Thursday, November 23, 2006

Corn and Fish.

Another Thanksgiving spent miles away from the country that raised me on turkey, pumpkin pie and the joy of throwing around the ole pigskin on a brisk fall day in November. Of all holidays I think I find Thanksgiving the hardest to be away from family and friends back in the states.

This holiday to me is more important than all other holidays in America. Thanksgiving doesn’t take in account religion or race. It is a rare time in a vacation skint country where Americans get two full days off to spend time with their families, gorge themselves on good home cooking and relax.

It’s a time of year I find hard being so far away, but I’m making do with my own mini feast this Saturday with a stuffed turkey, green bean salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and thanks to the help of a charming colleague, pumpkin pie for dessert.

I’ve had to field a lot of questions from my British friends about this strange American tradition.

Brit: So do you give each other presents?

Me: No. We just eat a lot and watch American football on t.v.

Brit: So where does the tradition of thanksgiving actually come from?

Me: Well, they teach us in school about how the Pilgrims and the Indians came together for a big feast. The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and the Pilgrims taught the Indians how to fish.

Brit: I have a hard time believing the Indians still didn’t know how to fish at this point.

Me: Yeah, you’re right. I think it was more along the lines of the Indians taught the pilgrims how to grow corn by planting it with a fish.

Skeptic Brit: Uh huh….

Me: Well, I know there’s something to do with corn and fish and a big feast.

Brit: Ok.

Me: But of course in reality it was like hey Indian, show me how to plant corn. Thanks. Now here’s a musket in your face and a blanket of small pox. But yeah, pumpkin pie rocks.

So come to think of it, perhaps I don’t deserve to be over in the states for Turkey day

Check out my recollections of Thanksgiving pasts in last years past

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Food Glorious Food

As winter is creeping upon us I've been a busy little bee in the kitchen but somehow (as my friend the Southern Belle has pointed out) amidst all that cooking I forgot to blog.

Here are some of the dishes I made during my Internt hibernation.

This colourful salad was actually made by the Frenchie - it is one of his classics and tastes as lovely as it looks.

This was my first attempt at fried chicken and judging by the fact that Frenchie devoured all of it and then the next day told some of our friends that they should come over and have me cook them fried chicken all day I'm sure it will not be my last. There was also a chunky mushroom gravy to go with this dish, but the picture looks like fried chicken and mash smothered in baby poop so I decided not to post that one.

I picked up some Halibut at the fishmongers. Stuffed them with lemon slices, massaged a lemon pepper rub into them, wrapped them in tin foil with some leeks and sugar snap peas and a dash of white wine and threw them in the oven with a little water in a baking dish. Accompanied with wild rice. I loved this dish. Although next time I think I'll cook the sugar snap peas separately as they took on too much of the white wine flavour. And some of us had a hard time eating around the bones, but survived.

Stephane's favourite hangover cure. I'm not a big bean fan, but on this particularly fuzzy morning they hit the spot.

My usual roast chicken, nothing beats the classics.

Last night I made my dear friend S. Belle's winter soup. Unfortunately we gobbled it up so fast there is no photo, but I do have some in the freezer now so I'll try to produce a shot at some point. I had to substitute onions for leeks and rosemany for thyme, but the soup was delicious. And I loved the smell that baking squash produced in the house. I finally went out and bought a hand blender (which I've been wanting for ages) and tried it out on the soup. Between me and Stephane a lot of soup went on the walls of the kitchen, but we finally figured it out.

Sorry for the hiatus!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Magic Beans and Sunshine

The ankle is recovering nicely and thanks to everyone who wished for a speedy bipedal return. I am now sans crutches and sans bandage. Bruises are fading. My limp comes and goes as does the pain, but I am ever so thankfull to be mobile once more. I cannot wait to be able to run again. And we will even be attempting to play catch again with our super fast nerf football - although not in our hole-ridden back yard, but in the University park down the road.

I finally went to go see Little Miss Sunshine. I had been playing down my true feelings about this movie in order to not over hype it to friends and colleagues and have the movie not live up to my gushing praise. But I myself have had many a movie ruined for me by others this way so I decided, hey - fuck it. This movie is hands down the funniest movie I have ever seen. For the first time in my life I watched the credits roll in a darkened movie house with tears streaming down on my face - tears of laughter. I want to shrink the movie down in all its yellow honest goodness and carry it around in my pocket forever and ever.

