31 July 2012

Chowing, Folk Dancing, and Crepes in Brittany

Our next rendezvous reunited us with two French friends in Rostrenen, France.
bretagne crepe
A little yolk-centered gift, filled with traditional fillings: Ham, Swiss cheese, salt, & pepper
This connection with Antoine and Etienne was serendipitously rekindled because they had Couchsurfed with John in Wyoming last fall. 

So, in addition to getting to visit some friends, we saved money by Couchsurfing with them, which gave us a free bed and a free place to cook. As always, a gift for our hosts was a no-brainer (we went with, um, whiskey...)
Carving homemade prosciutto
Can't argue with that.
 Ah, Couchsurfing, what an amazing network for travelers.

After arriving, Etienne’s parents were around to help get lunch ready (thank God). His mother must have been some sort of magician, as delicious homemade delicacies kept casually appearing before her to then find themselves floating daintily into my mouth
Etienne's mom's fresh cow's milk cheese, rolled in cracked pepper and aged in her refridgerator
 I can only assume that it was her magic that prevented me from stopping my mouth from eating so much cured pork leg, fresh cow cheese, fermented apple cider, pork rillettes…salted butter...bread...mmmm...butter....yes, magic.
rostrenen france
Playing the frown game with our Rostrenen friends...I'm not sure what makes it a game, but it's certainly fun?
The next morning, we had those things that you're supposed to eat daily if in Brittany: crepes (good recipe here). Do I say that joyfully? Of course I do. I even compiled a quick video for you on some of the crepe-making steps, because we were in the presence of a master, and why not?

video
My alter French-boy ego, Pierre, making a crepe, and the finished product with a side of Kefir for dipping--yum!
Tagging along to a small local music festival with the guys was the highlight of the weekend (we'll exclude the crepe session for the sake of that sentence), as we got to see Antoine (guitar) and Etienne (bass clarinet) in action. We also watched the crowd get groovy with some typical Brittany folk dancing.

A bit of backstory: back when people used plain ol’ earth as the flooring for their house, it was important to get all that land stomped down, so once a house was finished, the owners invited the whole town over to party, eat, dance, and flatten the ground out while they were at it. While the dance strikes me as rather monotonous, the tradition stuck nonetheless. 

Watch the video and all will be understood. Just try to stay calm, as these moves are preeeeetty racy.
video
We were sad to leave the guys behind after a terribly relaxing weekend of good company (do I mean the food or the people...? muahaha), but duty called at wwoofing farm number four with Karine and Fred at La Ferme du Forsdoff!

I could tell that this farm would be different from the last one when the first night's meal greeted us with home fries, pork chops, and sausage from pork raised on their own farm. Byebye, vegetarians.
grilling pork
Farm-raised pork, anyone?
I will mention, however, that farm #3 and the lack of meat therein did make us realize how much neither of us had actually missed meat. And looking at our finances, it makes sense for us to eat less of it. But it's also something I support from an environmental perspective; a lot of general pollution and water goes into getting food into our bellies, and from an energy (see: oil dependency) standpoint, “our food system consumes 10.3 calories of fossil fuel energy to create 1.4 calories of food energy,” (from the book Fair Food--an amazing read!).

So in the areas where it's logical for me to lessen my impact, like meat eating, I'm willing. It makes me a little sad, but there are worse things than not having meat every day. Like, not having cheese every day. Wait, I mean...like not having oxygen everyday. 

If you need a little extra muse, check out the Meatless Monday "movement" and this jaw-dropping article on the results of skipping meat only one day a week. I also happen to have have a great recipe you could try out on your meat-free day ;))

What do you think? Could you do without meat for one day a week? Maybe more? Any must-have vegetarian recipes you want to share?

5 comments:

  1. For me, its easy to skip meat with all the great pasta sauces available. Pesto, puttanesca, escarole and bean, alio olio,vegetarian lasagna, shrimp and cream, roasted cauliflower, red or white clam, zuppa di pesce, just to name a few.

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  2. Presence of a crepe master? By your writing it seems that this is your first time in the presence of a master? Which can only mean one thing... I need to work harder or go to Britany to learn from the best! Lets see him make a Pesto Chicken delight...

    I do not wish this on anyone but I do support your decision to not eating meat. But i do not approve of this for John. For this is where the source of his power comes from. Either way get your share of bacon because surprise surprise, no bacon in Israel. unless you go to a McDonalds!!

    It sounds like you're have a fantastic time and I'm excited for what's to come for the both of you. Enjoy!

    P.s. I hear you are missing Aunt Jemima dearly. I will send some asap

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  3. Cohen, I think you could really bring the pain with the pesto chicken delight, they seem to stick pretty hard to the traditional. I will support you, though.
    Is couscous the source of your power?
    hopefully you have that Aunt Jemima in the mail so that I can throw up on it once it arrives.

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  4. Your crêpes look great Meggan, thanks for the shout-out!

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  5. Cohen is funny. Christ, I miss you guys!

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