The Staples of Tours: Youth and Food

Bekah

Today I met a lot of French young adults, which was perfect for me because I would like to work in youth ministry once I graduate from Luther. During the day, I went to Saint Marguerite high school, a little school in the countryside with about 250 students. I attended a math class and an English class. In the math class, I taught the students the Pythagorean theorem in English to show that math is virtually the same in every language. In the English class, the students (who were equivalent to 11th graders in the US) asked me questions, in nearly perfect English I might add, about the United States and me. Because the class had just learned about the second Amendment and various shootings in the US, I started out by sharing my feelings on somewhat of a controversial topic. Other questions included: “What do you think about Donald Trump?”, “What stereotypes do Americans have of the French?”, and “How do you eat fast food for every meal?” I could not help but laugh at the last question because it is a very typical stereotype of the US. I assured the student that no, we do not eat fast food for every meal. Actually, if my parents aren’t making me food or if I’m not eating at the cafeteria at Luther, I can make my own food! They were shocked!

This evening, I went to a meeting of college students called “Les Navigateurs.” We ate a wonderful meal together, sang songs, and read and shared our thoughts on the creation story found in Genesis. I had some difficulty sharing how I felt in French while translating the English in my head, but all in all, we had great discussion and got to know each other very well.

DeeDee

Finally being able to work is fantastic. I got sick last week, and couldn’t work at all, and was I missing out! Waking up for work was hard, since morning is not my best time of day. At all. But I am happy that I did. Getting to work, I met up with everyone again, and they all gave me the “bise,” or the kisses on the cheeks, the typical French greeting. It was such a cool experience, and really did remind me that I was in a different culture. Today, I also got to make my first French dish all by myself. It was a simple gratin, but it was still a move up from cutting fruits and vegetables all day! The sous-chef taught me the recipe, and even had me write it down so I could make it at home, which was really exciting. Coming into this, I thought all of the recipes would be secretive, and it would be a lot like working with Gordon Ramsay. But the people I work with are fantastic, and all really funny, nice, and patient with me. Today, I met two new people who really helped make my day. We talked about French stereotypes, especially since the day before, I helped them prepare grenouille, or frog in English.

After making my own gratin, I did a lot more of plating food for the home for the elderly that shares the same kitchen, and I thought I would be going back to cutting fruits and veggies, but I was surprised. I learned a couple more things! The pastry/ dessert chef taught me how to make a simple yet delicious dessert called “les roses des sables,” and I made and taste-tested a lot of those. Then, I also got to use the blowtorch to caramelize the top of some crème brûlée, and then try one. It was amazing, and nothing like anything I’ve ever tried before. I can honestly say, that I may love shopping and French food, but work is definitely what is making my time here amazing.

At St. Marguerite high school in the countryside of Tours.
The Bible Study in the evening with Les Navigateurs. It was really fun to talk to the college students!
The gratin I made by myself today at work! Strange thing to be proud of, but it was a milestone!
The Roses des sables I made today at Château Belmont. Super easy recipe, and if you don't think that being covered in chocolate is bad, I'd give it a try!
The epitome of French desserts- the crème brûlée. Today I learned how to caramelize the top, maybe tomorrow I'll learn how to make the whole thing! (Spoiler alert, I will)