While trying to explain a gluten allergy in French, and asking ma monatrice for help when a pizza dinner was planned on Canada day, I've had some practice with speaking French here. It seems I am the only one who doesn't eat wheat here, and so until the pizza had arrived one evening, the director had forgotten completely. I have been lucky to be able to communicate enough with the kitchen staff who are both kind and helpful in showing me the plates I can eat, although their long descriptions of ingredients can fly right by me at times.
It was chicken stirfry without the noodles for dinner the first evening, with Greek salad on the side. The next night I waited a few moments to be served a delicious plate of gluten free pasta, which was cooked specially pour moi by my personal chef (or what I'd like to think of him as!) The chef has been extremely kind, and immediately after I arrive in the cafeteria, they recognise me and begin to prepare my meal.
Which has frequently been a plate of gluten free penne for dinner these past few days, mixed with vegetables and a sauce or seasoning.
My first breakfast I was glad to have a plate of baked scrambled eggs and hashbrowns with some fruit, and even more thrilled when I found the tea just around the corner from where food was served. A little oasis I like to think, and almost a little comfort from home.
I think I've missed having a cup of tea in the afternoon most, those times during the day when we all sit down together with a hot cup, and slowly begin unwinding without much else to worry about. And we could stretch our legs out onto another chair without worrying about taking up space which one of the other 126 students could use.
It's very easy here, and when the pressure of speaking clearly and quickly enough for others to pay attention isn't on my mind, I can focus on today, the moments maintenant, or meeting new people while introducing myself in French. It helps that everyone in small town Rivère-du-Loup is so friendly, some holler out car windows as they pass groups of us trying to find our way through a scavenger hunt of the town, or kids on their bikes wave as we pass on opposite sides of the street. They must be used to having a new group of students each spring and summer, and I'm just glad that instead of showing an annoyance at our misspoken and mispronounced French, they instead take the time to welcome us into this little town on the banks of the Saint Laurence.
This morning, I awoke early in excitement for an morning run, and when I was the only one who could make it out of bed, took the opportunity to explore the streets around where we've been staying for the past week. Set in a grid system with one main street running perpendicular to the river, the town is divided into an older part, which runs along the Rue Lafontaine and where many of the restaurants and amenities are. To the other side of the cégep are the large box stores, including a Wal-Mart where many students make frequent trips for things which have been forgotten at home.
Roasted Carrots with Thyme
A little reminder of home, fresh carrots grown right on Bowen, I really couldn't resist posting this recipe that I absolutely love. And there's something about cafeteria food that makes you really miss raw vegetables, both local and fresh, and without the need for too much sauce or seasoning. Carrots taken right from the ground have all the right flavours, which is why this recipe is so perfect with just a few, simple ingredients.
Roasted until the sweetness of these carrots is developed, they're almost addicting, and a perfect appetizer or accompaniment to any meal with their delicate taste and bright colours. Who could resist something as interesting as a purple carrot? Or one that is white like a ghost-able!?
2 - 3 bunches of whole carrots, with tops, preferably in different colours
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
2 - 3 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
Preheat the ovent to 400°F.
Trim the green stalk of each carrot to leave only 2 inches or so, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and fresh thyme leaves.
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, the carrots should be tender.
A delicious side to any meal, or to top a favourite salad.
Labels: carrots, dairy free, gluten free, roasted, tea, thyme