Thursday, 26 December 2013

French Christmas, Digital Christmas

The day before Christmas eve there were fireworks on the bastille. There was also a nativity scene in town, complete with a donkey and a goat...

On Christmas Eve morning I went to my Swedish friend's place to "help him" finish of his vegan mudcake with soyatoo cream. We drank a lot of coffee too, and I spoke with his aunt from Marseille (who was born in Algeria) and his gran, to whom the flat belongs. They were preparing a North African sweet made with peanut oil, flour and sugar, and molded into little balls.When my friend went to fill up the coffee I overheard his gran asking my name, and asking whether I would like to join in their family celebration that evening.

Christmas eve isn't really much of a big deal in the UK. Children get impatient about the next day, leave out food for Father Christmas and the reindeer, and perhaps watch a Christmas movie to get into the festive spirit. I wasn't really feeling it this year. I honestly just craved an unconventional Christmas with a few episodes of the walking dead, a curry and sleep. It turns out that in France, like in much of continental Europe, the 24th is pretty important. I of course seized the opportunity with a definite yes.

My mum and I then met for lunch, which was in an organic restaurant a little away from the centre, l'échelle de la grenouille. I orded l'assiette végétalienne, a colourful dish with a massive salad, lentils and smoked tofu, a slice of pumpkin tart, rice with ratatouille, cooked leeks, pumpkin puree and lentil soup. It was actually very filling but left me feeling quite clean and satisfied all afternoon. My mum had some fish dish. We shared the vegan chocolate brownie for pudding, with was very good. We walked home, stopping to buy a few last minute gifts. I watched the walking dead before heading out.

It was quite a full house that evening, the decorations and table layout was perfect. Each guest had been given some chocolate and some hyacinths. Champagne was flowing like water. We watched the two very cute and polite little girls open their presents, and after some time talking and drinking started eating. I can say that as vegans, what we were eating was actually quite moderate and healthy. We had lentil soup, followed by roast carrots, pumpkin, turnips and avocado sushi (whilst the others had salmon). The breaks between courses were pretty long. The next course was gratin made with onions, potatoes and soya cream. The others had sausages too. Next came the cheese-we continued to nibble on the baguette. The real treat was found at the end: chocolate sorbet, those little peanut sweets, mandarins and fresh pineapple. This meal ended at about 23.30, though we didn't leave until about 00.30.

Christmas day, I woke up way too early and so passed the time with the penultimate episode of season 3 of the walking dead. I then went to the boulangerie to buy some bread and a croissant, and we opened our stockings. The mosquito spray inside hinted that I was going to some hot country. Mysterious holiday turned out to be... Senegal and the Gambia! Heading there on the 12th January. I stole "someone's" recipe for roasted pumpkin and served it to my mum for brunch, watched the final episode of walking dead and slept all afternoon. We then went out for one of the most sickly meals ever, came back and watched a documentary about Senegal and went to bed. I skyped my dad, grandma, aunt, uncle and cousins in England, brothers in England, Saudi Arabia and America, boyfriend in Germany. I remember when this was the future.

Mamma eats fondue

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