Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Eggplant that doesn’t taste like cardboard!

eggplant 1

My reflection is camouflaged because I am all in purple.

Eggplant (which is actually a fruit!!!) is a thing I’ve tried to get behind for many years, primarily because it’s one of the few purple foods out there. There’s something oddly appealing about having my outsides match my insides. (I wear a lot of purple because life is a lot easier if you don’t have to think about whether your clothes matches, a tip I picked up from Albert Einstein. And purple is clearly the best color, obviously.)

But, try as I might, I couldn’t ever find a way to eat the stuff that made it even vaguely taste good. Then I saw this video about how some place in Brooklyn makes their eggplant sandwiches and I realized that the secret was double-frying.

Sadly, I don’t have a frier at home (though I remember one apartment I looked into renting in Barcelona had one as a built-in, something I never got over), so I did something more reasonable. I cut my lovely round eggplant into thick slices which I placed on a bed of kosher salt on a paper towel and then sprinkled with more salt. I let the slices rest for a good while and then wiped them dry. Next, I quickly fried them in medium-hot oil and patted them dry again. Another quick fry, in much hotter oil this time, and they were good to go.

Placed on good toasted pain de campagne with a smear of Saint-félicien (my new favorite cheese), some spinach and a dusting of freshly ground pepper… this is a fruit-masking-as-a-vegetable that I could eat all the time.

eggplant 2


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Footloose and Frenchy Free

I generally avoid the high-traffic tourist areas in any city I live in because I don’t like people, but I made an exception this past Sunday as I have visitors and it was la fête nationale here. For reasons I won’t go into now, in English it’s known as Bastille Day but in French it’s just 14 Juillet.

This angle reminded me of the Brooklyn Bridge.

This angle reminded me of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Alons enfants de la patrie....

Allons enfants de la patrie….

Truthfully, the crowds weren’t as bad as I expected. It was the urban filth that surprised me. Cities can be nasty places. As they say here, beurk [yuk].

Eiffel 3 feet


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Columbo + pigeons = comedy

Looking over one of the notebooks in which I jot down funny things, I was reminded of what happened when I got my haircut in September. As I was waiting my turn, I was flipping through that week’s issue of Le Figaro Magazine which was all about New York, marking as it was, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Part of the issue was dedicated to a typical day-in-the-life feature which had a lot of people and places I recognized, but then there was this heading which made me laugh so hard that I started coughing.

14h15 George Martin, colombophile et misanthrope à Brooklyn

It seemed totally logical that someone who loved watching Peter Falk as Columbo would be a misanthrope. I mean, the guy investigated murders and was always being lied to and there was clearly something not right about his home life. Plus, misanthropes congregate in Brooklyn since so many of them are hipsters and I was just cracking myself up imagining all kinds of different scenarios like a TV show starring the Beatles-producing George Martin solving mysteries in Brooklyn which I would watch the hell out of.

Anyway, when I got home, I looked up colombophile and saw that it means “pigeon fancier” which made a lot of sense since the article was about this guy who fed and trained pigeons from the roof of his building in Brooklyn. Sometimes actually understanding what the hell is going on is way less amusing.