Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't talk with your mouth full

You don't want to give the food a chance to escape.
I returned yesterday from a 15-day jaunt through Great Britain and France. I am not going to attempt to describe the whole trip in this blog post. I'm not even going to chronicle it for you like a story.
Instead, from now until I get tired of it or something else happens that I want to blog about, I'm going to write lists that will give you an idea of the adventure that life never ceases to be.
My mom, my sister and I went. My mom hasn't been to Europe in 30 years, my sister and I have never been. (Yes, I was born there; it only counts if I can remember it. Also, they went to these countries before I was born, so I hadn't actually been there.) So it was pretty much new for all of us.
We joked about how my mom took pictures of the countryside and would tell stories of the vistas, Rachel took pictures of columns and ceilings and would talk about art and architecture, and I took pictures of funny signs (Be careful of falling and hurting yourself in the healing pool) and would tell people about the food.

Heidi's list of favorite foods
  1. Brie souffle. I ate this French dish in Scotland. So delicious I wanted to keep tasting it through the 5-hour train ride.
  2. Crepes. Every day in France. Warm. Buttery. Filled with Nutella. What the angels eat in my idea of heaven.
  3. Butternut squash filled ravioli. I don't care that we went to England and then ate Italian. This pasta is what the Italians intended pasta to be.
  4. Rosemary and sea salt bread. It says a lot about the above pasta that I thought anything tasted good after this most amazing of floury, greasy, hot loaf of pure delight.
  5. Aligot. Mashed potatoes mixed with cheese and garlic. What's not to love?
  6. Pain au chocolat. You take a croissant, and you fill it with chocolate or chocolate chips. Necessity is the mother of invention, but cravings are the crazy favorite aunt.
  7. Meringue. I talked about this treat for a week. It's not like any meringue I've ever had here. We stopped at this little Scottish town and immediately found the bakery. (I may not have known which direction was north or south, what number to call in case of emergency or where the bathrooms are, but dang it, I find sweetshops.) They had this -- cookie seems far too mundane, treat too generic -- this perfect handful of tastiness: sweet cream generously sandwiched between two meringues. It was my favorite dessert until I met the crepes.
  8. Cheese. Brie makes even a grilled cheese sandwich gourmet. I could eat feta by the handful. Fondue. Hmmm. Foodgasm!
  9. Chocolate. Chocolates. Fudge. If I could choose my method of death, I would drown in precisely melted bittersweet chocolate.
  10. Chocolate biscuit cake. Thickened melted chocolate and butter cookies. Prince William had it for his groom's cake. It was my favorite part of the royal wedding, albeit belatedly.
  11. Chocolate mousse. It's basically melted chocolate and cream. Sounds like a perfect dessert, right? It is. You know what makes it better? When you finish and don't wish you had more. Think that's impossible, with such a perfect dessert? Wrong. We went to this French restaurant and people had raved about their chocolate mousse. I ordered it. The man set a bowl with about 10 servings of chocolate mousse in front of me. It was all for me.
    I did my darnedest. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough.
    My effort, that is. The mousse was flawless.

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