we've been eating pretty well here, whether from our own slowly developing culinary skills or from eating out, despite a few bumps in the road to our stomach. thanks to all, by the way, who have contributed recipes. i've made quite a few of them and they've made us happy and full.
now that the weather is getting warmer, all the cream and butter, bread and chocolate, wine and undercooked meat that are so beloved by the french (and now us) are starting to feel heavy. all the mental and physical sluggishness of winter needs to be sloughed off. the crocus bulbs that i planted in a window box when we arrived are beginning to bloom. they say, "the spirit is in need of renewal!" in their flower language. they urge me to clarify and purify. and they push a radical diet transformation. they tell me that we'll call it the 10 day cleanse. no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, no meat, no caffeine, no alcohol. add some daily yoga and meditation, candle-lit essential oil baths, and a massage from the significant other and we have a diy home spa retreat, "nestled in the south of france." hurry! for a limited time only!
i was vegetarian for a couple years in high school, having gotten bitten by the animal rights bug. then dropped the stringency and started eating chicken and fish occasionally, and this pseudo-vegetarian diet was with me for almost a decade, that is, until i met seth. i won't blame him wholly; it was about the same time that many of my previously vegetarian and pseudo-vegetarian friends started reverting back to omnivores (ironically, about the same time we moved to portland, one of the most vegetarian friendly places in the western world). i will say that having never been a vegetarian, seth didn't attach any special importance to eating a steak or italian sausage. it was natural to him, guilt-free. it might sound strange, but having only dated the vegetal variety, being so comfortable around someone who is so comfortable about eating meat, naturally transformed me in into a meat eater once again.
i'm now on my fourth day of my cleanse and my diet has thus far included: cooked buckwheat, pumpernickel bread, spelt almond and sesame cookies, kasha pasta with mediterranean galettes vegetal (flat vegetable and whole grain cakes) and olive tomato sauce, apple and prune compote, pears, strawberries, pineapple juice, rice milk, hazlenut & almond rice dessert, tofu and pepper stir fry with brown rice, chickpea and tomato curry with red rice, herbed spinach with carrots, green vegetable soup, rye crackers and rice cakes with curried vegetable pate, herbal teas, and lots of filtered water.
some of these things were bought at the local health food stores and organic co-op. i was happy to find out that they exist here too, in almost the same configuration as they do in the states, and with almost the same patrons. now, one doesn't need a natural foods store to do a cleanse. you can be even more basic about it - just fruit and vegetables and whole rice. you can make it about eating humbly. or you can eat all raw food, or go a step further and do a juice fast. the idea for me was to invert my ordinary dietary patterns, thus altering my daily choices and considering ones that i take for granted.
so far i'm keeping the cravings under control; my self-discipline is intact. but i'm curious as to when exactly i'm going to begin dreaming of cheese wheels and baguettes.
our next door neighbors are in their 60s and pretty well-to-do. we don't see them that often; mostly we just hear when their dinner parties let out and the stairway reverbs with the boistrous end of conversations and bonne soirées. from our crow's nest windows we caught sight of the guests in the street leaving tonight's episode. nice suits and eveningwear. clean cut silver hair. real classy. i was a little sad because i realised that even in our heyday we threw way fewer parties than these guys do now. oh well.
it's almost midnight now, on a friday night. that means in exactly one hour there's going to be tons of loud singing drunk people walking below our window. you can set your watch and calendar by it. "hey, it's thursday!" "must be 1am!" to the minute accuracy. there's a second wave at 4am thursday through saturday of folks that somehow know the right people or the right places. and usually a couple stragglers now and again until 7 or 8.
makes me feel like a real square every time. they seem to be having so much fun. we were never allowed to sing in public in the states! and with my working hours being everyone else's partying hours i get a seussian grinchy attitude peering down on the whoville frolickers.
so anyway, the image. maybe it's offensive to some of you but i get a kick out of it. a german art project idea "aimed at" helping to clean up cities. it's a life-sized iconic ceramic tree that could be planted variously around urban areas. it's got a small trough at the bottom that drains into the sewer. use the canine part of your brain and you'll catch right on. some things about europe really are awesomer.