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Yummy Muffins

Yummy Muffins

Do you know why I’m not a per­fect woman? No, it’s not—only—because I like muffins (a lot). It’s a much deeper secret. Still don’t know?

Let me put in sim­ply. I’m French. And I’m a lousy cook.

Hey, hey, don’t put all the blame on me! Have you ever tried gro­cery shop­ping in a for­eign world? First, there’s the vocab­u­lary. French love their Crème Fraîche and I know quite a few recipes with it. I looked for “Fresh Cream’ for days, till some kind soul directed me to the sour cream aisle. How was I sup­posed to know “fresh” was “sour” here?

Then, the not-so-metric sys­tem. A pound of pota­toes. Sure, how many kilos is that? Yep, “they got the met­ric sys­tem. They wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quar­ter Pounder is… “. And I have to cook my pizza for 26 min­utes, oven to 450º Fahren­heit. What­ever that is. Cana­di­ans use both met­ric and impe­r­ial sys­tems (some­times even in the same sen­tence). I miss by miles (ah ah!) most of time… “Well, a Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it le Big-Mac”

Finally, even if I could find the same ingre­di­ents, they wouldn’t be the same. I sobbed over cakes fail­ing to rise, botched by Cana­dian flour, I cried over some bread I bought which went hard as a rock the next day and may­on­naise… may­on­naise isn’t just the same.

No wor­ries, we won’t starve. After all, this is North Amer­ica, the land of plenty blah blah blah. Food is every­where, even if you’re not hungry.

Fast food, for a start. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, A&W etc. etc. Names, just names. I tried them all. I felt that I had to, just to over­come years of French brain­wash­ing about fast food which destroy the food indus­try, kill inno­cent ani­mals like rats and slave young peo­ple like me. Ver­dict? The food is gross, the French were right. The gross­est of all prob­a­bly being KFC, which made me avoid all chicken prod­ucts for sev­eral weeks after buy­ing one of their meals. Who enjoys eat­ing deep fried food out of a greasy bucket? This is beyond my under­stand­ing. While my diet isn’t prob­a­bly the best at times, it is also beyond my under­stand­ing why peo­ple keep on buy­ing bev­er­age they can swim in, and food that give them instant heart-attacks. Can’t you feel your arter­ies beg­ging for mercy, clog­ging as you swal­low a triple bacon-cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme dough­nut? No? Well, you should.

For­tu­nately, most of the fast-food extrav­a­ganza is US only. We, in Canada, just hang out at Tim­mies. What, you don’t know Tim Hor­tons? The great Cana­dian cul­tural fix­ture? Tim Horton’s, which sells brown water (= burn­ing hot cof­fee) and pas­tries (that is donuts, donuts’ dough dubbed as “Tim bits”, left-over donuts etc.). Tim Horton’s can be found just about any­where: air­ports, down­town, sub­urbs, gas sta­tions… Frankly, I’m sur­prised I don’t have a Tim Horton’s in my kitchen yet. If you don’t have a Tim Horton’s in your town, it means the fed­eral gov­ern­ment secretly sold you to the USA. But no mat­ter how many Tim Horton’s we have, there’s always a huge line-up, both inside the store and at the drive-through, where peo­ple qui­etly (after all, we’re Cana­di­ans) wait for their “double-double” and sour cream glazed tim­bits. Cana­dian crack, I’m telling ya.

But since I work full-time in a very respectable indus­try (I whip stu­dents with a lash to make them learn French, if you won­dered), I can now afford restau­rants. Proper ones.

Canada, like many Eng­lish coun­tries, hap­pily acknowl­edges that it doesn’t really have a cui­sine and wel­comes immi­grants in order to have nice restau­rants. There­fore, we’re more likely to eat Ital­ian, Chi­nese, Viet­namese, Thai, Greek, Lebanese, Russ­ian, Mediter­ranean, Mex­i­can, Japan­ese, Indian, French etc. food than pou­tine. Lucky us! Restau­rants are usu­ally pretty afford­able, plus you improve your for­eign vocab­u­lary at the same time.

But they are times when I have to cook, and frankly, it’s not as bad as a French-Italian like me could have thought. Canada has some great ingre­di­ents, like maple syrup, a nice sweet­ener for yogurt or a spread for pan­cakes and bread. The bacon is usu­ally pretty tasty (that’s one thing France doesn’t have… only thing avail­able is lar­don) and Cana­dian cheese are well worth a try. The salmon is great and pretty cheap, and so is the smoked meat. A bagel is bet­ter than a baguette. And I’ll kill for a but­ter tart or sugar pie (yes it’s a sweet as it sounds).

Moi, betray­ing French cui­sine? Oh well. Between us, I’ve never been a fan of the 30€ plate with three green beans and a piece of meat the size of my thumb.

26 comments

  1. For a moment back there I thought this post was going to be about the early 1970’s out­put of arche­typal British pro­gres­sive rock band Gen­e­sis and their sem­i­nal con­cept piece of the epony­mous title about the apoc­a­lypse, the sup­per of the title being the leg­endary last sup­per, of course.

    db

    David Bradleys last great read…Water, Water, Everywhere

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