Word for the Day: Attestation

The French word Attestation means a “certificate” or “written declaration” but, in the Coronamania context, it’s the form that you must print, fill-in, sign, and carry with you whenever you leave the house here in France. It affirms that you’re on the street, within a few Kms of your domicile, for one of the five permitted activities. “Hanging with friends” and “Getting a coffee at the cafe”, sadly, are not among those activities, and you can be ticketed or even jailed if the cops stop you and you don’t have your Attestation with you.

It’s Monday in Paris and some food stores that were open on the weekend are not open today, making the street scene in the afternoon extra empty. Some folks in the grocery store got a little testy in the check-out line due to a social distancing failure and it was easy to mistake the double-gloved, gowned, and masked cashier for an ER nurse.

Bread, that daily French staple, gets cleaned out quickly in stores and we were lucky to find a batch of baguettes just coming out of the oven. As in many cities, the food-buying cycle here is short – large refrigerators and freezers are rare – and many foods have little or no preservatives and are intended for immediate consumption. Baguettes, for example, really are a daily purchase for many.

We had an American treat for breakfast yesterday: bacon and eggs. The chef in my apartment would not allow me to photograph the finished plates – she felt the fried eggs were not perfect enough for display (I can attest that they were perfect for eating, though). We went to the butcher Saturday to get the bacon and, as you can see above, French bacon is sliced rather thickly, more like American ham steaks. This results in the bacon tasting like ham, not like, well, bacon. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the meal completely.

As much as I’d like to say that the bottle of Bordeaux above is from my personal vineyard, it is not. As you may know, Baron von Haussmann was the French official that Napoleon put in charge of renovating Paris in the 1850s and so the wine celebrates him. No family connection to me, as far as I know, but I couldn’t resist the bottle.

Today’s Paris Lockdown Lunch consisted of tomatoes stuffed with beef, pork, and basil, on a bed of multi-colored rice, accompanied by a a nice Greek wine. It was quite filling and provided a variety of interesting tastes.

Au revoir!

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