Essays

Cooking Ten Year Old Girls — and Other search phrases

Cooking Ten Year Old Girls and Other search phrases

Some of you may remember how much I like looking at the search engine queries that have led visitors to Chocolate & Zucchini. January has come and gone, leaving another batch of intriguing/funny/puzzling/cute phrases in its wake.

This month’s top five :
cooking ten-year-old girls (or did you mean “for”?)
what the fuck macaroon
free pics of girls covered in chocolate sauce
juicing vegetables to taste like chocolate (do let me know if you find out how to do this!)
what is the french dish called coucou (I am stumped)

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The Last Bite Axiom (and Corollaries)

As you well know, I give a fair amount of thought to food (understatement of the year). Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about the special ways in which we eat our food. In paying attention to this, I have noticed the host of small unconscious ceremonials that I conduct while eating, and I wanted to share them with you.

I hope you’ll recognize yourself in this and I won’t feel so neurotic.

The Last Bite Axiom says : “the last bite has to be the best”. When eating a dish, I will always make sure to prepare for the last bite, reserving a little bit of the best elements of the dish as I go, in a specially designated area of my plate. Water/Wine Corollary : if thirsty, it is important to drink before the last bite, to maximize the lingering time of the last bite’s sensory experience. (And please, do not just snitch a taste from my plate haphazardly, or you may very well have eaten my Last Bite.)

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How the Fuck Do I Prepare Eggplant? and Other Search Phrases

How the Fuck Do I Prepare Eggplant? and Other Search Phrases

Thanks to Maxence’s excellent home-hosting skills, Chocolate & Zucchini lives on a server in our apartment, cuddling up against muCommander. I like knowing it’s safe and warm, purring when I walk by it in the corridor.

The added bonus of home-hosting, beyond the thrill of DIY and autarky, is that we have full access to the logs, which makes for endlessly mesmerizing stats. My favorite part is the section that tells me which search phrases have led people to C&Z (mostly through Google). I don’t know why it fascinates me so much, but it certainly goes right in with my passion for overheard conversations and glimpses of people caught through windows when I walk down the street.

Happily, most of the search phrases are right to the point : people looking for recipes, information on food or techniques (zucchinis, persimmons, and blow-torching being particularly popular), or restaurant reviews (La Famille and Rose Bakery win the day).

My favorite, hands down, is the deliciously straightforward “how the fuck do i prepare eggplant?”, but here is a little florilège, a selection of the best search phrases so far.

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Grilled Onions And Peppers

I did not write the food entry I had in mind yesterday night, and my excuse for that is as valid as it will ever get : I couldn’t get back into my apartment until a late hour, for the seventh floor of our building was on fire.

Important forenote to reassure everyone : no worries, I’m fine, Maxence is fine, everybody’s fine, and the apartment’s fine!

Coming home from work, I went to the grocery store to run a few errands. When I got to the foot of the stairs that lead to our apartment complex, it started to feel like a scene from a movie. I saw the firemen’s truck, I saw the thick water hose, I saw that it was leading up the stairs, I heard someone say “C’est au 2” (“It’s at number 2″), which is our building number, I climbed up the stairs, seemingly in slow-mo (but then again I was laden with plastic carrier bags, which may explain the slowness of my ascension), until I reached the top, looked up, and saw flames and thick smoke coming out of the windows of the seventh floor.

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A Diet of Baked Beans

A Diet of Baked Beans

From the ages of ten to sixteen, my parents sent me on séjours linguistiques (“linguistic stays”) abroad each summer. The idea was to spend two to three weeks living with a family in an English- or German-speaking country and immerse myself in the culture and the language. It did tremendously improve my language skills and was also, to put it mildly, a definite character-building experience: I was miserable, but I learned to put up with it.

This fascinating tidbit of personal history helps explain the special place Heinz Baked Beans have in my heart and on my palate: on one of these stays in England, I stayed with a family in which the girl, though my age, could not have had less in common with me. Her number one interest was boys; I was bookish and quiet. She had a brand new curvaceous body to try out; I still looked like a ten-year-old. With glasses. There was, consequently, little communication to be had between the two of us, but I learned my fair share of slang and swear words, and I also learned to fight in a foreign language. Add that to the “useful skills developed” list.

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