Sunday, November 1, 2009

Europe: Part 1 (inspired by "pan")

Be honest. When you read "pan" did your internal voice pronounce it with a long "a" or short "a"? If you pronounced it with an "ah" sound, as in the Spanish word for bread, not only is your internal voice bilingual and able to pick up on context clues, it's also correct.

Tonight I made a tasty batch of red lentil soup stolen from a favorite blog of mine, 101 cookbooks. In preparation for the dish, I picked up a fresh loaf italian bread this morning. You know the kind - squishy and crunchy all at the same time. Mmmmmm, soooo good! Well the whole thing got me reminiscing about Europe...

I alluded to the possibility of a post like this a few weeks back. I had the pleasure of hopping the pond and visiting a small handful of countries in Europe this past Spring and (five months later) haven't even managed to upload all the photos from the trip to my Shutterfly account. The problem is that I took upwards of 1000 pictures while I was over there and, keeping you in mind, I didn't want to upload all of them and make you flip through all the junky and/or repeat photos. That, and I had this great vision of writing a caption for every single picture so that it was as if you traveled with me! Wouldn't that of been dandy?! Then summer started and seeing as I was hardly even sleeping in my own bed most weekends the photojournalism project had to be pushed to the back burner.

But back to the bread.

Europe has some particularly awesome, food-journal-worthy food. Breakfast was typically cafe
con leche and a croissant which I never seemed to tire of eating. I still salivate when I remember my "best dinner." But the best lunch I had came towards the very end of the trip while I was in Madrid. At this point I was traveling with some foodie-friends of mine, Abby and Emily, and on our last full day in Madrid we happened across this fantastic outdoor market, the likes of which I can only pray our new CoMo pavilion can even come close to. In one stop, you could do your grocery shopping, snack on some fresh tapas, people watch amid the husle and bustle, AND buy a diabetic-friendly cookbook!


Minus actually buying the cookbook (the majority of my patients don't keep up on their Spanish reading skills) Abby, Emily and I did all of the above. I love that a simple combo of foods can be such a great meal. We got what truly were "cherry red" cherries from some lovely gents at the produce stand, savory cheese that tasted like a softer version of Parmesan a few stalls down and a loaf of still-warm bread from these nice ladies.

It was a three-ingredient feast. Never underestimate how fulfilling fresh and quality food can taste completely unadulterated. My food-loving self had been in Europe for 2 weeks at this point, eating everywhere from pizza wielding street venders to white table cloth and wine list restaurants, and I still don't question ranking this as my favorite lunch. It's a credit to how many calories you can burn by walking all day that I actually lost weight while over there.

Europeans know how to bake some mighty fine bread.

And THAT'S the way it is!

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