So, as I recall, I had given a blurb about the New York leg of our trip and failed to mention Boston. Oh darling Boston - do not think it is because I love you less. I was wounded, remember? Wounded playing with the very football purchased in your fair city.

A quick rundown of our time in Beantown: First off the reason why I had not mentioned anything about this trip to NYC/Boston on my blog prior to departure is because mi madre had no idea we were going. She was wrought with guilt over the fact that she had abandoned her first born daughter in the middle of England never having visited her and yet had been to see her second child in her new Bostonian digs twice or thrice or something - a lot more than none is what I'm getting at here (you reading this Mom?)

The surprise was great as she had no idea and was impressed with the amount of people involved who had to keep our trans-atlantic voyage under wraps. We spent the weekend en famille - eating, walking, shopping etc. I only wish we could have had more time together.

After the parents left we had a fabulous greco-roman party chez Ondine with plenty of sexy togas, olives, dolmas, Ben Hur and impromptu cold readings of greek plays. Oh and copious amounts of red wine.

Stephane and I stayed in a beautiful B&B in Cambridge which had High Tea with a different type of cupcake everyday. There was a cute gray kitty that would occasionaly hang out in our room or join us on the patio while we tucked into breakfast.

There was a baseball game at Fenway park, a tour around the Museum of Natural History in Harvard, lobster, clams and oysters were consummed in the oldest restaurant in America, a certain Freedom trail was followed, and much drinking, eating and shopping.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another one bites the dust

So my view for the past day and a half has been this:

On monday night, while I was waiting for my photos to upload for my post on NYC, I asked Stephane if he'd like to go out in the garden and throw around the new nerf (american) football that we had bought in Boston. We played for about half an hour, me in the deep end making some spectacular catches which Stephane will back me up on. We then decided to switch sides. About 2 minutes into that I went running to catch the ball, my left foot fell into one of the many holes hidden in the field behind our house, my body went falling one way and my foot stayed planted in the hole.

A call to the ambulance later (with a very charming Stephane telling 999 that his "partnairs ahnkle his beeg, lahk a bubbal") Stephane finally got them to come over. Wheel chaired out of my house sucking on laughing gas for the pain.

Luckily one of my friends at the hospital is doing night shifts this week and so I had a friendly face take care of me, which made all the difference.

It started raining when we got home and I had to crawl through my front door with it pissing down on me and all the neighbors staring out their windows.

So If anyone has any pointers on walking with crutches let me know. I'm not very good at it.

On the plus side, my arms and back will get super toned from having to get up and down stairs on my butt.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Martinis to Cheetos and everything inbetween

Our recent trip to the states started with an incredible cheese burger and a martini at our friend, the ever fabulous Miss O’s swanky local pub in Brookline, Massachusetts and ended with a much coveted bag of orange finger inducing Cheetos at Gate B36 at Logan Airport.

What? You went to America and didn’t tell us? Yes. Sorry for the secrecy but this trip was on a need know basis, as my Mama had no idea we were going stateside to see her for a transatlantic Birthday surprise. It worked like a charm.

And since you have all been so patient while I have been away – excluding those of you that send me threatening emails to write more often or pay the consequences – I will treat you to a long overdue Lauren photo-story.

We arrived in Boston for a single night, graciously put up by Miss O . Fell in love with her neighbourhood and apartment, which is impressive considering we were jet lagged and smelly, which is not a good state to fall in love with anything or anyone.

We then took the cheap (in every sense of the word) Fung Wah bus to New York City where we were picked up by the generous and patient Beau of my favourite jersey girl, Danielle . Dinner in Little Italy and a short walk to work off the copious amounts of pasta consumed.

Danielle, her Beau and her scrumptious dog Audrey (who is NOT a fan of BeyoncĂ©’s new single in case you were thinking of getting her the album for her birthday) housed us for our short week in the Big Apple. I'll let the photos do the talking.

Despite having already been in NYC for a day and a half, this is the first photo we took. T. Rex in Toys R Us in Time Square.

A quick snap at Time Square.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to leave you in suspense. I was hoping to put up all my NYC photos tonight, but either a slow connection or a Blogger bug is causing my photos to take way too long to update. I'll update as soon as

Thursday, August 03, 2006

On top of spaghetti

This week's roundtable is a tasty delight thanks to the sexy Sereena

She discusses the food pyramid that is for all intents and purposes defunct, and takes it upon herself to start a new pyramid. But she needs your help.

