In an attempt to mix-up the Things I Learned lists that I bring you so often, I present you with this glorious attempt to recount the elements of my American lifestyle that I occasionally pine for.
But please don’t misinterpret this list as a secondary form of saying “I don’t like French food,” or some attempt to cling to American comforts when I should be enjoying everything that French life has to offer. Simply put, this is a list of things that I occasionally think about having or doing, and then am promptly slapped in the face by the reality that I cannot due to the lack of availability here in Paris. Here they are:
- Peanut butter. YES there is peanut butter here in France (though scarcely). I have some in my kitchen at this very moment. Skippy, actually. But in the US you can find virtually any food item with peanut butter. This actually creates several sub-list items:
- Peanut butter M&Ms
- Peanut butter Dove squares
- Reese’s peanut butter cups (what?!)
- Okay, peanut butter and chocolate ANYTHING…
- Smartfood Popcorn. Go ahead and judge me, but it’s the guilty pleasure that has been bringing me comfort since high school. And I miss it.
- Refried beans. Ever had a breakfast burrito? No? Well let me tell you… it’s a kick-ass day-starting perfectly-portioned burrito filled with egg, salsa, a cream cheese/sour cream concoction, shredded cheese and yes–lots of refried beany-goodness. Also, I enjoy a good seven-layer dip any day of the week. Someone ship me some cans, STAT.
- Annie’s Organic Mac and Cheese. You know what food grosses a lot of French people out? American-style mac and cheese. Especially the Kraft or Velveeta varieties. But I challenge ANYONE to be grossed out by Annie’s. That’s some good stuff, right there.
- Clam chowder. I wouldn’t be a New England girl if I didn’t miss this Northeastern specialty. But please: don’t bother trying to ship me any. I prefer it fresh, and served in one of the six New England states (make that five – no thanks, Connecticut.)
- No-bake cookies. Recently I’ve been cursing my mother (in my own mind) for making these delicious cookies when I was a child, and then sharing her recipe with me a few years back. These are now far and away my favorite cookies, and I have yet to find all the necessary ingredients here in Paris.
- Netflix. Woohoo! A non-food item! (Maybe I’m not such a little piggie afterall.) Okay to be honest: in the US I didn’t have my own personal Netflix account, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy streaming TV shows and the occasional movie (thanks Adam!). But I didn’t realize how much I would miss having access to series I was getting into or movies that I miss but don’t own until coming to Europe. Come on, Netflix–come to France!
- Tennis. People in France LOVE tennis. Half of the people I meet play themselves, and the other half know someone who does. The sport is wildly popular here, especially among Parisians. But I cannot for the life of me nail down a tennis partner, find a new racket, or locate what I’m told are numerous tennis courts around the city. Someone help me before I get lazy!
- Friends and family. Duh.
- All things Autumn. Apples and pumpkins and costumes, oh my! And brightly colored leaves, that crisp air, the smell of your neighbors lighting their first fire of the season, the opportunity to bring out your cute fall boots, FOOTBALL… Oh I could go on for days.