A Taste of France with Raúl Zavaleta, Aide Abroad Intern
The saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” but in certain cases I would rather do as myself. I am fairly open-minded when it comes to trying new things since I like a good adventure but every now and then I have my reservations. I recall my last supper in France, two summers ago when I tried frog legs for the first time (ribbit ribbit).
Food in France is absolutely delicious as the French take great pride in their cuisine. The first time I met my French host mother she was direct with me, “I will cook good, healthy food.” She wasn’t kidding and I was more excited about her cooking than I was about sight-seeing the Lyonnais monuments. I knew she was a food connoisseur and as such she took her food seriously, we never ate a meal with less than three courses and bread and wine were must-haves at the dinner table.
For six weeks, I enjoyed pastas, stuffed tomatoes, homemade pizzas, and chicken fondues and never did I imagine she had a surprise up her sleeve for my last meal. I remember sitting outside in the patio sipping my rosé, a pink-colored wine, when my French mom came out of the kitchen with a platter of fried goodies. At first glance, one would have imagined it to be fried chicken strips as even the shape of frog legs resembles chicken strips.
I grabbed my plate and helped myself to a good serving. I tasted one leg. “Hmmmm delicious,” I thought and continued on with my dinner. After a while I had to ask what new treat she had prepared. “Ça c’était délicieux Malou. Qu’est-ce que vous faites? Du poulet, bien sûr?” (It was delicious Malou. What did you make ? It must have chicken.) She grinned and answered, “Non, c’est les cuisses de grenouille ! ” (No, it’s frog legs.)
In any other circumstance I would had probably passed the opportunity to try the tasty delicacy but in hindsight it was a delicious experience. In all fairness, my French mom had told me about previous students she had hosted eating frog legs but it never occurred to me that she was responsible for the experience. She explained that most students are hesitant to eat frog legs since it’s not a popular dish in the States but that after trying her recipe, most students are in love. It may not have been love at first sight but frog legs were the perfect ending to my adventures in France.