It’s been three weeks since France implemented a second lockdown. Not that I’m counting. The lockdown is planned to end on December 1, but all indicators point that this will not actually happen. We initially mentioned how we planned to spend our time in the second lockdown. What we are actually doing may surprise you. Read all the way to the end!
PLAN 1: WATCH COLLEGE FOOTBALL
We watched football, all right. Enough football to see Georgia lose to Florida and Clemson lose to Notre Dame. Maybe we jinxed our teams by staying up to watch them. All I know is that Georgia is playing at 1:30 am for the next two weekends, and I will not be staying up to watch!
PLAN 2: TRY NEW DUTCH OVEN RECIPES
Jordan and I expanded this goal to include making all different types of French cuisine. The first menu item that we made was Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon recipe. (If you click the link, it’s not one of those recipe pages where you have to first scroll through a story of the writer’s first cat for five minutes to see the recipe. It’s a page last updated in 2009, so before all the ad nonsense!) Beef Bourguignon is kind of like a pot roast, but with an entire bottle of red wine! And not just red cooking wine, the good kind.
Beef Bourguignon originates from the Burgundy region of France, not too far from Lyon. Slow cooking became a popular method of cooking in the Burgundy region. This method helped turn tough cuts of meat into tender dishes. And viola! Beef bourguignon was created! Now, it’s an iconic dish of the region. On our trip to Dijon in the summer, Jordan had the plate for the first time and fell in love! We knew we had to try it again as the weather became colder.
I took the lead to prepare the dish and followed Julia Child’s recipe exactly. All the way down to meticulously cooking pearled onions for 45 minutes on the stove! The dish is traditionally served with boiled potatoes or butter noodles, but we opted for something simpler. A baguette! It was the best way to scoop up all the remaining sauce in our bowls.
But, there wasn’t much sauce. While the dish was delicious, we either cooked it for too long or on too high of heat. There wasn’t much sauce for scooping! Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make it again. Darn.
The next dish that we experimented with making was Gratin Dauphinois. This is basically scalloped potatoes. The dish originates from the south-eastern region of Dauphiné and is made with potatoes, milk, and cream. We decided to go to the market instead of the grocery store to purchase our supplies. It would be an excellent way to practice our French and also skirt the 1km radius rule.
The market was packed with people shopping at various stalls on either side of the walkway. It almost didn’t feel like we were in lockdown at all with the number of people out. But, the French love their markets. And we love being outside of our apartment! I went to a stall and purchased potatoes and garlic, while Jordan bought a fresh rotisserie chicken. A scoop of juice was added to the rotisserie chicken bag for extra flavor. Yum!
The chicken and the gratin dauphinois were delicious, especially with a little Franks Red Hot Sauce added (found in the grocery store’s international section!).
The next dish that we are preparing to make will be fondue. We had such a fun time over various weekends in the French and Swiss alps trying different fondue variations, that we bought our own fondue pot. We will be going back to the market this weekend to buy local cheeses to make our first fondue. Stay tuned for an update on this, as it may just end up being our Thanksgiving meal!
PLAN 3: DRINK LOCAL WINE ON OUR BALCONY
We are absolutely enjoying local wine and are enjoying our balcony, just not at the same time. Mostly because it is dark outside by 5:30 pm, and somehow the mosquitos can still find us on the top floor of a building. We are starting to take photos of the wine bottles we like the most and will eventually share them here. They are all French wines, and we are becoming quite the experts. We can tell you all about the flavors, aromas, tannins, and the best meals to pair them with. Because this is all written right on the back of the bottle!
IS THAT REALLY ALL WE ARE DOING?
Not quite. It has actually been pretty busy in the Shane household. We do spend our time doing the above things during lockdown, but we are doing a little more during the week. Here’s a couple of “easter eggs” that I’ve planted in our previous posts.
In our post on our spontaneous trip to Switzerland, I mentioned that we ended up taking a week-long trip instead of just a couple of days off like we originally planned. We drank bubbly to celebrate the end of our vacation, but were we celebrating anything else? And why did we take a week-long trip at the last minute?
In our post on the second lockdown, I mentioned how we had to go to IKEA to purchase a desk. Jordan would be working from home (called tele-travail in France), but is he the one who would need the desk?
The desk is for me, we were celebrating me, and the boxes are for me! Because…
I STARTED A NEW JOB!
And no, it’s not a job as a full-time blogger.
I’m so excited to announce that I started a full-time job with a large, multi-national company on November 2. I’m three weeks in and have loved every minute of it. I’ll be focusing on people analytics, which I am most passionate about. The best part: the company is based in the US, and I’ll continue working for them when we move back home. Starting a new job is not a bad way to spend time in lockdown!
Jordan had previously bought a bottle of champagne to keep in the fridge, chilling and ready until I received a job offer. As soon as he walked in from work, I ran to the fridge! It was finally time to bottle to pop and celebrate.
But, I had to call and tell someone the news before he came home. So I Facetimed my parents immediately after receiving the job offer. My parents were enjoying breakfast at Cracker Barrel when they answered and propped the phone up at the table to chat. The waitress came by to fill up their coffee mugs, and my mom told her the great news. She cheered as she said her congratulations to me, and it felt so good to share good news.
Jordan and I rearranged our apartment to accommodate both of us working from home. We have a third bedroom which we were using as our “dressing room.” It is the apartment’s smallest room but has a full bathroom (a shower and a toilet… so rare to have in the same room in France!). The apartment layout makes no sense, but it was a perfect room to keep both of our dressers in. We moved Jordan’s dresser to the guest room because, ironically, this is where his closet is (my closet is in the living room).
The vacancy of Jordan’s dresser opened up a perfect office nook for me in our third bedroom. Since Jordan is only working from home until after lockdown, he set up temporarily at our kitchen table. He wheeled home his computer chair, docking station, and monitor to get comfortable.
Life has a funny way of working out sometimes. And honestly, this is a better outcome than I could have ever imagined.
Don’t worry, I’ll continue blogging about our experiences living abroad, but now I won’t have to stress about making my first dollar! By the way, I’m now up to $1.19.