Deux, not dix

Jon has 2-3 hot homemade meals a day,  few errands or tasks to complete, and lives in the south of France. The one, unenviable, task that he does have is to be the reservation-maker. 

Making a dinner reservation in French, over the phone, is a pretty dicey task. First, you have to know what to say. But, more importantly, you have to know what they are saying when they speak back to you. You can get many responses – from please hold, to we are closed, to please call back on Monday, to sure we have a table.

Jon made reservations for the busy corner restaurant in the food market in Nimes that was known for serving quick, rustic market fresh food. With a big U-shaped bar, white linoleum countertop and red high stools it looked more like an American diner than French restaurant. The reservation system is basically a series of post-it notes on the tables with your last name, time of reservation and number of people. We were disappointed when we arrived that we couldn’t find our name and wondered if things were lost in translation over the phone. As it turns out, things were indeed lost in translation. The entire benched table was for us because the woman answering the phone thought Jon said “dix” and not “deux.” We all had a hearty, red-faced, embarrassing laugh and she re-set the table for two. And, fortunately, the other spots were quickly sat by waiting patrons that were surprised to get a seat so quickly.

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Nimes, France

You might think that after that titillating soccer game yesterday I wouldn’t have the energy to cook dinner. You would be wrong. However, on Sunday night in the middle of bumble France, one doesn’t really have a choice.

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Pretending to have fun, but am a bit concerned that I can’t feel my toes

While avoiding the soccer game and trying to ignore my freezing toes, I scrolled through Instagram stories and happened upon my friend, Laura, and her picture of her homemade vegetable ramen soup. Bam. I have noodles and vegetables and even curry paste and coconut milk.

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Gonna give this curry paste a try

Eggplant Green Curry Noodle Soup, be Me

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp green curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 300mL coconut cream
  • 2 small eggplants
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 lemongrass stalk cut into thirds
  • 1 small can bamboo shoots
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 lime
  1. Saute the curry paste in the vegetable oil until fragant, A couple of minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut cream, sugar, eggplant, bell pepper, and lemongrass. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes until it is nice and thick.
  4. Add fish sauce, bamboo shoots and squeeze your lime.
  5. Pour the curry over the noodles and top with basil and a slice of lime.

We had leftovers that we ate for lunch with rice. You can certainly add any other vegetables (I think green beans would be great) or protein.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lynda Gardner says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Great post! I would be very interested in knowing where you are finding Asian ingredients. My go-to place is Grand Frais in Orange and they have all the basics, but I hear that there are many ethnically specialized Asian markets in Marseille, as there are in Paris, but I haven’t taken the time to explore any of them or even find out where they are.

    Lynda Gardner

    1. jthorn1227 says:

      I haven’t investigated Marseille Asian markets yet but we will! Paris has pretty access to all Asian including my much loved kimchi. There are two small Asian vendors in Avignon. But, truthfully, the Carrefour near grand frais is pretty well stocked. After three stores, I finally found hoisin there.
      I’ll write a post when we do Marseille!

  2. Another phrase I learned while making reservations: ne quittez pas. “Don’t leave,” or “hold the line.” The person on the other line will say this if they need to put the phone down to check the reservation book. This led me down a YouTube rabbit hole of Jacques Brel’s famous song “Ne me quitte pas” (“don’t leave me”) and all of the various takes on it over the years, which was fun.

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