Memories of a Grandmother: Our Early Years in Paris and Kale Salad

Mar 28th, 2010 | By | Category: For Senior Women

Early in our marriage,  about 150 years ago, my husband and I took our two young children and every penny we’d saved and headed off to France for a year.  My husband was a teacher  of French and wanted to get his MA degree at the Sorbonne in Paris.  We were young,  immature and adventurous.  We had managed to find an apartment in the douzieme (12th arrondisement) where  primarily middle income families were living.  Probably the safest and best place in the city we could have landed.

The children’s school was down the street,  the park was across the street, the bread store on the corner, the wine store nearby and the zoo a good walk up the street.  The best part was the market that magically appeared on the street around the corner every Tues and Friday.  I loved the market and would fill my ‘filet’ with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meats and cheeses. 

My first major shock occurred at that market.  I loved pate and cheeses and the very first booth I came upon that had both was my destination.  Not understanding the metric system,  but knowing that was what I needed to use, I said in my very best French,  “Un kilo de pate, s’il vous plait.”    I’d been practicing that phrase all morning.  However when I saw the amount that he cut off,  I lost all the rest of the meager French that I’d learned, swallowed my tongue, started choking and managed to find the francs needed to pay for this monstrous amount of pate I’d just purchased. 

I took it home and waited for my husband to return,  almost fearful to show him the quantity of pate we needed to eat!  He laughed, and still laughs when he is reminded of my ‘kilo of pate’.  We ate pate for a long time.

The next ‘market day’ I bought a chicken.  It was nicely packaged and when I opened the package in my kitchen, out flopped a head and two whole feet….I’d purchased a whole chicken.  Never before in my few years as a wife and mother had I cut up a whole chicken.  So I proceeded to teach myself how to cut up a chicken.  I actually created what appeared to me to be a new way of cutting chicken…it got quartered…four large pieces. 

The salad was by far one of the best parts of the French meal.  We have been avid salad fans since our Parisien days.  I continue to look for new and different salads, but the dressing we prefer is the basic oil and vinegar.  One of my recent variations is using lemon juice in place of the vinegar.  And this is the latest salad I have found that has been a big hit in our home.

The Kale Salad
One head of kale.  I found a long narrow kale leaf that is the best for this salad.
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Dried cranberries
Pine nuts
Cut the center stem from the kale leaves
Cut the kale leaves into narrow ribbons
add a good handful of dried cranberries
another handful of pine nuts
drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.  I use approximately 2 T olive oil to 1 T  lemon juice
salt to taste
Mix and serve. 

This is a very tasty salad and has to be extremely healthy because of its dark color.

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