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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cooking class

As I continue my exploration of Paris, I decided to try something different today. In addition to photography and writing classes, WICE offers drawing, painting, wine tasting and cooking classes. Why not? I always learn a thing or two and meet new people.

What fun! Today's class on was on cooking fresh fish and their sauces. I came away with some useful tips.

Dessert was creme caramel. When caramelizing the sugar - don't stir it!

The proper way to tie a bouquet garni - be sure to bend the parsley stalks - that's where the flavor lives

Always trim the fins from the tail toward the head

In the springtime your fish might come with roe. You can use the roe to create an appetizer: slit the membrane, scrape out the eggs with the back of the knife, mix them raw with lime juice, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper and let it stand for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to blend. Yumm.

The class, taught in English by a French instructor, is targeted to retired francophiles, or wives following husbands who are sent here on business.

Once upon a time I might have envied the wives with their tony expat apartments, exotic vacations, and generous benefits - so I was surprised to hear them talk about the lack of control over their lives. Their husbands are high-level pawns who may be moved at any time. And even though a Paris assignment is more attractive than, say, Dakar, many of these educated women are now reduced to appendages. Their visas do not allow them to work; they can only smile and follow two steps behind their husbands.

My apartment may be small and my budget is tight, but I am free.

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