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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Advice: The French Kitchen

When moving to France an American should be aware as to what exactly the French kitchen is.  I don't mean the cuisine nor the utensils- but there are so many differences between American and France... many aren't prepared and few talk about it.

When I first moved to France, Bri and I shared a 32 m2 apartment outside the city in the 7ème arrondissement.  For those on the imperial system- that's roughly 344 sq ft between two people.  The apartment was miniscule, but the kitchen was the worst part.  Not only was there no fridge, but there was no oven, there was no stove.  It was simply a counter with a sink attached.  We chose to save about 100 euro a month by going for the unequipped kitchen... but that meant we'd have to spent money to equip it.

Buying the Appliances
There are several places to go about buying a fridge or a hot plate- Planet Saturn is probably the cheapest.. we scored a mini fridge and a hot plate within the first month... and I never got used to it.  Mini fridges in the United States are for the downstairs living room- you know- the place you store your beers and cokes for visitors.  A hot plate is saved for people living in student housing, and here I was, cooking with my one induction burner and storing my food in a fridge that went to my knees.

Most people don't even own an oven; they are large, expensive and difficult to keep clean.  The common back up is the microwave/oven unit, which uses convection heat to bake things and can double as a normal microwave for others.  I am not a fan.  These things don't bake like an oven, my chickens are never crispy, my cookies take too long, quiches take 45 minutes.  The worse is how cheese, no matter what brand, never melts the way it should.  My lasagnas suddenly become mounds of pasta hidden under a plastic sheet of white cheese; no gooeyness.

Getting Lucky
In order to truly get lucky in the kitchen department you have to hunt.  Take my situation, when we finally moved back in September, we found out the girl moving from the apartment we wanted was going to London.  So I sneakily added, "Soo... what are you going to do with your kitchen?"  Over the next three weeks we negotiated until finally I bought her fridge, gas range and some other trinkets for the low price of 250e.  Now I have a fridge that is taller than me and FOUR burners.. so I can multi task.  The oven issue still remains.. but the rest is fabulous.

Just Remember
Moving to France is like moving to a whole new culture.. and in this case your big American ice-making fridge will shrink into a miniscule fridge... and that nice big oven that could crisp your turkeys.. well now it's a rotating convection oven that couldn't bake a whole turkey unless it was hacked into pieces.

1 comment:

  1. Love it. You have inspired me to do my own blog.


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