shopping, I saw a few familiar faces.
Your French lesson for the day géant = giant, vert = green. Yep, it’s your old friend, the jolly green giant.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out propre = clean and Mr. Propre is Mr. Clean. I didn’t end up buying him. He was more expensive than an organic herb scented cleaner. Desole Monsieur Propre.*
We had visitors and made a typically French food for them…Crepes. Yum! Being American, the finer points of crepes escape us and we used whatever we had in the fridge/pantry to fill them. We started out with Gruyerecheese, which is pretty typical. Next, we tried goat cheese, which doesn’t seem too odd here in the land of cheese.
Of course, we had to break out the chocolate.
That made us think of peanut butter. What goes really well with peanut butter? Apples and cinnamon. I’m guessing by this point we have done something that would make many French foodofiles shout “sacre bleu!”
Clearly, we were on a roll and there was no turning back. Since we had the peanut butter out, what else could we use? Jelly. The French food gods might throw a lightning bolt for that one. As Americans, we loved them and cannot recommend them highly enough.
P.S. We also made, goat cheese and berry. And yes, they were from a mix. Don’t judge. Besides, you can’t be all that surprised, we’re American.
I am so glad that we are not lactose intolerant. This is a country of dairy where the cow is practically a national symbol (not to discount the goat and sheep’s milk products you see everywhere). The Swiss do dairy. They do it a lot. They do it very, very well. As a result, we find ourselves constantly trying new, wonderful dairy products. Delightful (and tasty). If you are lactose intolerant, you can still easily enjoy the good food here. It is of high quality and very fresh. You will just miss out on some of the abundant dairy yumminess.
To prove my point that the Swiss do a lot of dairy, I took photos of just some of the dairy in one grocery store. Mind you there is another one across the street. Enjoy!
P.S. I pounded not one, but two delicious youghrts for breakfast this morning and having mountian milk in my coffee. Excessive? No, just a delightful, darylicious way to start your day.