You know you’re in France when…

This morning I headed out for the weekly shopping, but this time its was a little different because I was shopping for one teen. Mr French’s son is graduating from Columbia Law School, which is pretty amazing for anyone, but even more amazing for a French kid, so he and I are headed to NYC for a week of celebration.

The Bug will be staying with friends, but E is an adult now and I wanted her to taste a bit of what that means, so she’ll be flat sitting for us. My first stop this morning was the butcher. It is one of the first hot days of spring, so I ordered carpaccio for dinner. I love that the local butchers sell pre-sliced, already plated carpaccio. I then asked for a steak or two that would be appropriate for freezing. What froze was my butcher’s expression. I had made a major faux pas. A false step.

“I know,” I back pedaled, “its almost criminal to freeze…” I stalled with a delicate uhm…  as I read the information card on his showcase, telling me the name of the cow that had been slaughtered to become my steak, “Blanche.”

Oui. It is obvious, you only have to come by more often. You live around the corner. It is not complicted.”

“Yes, I know, but I am leaving for a week and my teen will be home alone and she will be preparing for her BAC.”

Monsieur the Butcher unthawed immediately. The BAC is the French baccalauréat. It is a series of major exams taken at the end of one’s high school career and the results can be the determining factor for one’s entire future. No pressure there, as your average 17 year old is desperately trying to tame those hormones raging through their body.

Effectivement, she’ll be needing to eat plenty of meat. Absolutely. I’ll tell you what. Tell her to pass by here after school each day and I’ll prepare something special. Something easy. She won’t have to worry about a thing. Just give me your name and I’ll keep a tab for you.”

You know you are in France when; there is an information card with a photo and the name of the cow you are about to purchase in the form of a steak, you have a butcher, your butcher is so against the idea of you freezing his meat that he is willing to set up a running tab for a client who has been in his shop exactly four times in the last six months. Yes, we are definitely in France.

And it is time I started thinking more like a French mom; I rounded up my caddie, swallowed my guilt and headed home to tell E that she would have to do her own grocery shopping for the week. Mom was clicking her red ruby slippers and heading “home” for the non-holidays.

 My Butcher


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