Stop my Metaphor Dummy and tell Sereena what you think should be on the New and Improved Food Pyramid

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

You may call me Rose.

Last night's quiz. We didn't win, but that's besides the point. The point is I out Englished the English.

The question was: Which English Football team's name starts with five consecutive consonants? And among the 6 or so English men ( plus a couple football loving foreigners) the only person who got the question right was the American girl sitting in the corner.

I have now been officially dubbed an English lass.

And it looks like I'll be supporting Crystal Palace from now on, so the fun stops there.

I also discovered the joys of shandy just to complete my transformation into a true English lass. What pure joy to be drinking what appears to the naked eye as pints of bitter from 5pm to 11pm straight and to leave the pub speaking with eloquence and perfect articulation (albeit a bit quickly given all the sugar from the lemonade) and then to wake up sans hangover in the morning.

Our local's beer festival is on until Saturday though, so I won't be tainting all these delicious brews with soda pop.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You don't look a day under 124

Atul discusses the idea of living longer for this week's roundtable. If you live until 200 years old say, would you want to? Having to remember all those grandchildren's, great grandchildren's, great great grandchildren's birthdays. Stop on by Things I've Noticed and discuss.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Money, Money, Money... it's a rich man's world.

Thanks to our darling chief roundtabler RW I now have way too many songs about money running through my head. RW wants to be rich. So start sending him cheques in the mail so that he can be happy. How much money would YOU be satisfied with?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Roundtable MIA

So between going to LA to see family, recovering over jetlag, going to London on business, staying too late in the pub and mourning the loss of France I have been a completely terrible Roundtabler.

Which is really a shame because there have been some fabulous posts out there.

Take a gander at the following sites (or hell - go visit all of the Roundtablers on my sidebar, because they are all witty, intuitive, charming, prolific bloggers and deserve to be read as often and as rigorously as possible ( - do ya'll forgive me now?)


discusses whether you are perhaps too old to rock and roll even if you are too young to die


discusses why she can't handle these cutesy, obnoxious, demanding children (yes that's right - she's a pickin' on the youngins), you know, the ones you see in Welche's Grape Juice commercial

SK Waller

talks about the exciting emotional pull of an airport, the coming and going, hussle and bussle, the great people watching... a post after my own heart

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Allez The Blues

It is important to be reminded that our heroes are only human.

And we were reminded by our English friends that it is a great honor to see your country win the world cup, as many people will never get the chance to see it in their life times. So I shall hold on to 1998 to help wash down the bitter taste and look on to 2010

Here I am with hope and pride still running through me, minutes before the game, drinking Pastis and predicting our second world cup win.

And here we are wearing sunglasses to hide our tears. Ok, I'm wearing sunglasses to hide my tears, I'm a tad more emotional than my other half.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Allez les Bleus!!!!!

So I'm back from L.A. It was short but fabulous. Starting with sushi and pedicures and ending with a relaxed and charming celebration of the addition of two kind, intelligent, beautiful women into the clan, as well as the happiest little baby ever.

Flying over the United States

I've missed out on two roundtables in my absence.... and promis to catch up soon. HOWEVER, I am now off to the pub to watch France play in the World Cup final. With every game I fall more and more in love with Zinedine Zidane. He is arguably the best player of his generation and besides being taken away by unbelievable sexiness and physical prowess, I am so honored to see him play in his last ever World Cup match.

Zizou - je t'adore. Allez les Bleus!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hollywood here I come

So I'm flying to Los Angeles tomorrow to watch France v Brazil and England v Portugal. Ok, that is not why I'm flying to LA at all, it's more of a fabulous family reunion with new wives and new babies. I was hoping to wake up earlier and give you all a long post before I leave, but sleep is sweet and deep and not nearly as seductive as you.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I leave you with this photo till tomorrow... (Willy S. ain't got nothin' on me)

Sipping champagne in the Johnson Arms beer garden for a belated celebration of my birthday after the first England match.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We may not be in the World Cup anymore, but at least we're good at making you hate us

A very excellent Roundtable post over at Hairshirt discussing how America is so good at making the rest of the world hate them and some tips on how to improve upon this worldly hatred.

