Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Kingdom for Something Green

Regrettably I don't have a picture on hand of the bounty that is the open air market in Paris although I'm sure I've shown a few of them to you in the past. So imagine if you will, stall after stall of luscious salad greens, crispy peppers, carrots in every color, crunchy broccoli, and that's just in the dead of winter. Got that in your head? Good.

Now fast forward to the menu in a typical Parisian restaurant. First course choices: pâté de quelque chose, oysters, coquilles St. Jacques, smoked salmon, potato soup. Main course: a steak, a fish, rack of lamb, or some duck or rabbit, any of them accompanied by three tiny little green beans and potatoes in some form. Notice something? Yeah, what happened to all those vegetables?

I don't eat out a lot but when I do, I've been noticing this same pattern. Maybe there's a salad at lunch (although often it's heaped with meat) but otherwise, the veggies must all be in the witness protection program. Today, the highly rated restaurant where I met a group of ladies offered a complicated set of menu options but the bottom line was this: if you wanted to have the pasta for which the joint is known at a reasonable price, the only thing you could get to go with it was lobster soup or chocolate cake. No joke.

That salad I had for dinner with veggie pizza tasted awfully good.

12 comments:

Homéo said...

Et oui tous les restaurants français ne sont pas excellents, et si tu veux manger des légumes frais , il faut les cuisiner, c'est un peu ce que font l'ensemble des gens du pays dans lequel tu habites...
Le restaurant est un luxe que tous ne peuvent se permettre.

Suburban Princess said...

When I was in Paris a few years ago I noticed too there wasnt a veggie in sight!

ariana lamento said...

@Suburban P: glasses, maybe?

debbie in toronto said...

what about french green beans..they were on every plate that I remember....

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I agree, no vegetables in sight, unless you go to the market..!

Starman said...

Maybe you guys are going to the wrong restaurants

David said...

Ok, people.

1. Starman is right.

2. If you don't find vegetables these days, you should be happy, as it means that your restaurant is not buying imported food from the other side of the planet, which usually means not good (because vegetables don't travel well) or not very healthy (if they survived the trip, there's a good chance they're full of preservatives and/or are GMOs), in any case are not eco-friendly.

Peter (the other) said...

See, ya' gotta' ask a Frenchman (David)! The other day I overheard a woman at the grocery store (here in California) complaining to the management that the blueberries were from Chile. "Why do you not have Blueberries from this here U.S. of A?" And she was serious. I think to myself, in February, what is she thinking? I kind of miss the seasonality of food. Asparagus all year round seems somehow... surreal.

The last of my dear family who lived through the "hunger winter" in Holland during the war, pointed out, the other day, that (for her) meat is required to truly stifle her hunger. It could be that traditional winter cooking is more based around a scarcity of fresh vegetables.

Anne said...

You guys are kind of missing the point. There are lots of veggies on offer in the market including all manner of interesting root vegetables, appropriate for the season. Just none in the restaurants!

David said...

So back to point 1, Anne: you're not going to the right restaurants.

But to be fair, Paris being in the North of France (not mentioning not a great place to eat good French food, unless you're loaded) veggies are not a big part of the cuisine.
Gotta go where the real French cuisine is: Southern half.

Suburban Princess said...

I was in Paris for a short time...on holiday...I had no way to prep/cook/serve a veggie even if I did go to the market.

jonnifer said...

The wrong restaurants as in, the French ones.

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