Friday, September 05, 2008

Strasbourg in Particular

It was so satisfying to finally be eating in Strasbourg after having spent a good deal of time there in my mind when I translated the Pudlo guide. (Just to let you know I was paid already for my culinary translation work, and I don't get any kind of commission on the sales of the guide.) I was drooling the whole time, and I spent a whole lot of time researching the local patois - in the food language. I realized that although the ancient local dialects spoken in all of the different regions of France are quickly falling out of use, these tongues remain vibrantly alive in the food. For this reason it is very important to keep local food traditions going, and preserve them. It's more than just what people like to eat, but the whole cultural identity of a region is bound up in its food language. I simply adored looking at Strasbourg with this perspective in mind. My work added depth to my own vision as I made my way about. I was so thankful for having done it. Never stop learning and taking projects because you find them interesting. These are the ones that will serve you the most in the end.

It was difficult to choose from Pudlo's picks in Strasbourg because they all sounded so good, but I was happy with every one I tried. And this is what I want in a guide. When I am traveling, I do not want to have to sift through positive and negative reviews. I want a list of places to go. For lunches, instead of making reservations, I just went to the places I recognized from his picks and was only turned away for lack of seating at one very popular place. What I did was read everything before setting out initially, retaining a kind of sketchy outline in my mind of what to look out for while walking through town. While out walking, I did recognize at least a half dozen places just in the thick of things, and when lunchtime rolled around I had ideas for several places to go.

The famous French dish called bouchées à la reine is common in many restaurants in Strasbourg, since that whole class of pastry that includes the vol-au-vent originates in the region. It was a great place to try the garnished dish in the local style which can be quite beautiful. The shells are for sale in the boulangeries as well, ready to use at home.

Some restaurants make their own mini-pretzels and put them out with the apero, and a lot of bakeries had their house versions.

There is a restaurant in a building that dates back to the 1500s with a carved facade I could have stared at for days and I loved the cathedral. You can see all of these images in larger format by clicking on them.



Blogger Tracey said...

As always, beautiful pictures Lucy! My husband and I will be traveling through France in the spring and these last sets of posts are making the wait unbearable! By the way, I just bought the Pudlo off of Amazon; and not because I thought you were making any comission off of it, I just think it will be an invaluable resource to have!

3:06 PM, September 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like a friendly little Hamlet there. All the old architecture and gothic cathedrals... I'd be in total awe wandering around that village. Do they have signature meals and dishes that are staples in Strausburg?

6:53 PM, September 06, 2008  
Blogger Bonbon Oiseau said...

i just found your blog researching a soupe au pistou is beautiful! i will be back for sure! i am in France twice a year coming on october for fashion friend who i stay with in paris is from strasbourg and i've always wanted to go--your photos are phenomenal!

4:29 AM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger Nicole said...

Your photos are so amazing. Funny... I read your earlier post on Strasbourg... when you had no other worries... I was there once. Just for around 24 hours. It was in 1988 and I was studying in Paris for a couple months. I wanted to take a trip and none of my friends wanted to go anywhere. I just hopped on the next train out. It was odd getting a hotel room by myself. I was so young. Very intimidated on eating out at night.... But I remember it always... A special little time on my own.

4:36 AM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger Shelli said...

Lucy, I've been reading your blog intermittently since finding the link on eGullet several years ago. It's been getting better and better and I finally have to comment on the photos. They're wonderful and in combination with your writing make clicking on your blog something to look forward to each time.

By the way, the verification word today is 'qmunhor'; could this be a word to describe someone who'd do anything for some cumin? sorry...

5:39 AM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Salut Lucy...
I just found your blog through a link on Mimi's French Kitchen blog...
Your blog is wonderful and your images are stunning...
Hope to read all your posts in the next few weeks as they are a wonderful way for me to get home
to France although I am stuck in the US for a while.
Merci mille fois for all your wonderful work...! ! !

6:39 AM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thanks for your comments! It was an interesting trip. Tracey, glad to hear it, I hope you enjoy your trip! Amanda, there is so much information to share about Strasbourg I think I'll save it for another day, but in the meantime you can google it and find tons of information! Nicole, that was my favorite kind of traveling. I love that. The memories are great, aren't they? Bonbon Oiseau, you should definitely try to get your friend in Paris to show you around up there! It is not far from Paris! Thanks for coming by Shelli & Gene. I don't control the passwords! I'll leave it to you to come up with the ideas. Terrie, I hope you come back to visit!

1:13 PM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

Lovely, lovely images as always Lucy.

I come here when I need a mini-vacation. Thank you for sharing the experience.

You have provided me with much inspiration in the kitchen over the past year or so ~ Vin de Noix, cerises~ le dessert dans un bocal,
your Chinese Dumpling tutorial was most helpful, salade oeuf mollet, ice cream bombe, and Caviar de la Croix Rousse and much more.
I had to chuckle about your story of home ~ cresson de vigne! I had no idea it is edible, but it grows in my potted roses. I serve it in spring salads now, thanks to you. :)

Merci beaucoup, Lucy!

Congratulations on your charming country house, too.

9:20 PM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger Christine said...

I've been catching up, reading and enjoying your posts. This one is particularly lovely and I'm inspired your juxtaposed photos.
And congratulations on the country house!

4:47 AM, September 08, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Those were very nice things to say, plate, and Christine, it's great to see you here. Happy you were inspired.

9:10 AM, September 08, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have always wanted to visit Strasbourg in December.

Your photos inspire me!


3:31 AM, September 13, 2008  

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