Don't agree? Think America is the bomb-diggity and deserves every man, woman and child's utmost respect? Go on over and tell him. I'm sure Joe will make you feel right at home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yeah, I still got it.

I was asked out on a date last night, and while I’m sure this is no big news to you sexy singletons out there, it was huge for me. I’ve been with the same guy for nearly 4 years now, so it’s safe to say my dating scene has been limited (to one great man). Everyone new that I have met in the past 3 or so years hasn’t met me as Lauren, but as Lauren plus 1, Lauren and her French man, LaurenandStephane.

I didn’t even catch his name, but he was a Norwegian man nearly as wide as he was tall who had come down to the pub to cheer England on at beating the Swedes. After briefly being introduced, him trying to repeatedly catch my eye across the crowded pub and then unsuccessfully trying to buy me a drink, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found myself sitting with my partner on my right and a Nordic stranger on my left asking me if I was free tomorrow night. It just never occurred to me that he wouldn’t know that I was with Stephane. He generously accepted the fact that I was taken, told me I was with the wrong man, but hoped he treated me well.

God it felt good.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Roundtable: Concert Firsts

Unlike hearing about what someone dreamt last night and dissecting its symbolism or sitting around talking about other people’s dead pets for hours on end I really love hearing about people’s first concert.

The first concert a person attended can tell you more in a few sentences than a poorly construed autobiography could do in months. One’s first concert marks a moment, a period in time, a fad that dates them, dates their parents or older sibling and is often a telling insight into their awkward pre-teen years.

Often the person was dragged to a concert by their parents, which explains a lot about their upbringing. Did their mom drag them to see Neil Sedaka? Or perhaps their father took them to an open-air Cream gig because he couldn’t afford tickets and a babysitter. Notice the completely different feelings these two sentences give. Cookie cutter kook or far-out rebellion on a dime.

Occasionally you hear of the person who went to some concert with their older brother or sister because their parents forced Bill to take little Johnny along with him and his friends so they could have a night to themselves. I always envied these people, as I don’t have an older sibling of my own. They got the chance to go to shows like Blondie, Madonna in her black lace fingerless gloves phase, Twisted Sister. They felt left out by being the tag-a-long little sibling at the time, but somewhere deep down inside they knew that this night would make them that much cooler for the rest of their lives.

Then you have the people who chose the concert all on their own. The actual age of the concertgoer at the time is crucial for this story – it indicates whether they had strict parents or not or whether they were late bloomers. Usually the concert that is actually chosen by the person happens around the awkward pre-teen years. These are the years when good taste has been often abandoned for any popular trend. Debbie Gibson and Tiffany spring to mind.

Technically my first concert was Joni Mitchell somewhere in California. I was four years old, taken there by my parents. My only memory of it is dancing on a hilltop in a sunflower dress while hippies clapped me along. If my parents hadn’t divorced I think there would have been a lot more of these concerts in my upbringing.

My first actual chosen concert was when I was 13 (a late bloomer in my eyes) to see Bob Dylan play at the Riviera in Chicago for my birthday. It was me, two friends and my mom. I felt kind of lame for having my mom there, especially when she refused to pass along an incense stick that was making the rounds through the crowd as if it were some kind of a drug, but I never would have had the guts to go without her.

I wonder if the fact that I chose Bob Dylan shows that I have a vintage philosopher’s soul – more likely it simply shows that the kids I thought were in cool in junior high were into our parent’s music, and with gusto.

What does your first concert say about you? Trendy teenybopper with a laidback upbringing? Late bloomer with a penchant for the oldies?

As I was scanning over the crowd at the Gomez concert last night (who kicked ass by the way) I tried to discern who were the young first time concertgoers. Which of these kids belonged to the tight-lipped parents standing against the wall hoping their child doesn’t get swallowed into the mass of bobbing heads and plastic cups filled with beer.

And what will people think of them when they say: “My first concert? It was Gomez in a dive bar in Sheffield in 2006”

Monday, June 12, 2006

Better late than never

If you haven't already gone over to Donny B's Blog for last week's roundtable do so with a stiff drink in your hand - and make it a double. Donny is discussing X-Tina and Paris Hilton, their musical chops or lack their of and the disgusting fact that Paris Hilton is still in the media.

