I’ve written already about some of my adventures eating out here in France but what I’ve yet to really explain to you is what I have been cooking here. The average cost of a supper here is around 30 euros. Though this supplies you with a HUGE amount of food you have to eat it on the spot because “no doggie bag!” In the US I had no problem paying that sum of money for an amount of food that I could take a large portion of home. But here if you can’t eat it, it gets tossed. So really for a college student eating at home is the norm. Well for the rest of France the idea of ready-to-eat meals are grilled chickens and fresh sandwiches that will put you back a pretty penny and cannot be stored. It makes it very difficult to stock your fridge or pantry with something substantial for each meal. Because this is my oven:
a frozen pizza is almost totally out of the question and my norm of baking, well that too is restricted some. Easy Mac is unheard of and lean cuisine type meals are very expensive and their taste is well… indescribable. So I’ve had to get somewhat creative with the things that I’ve found in the supermarkets. For example the one thing that is easy to find is top-ramen. BLECH!! I avoided it for years after my freshman semester of college but now find myself buying it in 1/2 dozen packages. But If you take these god-awful noodles, boil them with frozen veggies, fry an egg, add the noodles to the pan, use the seasoning packet along with some soy sauce, a generous portion of butter and you’ve created a more than halfway decent lomein.
My favorite design has been the use of frozen hamburgers.
Ground beef is hard to come by because it’s not as widely consumed here.5/6/2012: Correction…Ground beef is not what it is in the states, it is acctual ground steak and therefore much more expensive. When you’ve spend about 15 euros on a pound of beef you are not quick to throw it into something like hamburger helper or taco seasoning (though the later I can’t resist. I need a taco once in a while) I’ve been buying frozen Hamburgers and instead of following the directions and cooking them as is i defrost them and break them apart. From this I can make a halfway decent pasta sauce or i can add a little worcestershire a bunch of salt and paper, some cayenne and reform it as a patty. Fry up an egg and grill up the burger. The egg is a great topping for the newly seasoned meat between two toasted pieces of good French bread.
So basically my motto for cooking in France is that anything, no matter how disgusting or bland in its original form, can be altered to make an amazing meal. All you need is to add an egg.