Transcript for Episode 389: Classic French Recipes with a Vegan Twist

Table of Contents for this Episode

Category: French Food & Wine

[00:00:00] Classic French Recipes with a Vegan Twist

[00:00:00] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 389. Trois cent quatre-vingt neuf.

[00:00:22] Annie Sargent: Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France, everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news related to travel to France.

[00:00:38] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Sarala Terpstra about how to enjoy classic French food when you’re vegan. We’ve both written cookbooks about French food, so we geek out about making great French food and how to make it with a vegan twist.

[00:00:57] Annie Sargent: Get ready for some inspiration for your own meals at home.

[00:01:02] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, or my cookbook, “Join Us at the Table,” including my itinerary consult service and my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app.

[00:01:18] Annie Sargent: You can browse all of that at Annie’s boutique, joinusinfrance.com/boutique.

[00:01:24] Annie Sargent: And Randall wrote a very nice review of my GPS self-guided tour of Paris.

[00:01:29] Annie Sargent: He said, “We had a quick stay in Paris before a longer visit to the Southwest. One of the things that defined our two days in Paris were Annie’s VoiceMap walking tours. We’ve both been to Paris before, and we love to walk and explore. I can safely say that Annie’s tours make for a richer, even more enjoyable experience. Annie touches on the big and the small, the quirky and the substantive, all rolled together in a thoughtful narrative that provides both definition and flexibility. If you want to know about cool little shops, as well as grand churches, these tours are for you. We’ve been on many tours throughout the world, and I can say with confidence that these were some of the best we’ve ever done. Get the most of your valuable time in Paris, join Annie for one or more of her VoiceMap tours.”

[00:02:22] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much, Randall. I do work hard on those tours and it’s wonderful to hear that so many people enjoy them.

[00:02:37] Interview

[00:02:37] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Sarala and welcome back to Join Us in France.

[00:02:41] Sarala Terpstra: Bonjour Annie, thank you for having me again.

[00:02:43] Annie Sargent: It’s lovely to talk to you today. Our topic is entirely different. We’re talking about vegan French cooking. And I think it’s going to be very interesting to anybody who’s trying to either eat vegan all the time, or trying to reduce their consumption of protein, animal protein. Because there are a lot of things that you can make that are very French and that you can make vegan. So let’s talk about that.

[00:03:09] How long has Sarala been vegan?

[00:03:09] Annie Sargent: First of all, how long have you been vegan?

[00:03:12] About two and a half years.

[00:03:13] Annie Sargent: Okay. Was it a difficult transition or what led you in that direction?

[00:03:19] Sarala Terpstra: I have to say it wasn’t too difficult. I always thought it would be, but my mom is from India, so as you may know, many Indians are a vegetarian and a lot of Indian food is vegetarian.

[00:03:30] Sarala Terpstra: But we weren’t, my mom is not vegetarian. We were not raised vegetarian, but we were raised eating pretty much mostly vegan, because my mom tried to make even Indian food much healthier.

[00:03:40] Sarala Terpstra: She was very health-focused, so she wouldn’t use the traditional butters and creams that are used in Indian cooking. So, it was very normal for us to have vegetables be the main course. So I feel like when I did eventually switch to vegan, it actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.

[00:03:56] Having grown up with that has kind of guided me with thinking creatively with substituting for vegan French cooking.

[00:04:02] Indian food is much more flavourful

[00:04:02] Annie Sargent: Yes. Oh, and vegan Indian food is just amazing. I mean, like unbelievable, like the flavors,

[00:04:10] Annie Sargent: Yes. The flavors of the spices, it’s unbelievable. So, I’m not sure French cooking has that much of a palette when it comes to flavors, you know, Indian vegan cooking is where it’s at, in my opinion. Yeah. But maybe you can convince me otherwise you know, I’m happy to be shown that I can do better because I have cooked a fair bit vegan, not all the time, but you know, I’m a part-time vegan.

[00:04:36] Sarala Terpstra: Oh, that’s awesome.

[00:04:37] Annie’s book: Join Us a the Table

[00:04:37] Annie Sargent: Yes. So, I do enjoy the challenge, and you wrote a cookbook about this and I have browsed it, and it’s very interesting. So we want to talk about your cookbook. I wrote one as well. Yours is exclusively vegan, mine is more like for omnivores.

[00:04:53] Annie Sargent: So, my idea was, what if you want to cook French, but somebody in your family is vegan? How do you adapt these classic French dishes to be vegan? But you’ve done a fair bit of that too, so it’s going to be fun discussing some recipes. Yeah. All right.

[00:05:11] What is it like eating vegan in France?

[00:05:11] Annie Sargent: So, what is it like eating vegan in France? Let’s start with that, because that’s something a lot of people probably wonder about.

[00:05:19] Sarala Terpstra: I was honestly really nervous about it before we moved here, because we’ve been living in France for four and a half months. And the last time we had visited France we weren’t vegan, and we’ve just loved, like gorging the restaurants, just eating these long, you know, French meals and stuff. So I wasn’t sure, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

[00:05:36] Restaurants aren’t prejudiced about vegan customers

[00:05:36] I’m not sure France has changed, you would know more than me, but I have found that people tend to be decently open-minded about it. If you are at a restaurant and you tell them, I haven’t had anyone lecture me about it or anything like that.