I had the unfortunate experience of downloading Paris' song (for the sake of the Roundtable, people, not on my own volition) and it somehow repeated itself 3 times into my iTunes.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Designer paper towels, France, and a pub quiz = this post

Something a bit more lighthearted since last weeks brain scratcher, Serenade in green discusses the merits of some fancy paper towels to add some colour to your kitchen. Go on over and tell us what kind of paper towels you prefer...

I know I've been a long time coming with a new post, and you're going to have to wait even longer as I am off to the south of France - Millau to be exact - for a wedding.

But just so you don't feel that I'm leaving you empty handed for the next four days, here are the recent photos from last Tuesday's pub quiz (which we managed to win despite our bismal score of 22 out of 34). I have so many posts and fun weekends to share rattling around in my brain and my hard drive. Soon, I promise.

Is this a face that would lie to you? Perhaps. But it is the face of a quiz winner ladies and gentlemen

Remnants of a quiz...

Two very sexy women if I do say so myself

Even lying down, Stephane manages to be the life of the pub ...

... and his other half ain't too bad either

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Does this mean I have penis envy?

The results from my Freud test - because dead crazy cokeheads have all the answers

Freudian Inventory Results
Oral (53%) you appear to have a good balance of independence and interdependence knowing when to accept help and when to do things on your own.
Anal (23%) you appear to be overly lacking in self control and organization, and possibly have a compulsive need to defy authority. If you are too scatterbrained, you will not develop much as a person as you will habitually switch paths before you ever learn anything.
Phallic (83%) you appear to have issues with controlling your sexual desires and possibly fidelity.
Latency (66%) you appear to be afraid or averse to present or future real world responsibilities, this will only make your inevitable transition more difficult, so learn to deal with the real world.
Genital (66%) you appear to have a progressive and openminded outlook on life unbeholden to regressive forces like traditional authority and convention.
Take Free Freudian Inventory Test
personality tests by

Hmmm - not such good news for the boyfriend. Although I'm surprised there's not as much Oral given my thumb sucking issues.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's the end of the world as we know it

Sereena hosts this week's roundtable with another excellent question: The world is going to end in seven days - what are you going to do?

Stop on over and give us the details of your last week on earth. And next time you see me, remind me to tell you my "end of the world" joke - best told in person.

My own private zoo

Last night having a cigarette in my garden, doing my best not to crush snails, I could have sworn there was a small black animal crouching at the back. I kept staring at it as it seemed to change shapes in the shadows. I then realised it was just a tuft of grass and that my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Just as I decide that an animal spotting will not occur tonight, a sly skinny little guy comes darting across the lawn and stops to stare at me. Our first fox. We shared a moment as he stared me down - the wild one and the domestic. He then darted on into the woods.

Is it too much to call him Robin?

We already have Hilbert the hedgehog, and our pigeon couple, Billy and The Kid. If we continue like this I'll have to start naming all the maggots that live in my garbage can. Baby fly #1, Baby fly #2...

Monday, May 22, 2006

We'll always have Paris

I'm going through the same torn feelings as my dahling friend Miss O upon leaving Paris all over again. Part of me knows that Nottingham is a really good place for me right now, but it is hard to listen to that voice when it's being drowned out by the drunken singing of my friends, the sound of stylish French heels on cobble stone streets or the simple clink of your spoon against a porcelain espresso cup.

This city has become a part of me in more ways than one. It has seen me grow from an ignorant American girl into a self-confident woman. It saw me when I first became financially independent from my Mother. It has seen me through the rocky, exciting beginnings of the biggest love of my life.

We spent the days walking around the left bank and islands. Purchased some jewellery on Ile St. Louis, got kicked out of the jardin behind Notre Dame due to a gusty wind that would put Chicago to shame. The nights of course were used up by vodka and old friends. So much gossip to catch up on in 6 months - people leaving, people changing jobs, getting married, having babies, cheating on their wives.

Everyone asked me when Stephane and I are going to move back. We'll eventually return to Paris. Be it in 2 years or 20. I'm not worried about Paris changing - I'm worried that we will be different. But perhaps that's a good thing.

Shopping on Ile-St-Louis

Me and the girls in The Fifth Bar. Behaving ourselves...for the photo at least.

The Newlyweds

Our Frenchmen

Stephane and the new Shebeen team.

Rock on.