Thursday, July 25

I have a random encounter with someone from back home and ponder the difference between American and French hamburgers.

Saw a guy coming out of the 5 star hotel next to my classroom wearing a Northwestern Kellogg Graduate School of Management t-shirt. Confirmed that he was indeed from Kellogg. Small world. Kellogg is a very prestigious management school. Very wealthy. The rest of the NU community often resents them because they seem to get all the resources and they're always somehow better than the rest of us. For example, they have a hotel on campus for executive training programs and we often see the lobster trucks going to make deliveries for the restaurant. So seeing someone in a Kellogg t-shirt coming out of a 5 star hotel in Paris was a "small world" experience. We really can't escape them, not even by going half way around the world. I don't know whether the guy was faculty, student, or staff. He was around the right age to be any of the three. Kellogg isn't all bad though. I worked on a project for several years with two faculty members who did "social choice theory". But they were really political scientists at heart, I think.

Finished homework early so I'm translating labels on boxes and doing research on French beef for something to do before going to class. That kind of counts as homework, doesn't it?

At home I sometimes get frozen pub burgers with onions at Food4Less. Horribly unhealthy grease-bombs but tasty. In the big Carrefour supermarket yesterday I saw something that looked similar so I bought a box and fried up two of them for dinner. They were pretty good - very spicy. But this morning I feel kind of sluggish, like there's a small bowling ball in my stomach. It's the first time I've used the stovetop in my kitchen. If you ever watch the Tour de France on TV (unlikely, I know) you see lots of banners for Carrefour. They must be a big sponsor.

From the box:

The beef is 100% from France. Ingredients: ground beef (51%), 
rehydrated soy proteins (26%), fried onions and rehydrated 
powdered onions (12%) [in sunflower oil], water, breadcrumbs 
[wheat flour], salt, flavorings, taste enhancers E621 
(monosodium glutamate), powdered red beets. Inferior fatty 
matter 15%. Collagen of inferior beef protein 25%.

No mention of what the cows might have been fed, grass or otherwise. But elsewhere on the net several sources say that ALL French beef is grass-fed. This results in less marbling than with corn-fed beef like in the States. Lots of debate about which tastes better, ours or theirs.

I have absolutely no idea how this all compares to the similar product I buy in Chicago in terms of processing, additives, or chemicals.

I did notice that while frying the burgers less fat accumulated in the frying pan. In fact, I added a big glob of butter to give them something more to fry in. And big slabs of butter on the bread too. Not margarine, real butter. Plus lots of salt and pepper. Yes, they were pretty tasty!

Tentative plans for the week end: The Bois de Boulogne, a large park on the western edge of Paris (2.5 times bigger than Central Park in New York). Roland Garros is at the southern end of the park. And if time permits, maybe the opera house (Palais Garnier).

The weather is a factor. Thunderstorms and very hot are forecast for Saturday, cooler and showers in the morning Sunday. So maybe stay close to home on Saturday and do my homework, with a possible trip over to the opera house, and do the big march through the park on Sunday afternoon. Sounds like a plan. Now back to massive pile of nasty grammar homework: Pronouns with the imperative, and the placement of pronouns with infinitives. Lots of rules with lots of exceptions.

Lots of thunder outside the window a few minutes ago, and now rain coming down.

Before phonetics class yesterday I was looking at my Versailles pictures on the pad. Both Joel and Raquel liked the pictures. Raquel asked if I went there on a group tour or "tout seul" (alone). I said alone, on the train. She seemed surprised that I would do this. I wonder why? Or maybe she felt sorry for me being "tout seul" here in Paris.

In grammar class we had a group exercise where we had to talk about what our "dream house" might be like. Deo and I agreed: urban, close to water, not too big. A nice "trois-pièce" with a living room, bedroom, and an office for our books and computers would be perfect. I like Deo. He'd like to live on the Copacabana beach in Rio, but says it's very expensive. He asked if I'd like to live "près du lac Michigan" in Chicago. I said sure, why not, but as in Rio, it can get very expensive.

I don't pal around with the other students outside of class, but I do enjoy talking to them. We talk in French of course. With our bad accents from our various home countries and languages it can be a bit difficult to understand each other. But we don't have to be embarrassed about all the mistakes we make because we're all in the same boat as intermediate level students.