Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fat and happy in the Christmas capital

I really suck at this whole blogging thing, but one of my New Year's resolutions is going to be to update more often. Life is still good in Strasbourg....I have GREAT friends, funny students, and I eat a lot of delicious food. :)

For this blog post I'm trying out a new thing...a TOPIC. I usually just give a rundown of recent events. Today's topic is FOOD, because it's the best thing ever and because many of the good times I have here are related somehow to food. Basically I'm attempting to disguise my rundown of recent events by naming something I ate at each said event. I'm going to use photos stolen from my friends because I have no camera at the moment (cry) and they take better photos anyway.

this picture isn't of food, but there was lots...I promise!
Photo c/o JACY, who is amazing btw.

There is no better way to start out this topic than with the most foodtastic of holidays, Turkey Day! I taught my students about Thanksgiving, focusing more on turkey, football, and Black Friday than Pilgrims and Indians. Most of my students are 16-22 year old boys, so I try to appeal to their interests. Since the other assistants and I obviously couldn't be home for the holiday, we celebrated Assistant Thanksgiving chez Harris and his French roommates. Everyone brought a different dish (I roasted a ton of vegetables--boring I know) and it was fun to share an American holiday with our British/Australian/French/German/Mexican/etc friends. We ate a ton, drank just as much, played catchphrase, and sang and danced along to American music. While I missed my family in the US on Thanksgiving, I had a great time with my big, happy, dysfunctional assistant "family". In fact, I'd say this was my best Thanksgiving ever!!

Eating crepes with Anne! From whom I stole this picture.
She is fantastic and Australian.
Everything I know about budgy smugglers I learned from her ;)

The beginning of December marked the beginning of the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, which is called the Christmas Capital of Europe. Impressive, non? I visited the Christmas markets several times throughout the month, but never really to shop. If you're into Christmas tchotchkes or stork hats, you should def shop there. I'm not, so mostly just go to the Christmas market to eat! I had: baguette flambee (both gratinee (with cheese) and chevre (with goat cheese)), a cheese crepe, a salted butter caramel crepe, a chocolate puff thing with cream inside, and endless cups of vin chaud. (Note: I did not eat all of that on the same day. But I probably could have). Oh, also TONS of free cookie samples at the Bredele tent. 

with the remains of our fish on a stick!
stolen from the lovely AMY!

On the last weekend before our sad separation (for Christmas vacation), a big group of us traveled to Stuttgart to check out the Christmas markets there and have a big ol' sleepover at Chrissy's house. It was adorable. We also visited the medieval market in the nearby town of Esslingen. I feel very disloyal admitting it, but I thought the German markets were MUCH better than ours in Strasbourg. The food was amazing, the junk in the booths was WAY cooler, and the medieval market had performers in costumes. In Germany, I tried: currywurst, potato pancakes with applesauce, chocolate-dipped fruit on a stick, roasted pig and sauerkraut, donuts with apple filling, roasted nuts, and steckerlfish on a stick. And tons of gluhwein, some of which was flavored with amaretto or eggnog-like with whipped cream. After all of that, we came home and ate amazing black bean soup that Chrissy's mom made....which was probably the best thing we ate all weekend. We also introduced the Brits and Anne the Australian to Apples to Apples and MASH. A very successful weekend thanks to Chrissy and her family!!

We love balls!! Photo stolen from Anne again, who
is a card-carrying member of the IKEA Family :)

And to top off my food-related experiences, it's about time I mentioned our weekly pilgrimmages to IKEA. Yes, I eat dinner at IKEA every Tuesday night. Half-price meatball night has become a ritual...we meet at the same time, same place every week and ride the free IKEA navette to our blue-and-gold Swedish second home. We go so consistently that the employees recognize us, and I'm pretty sure they make extra boulettes for us. I always split with my friend Leah, and we have our routine down to a science. For less than 3 euros I get a good meal with even better company! Plus, I can knock out any home-goods shopping I need to do while I'm there :)

It's probably pathetically obvious, but I am currently in Strasbourg (nearly) alone and missing my friends like crazy!!! My mom just left after being here with me for a week. I loved showing her around my beautiful city. Now it's CHRISTMAS and I'm more than ready for everyone to be back. I'm spending the day hanging out (and eating and drinking, I'm sure) with my friend and fellow assistant Jennifer, enjoying a white Christmas!! JOYEUX NOEL TOUT LE MONDE!!