[00:05:49] Usually they just tell you if they have an option, if they don’t, they just say, no, sorry, we don’t.

[00:05:54] Restaurants might try to accommodate vegans

[00:05:54] Annie Sargent: So have you been in places where you’re like, well, you just can’t eat here because we don’t have anything that we could make vegan?

[00:06:00] Sarala Terpstra: Yes, that has happened quite a few times where we walked into a restaurant and asked them and then they’re just like, oh, no, sorry, we don’t. Because I understand, in France, one nice thing about their restaurant is that the menu is small and thoughtfully made, and you know, it’s not this giant menu, like it often is in the States.

[00:06:17] Sarala Terpstra: So what they have is what they have. So it doesn’t always work that way, but I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by some of the traditional restaurants that will randomly either have a vegan option, or if you ask them say, oh, okay, well I guess, yeah, we could do something.

[00:06:30] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. And I found that the higher the price point, the more likely they are to accommodate you.

[00:06:37] Sarala Terpstra: Oh, that makes sense.

[00:06:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Also, for people who want to eat kind of cheap, most inexpensive restaurants in France, you can always find kebab places and they often have falafel, which as far as I know, is always vegan, I don’t know?

[00:06:55] Sarala Terpstra: Yes, we have fallen back on that a few times when we were desperate and hungry. Like we were, you know, out running errands or on a trip and okay, there’s a kebab place, let’s just ask them not to put any yogurt or anything like that on it. So, yeah, that works.

[00:07:07] Sarala Terpstra: And also pizza places, surprisingly either will have a vegan option or you can just ask, they almost always have a vegetarian pizza at the pizza places. So you can just ask for that without cheese.

[00:07:17] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s not delicious though. I mean,

[00:07:22] Sarala Terpstra: Yes, it just, it’s just there to fill the need.

[00:07:24] Annie Sargent: Yes. Yeah. It was just when you’re hungry and yes, but we hope to do a little better than just feel the need.

[00:07:30] Recipes in Sarala’s cookbook: French Vegan Favorites

[00:07:30] Annie Sargent: So let’s talk about some of the dishes that you develop in your cookbook that are classic French,or things that are kind of tangentially French,that you can make vegan. What are some of the recipes in your cookbook?

[00:07:44] For my cookbook, the focus I was going with was classics because I’m not French, and so I don’t have the layers of knowledge that you may have with you know, all the variations on French dishes in the regional areas. I really just wanted to start out with the famous ones, you know, that people around the world really love, the beloved famous French dishes, maybe the cliché ones, if you want to call it that?

[00:08:07] Sarala Terpstra: ButI wanted to do it with a whole food approach though, because that is the way I cook personally. Sometimes I do treat myself to vegan meat substitutes and vegan cheese substitutes, but for the most part, I really like the challenge and enjoy the health benefits of eating whole food plant-based.

[00:08:24] Annie Sargent: So, for example, I have the mushroom bourguignon in my cookbook and got a beef, obviously mushrooms. I did cauliflower-au-vin instead of coq-au-vin. So I had some fun with it. Yeah. So, I did a quiche where I use chickpea flour and polenta instead of eggs. Wow. That’s creative because

[00:08:43] Annie Sargent: I, yes, because I had scratched my head, like how would you make quiche work? So,

[00:08:48] Sarala Terpstra: And, you know, none of that punch run out. They don’t taste or look exactly like the real deal, but to me, the way I like to think of vegan French cooking is like conceptual, the concepts of French cooking, applied to plants.

[00:09:01] Ratatouille

[00:09:01] Annie Sargent: Right, now, there are some French dishes, classic French dishes that are vegan to begin with, like ratatouille for example. lovely French dish that you can do vegan. It is vegan, no matter what you do.

[00:09:15] Vegan French onion soup

[00:09:15] Annie Sargent: The French onion soup, the way French people eat it, we don’t actually eat it with a ton of cheese. So, it’s Americans that load up the cheese and restaurants that serve it to visitors often load up the cheese these days. But when I was growing up, onion soup was bread and soup. And so it had no milk products, you know?

[00:09:40] Sarala Terpstra: That’s interesting because, you know, I also have onion soup in my cookbook, and I think it’s just delicious the way it is. So, that makes sense.

[00:09:46] Annie Sargent: Yes, you don’t need. Yeah. You don’t need the cheese really. I mean, if you love the strings of cheese, then have it, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary. I like it just as much without the cheese.

[00:09:58] La Pissaladière

[00:09:58] Annie Sargent: Let’s see, what else? Oh, La Pissaladière, that’s like a pizza, but it’s with melted, well kind of re caramelized, right, caramelized onions, and it’s a onion reduction. So in the classic one you put anchovy, but no cheese. So if you remove the anchovies, it’s vegan.

[00:10:21] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, and it’s very good. I have actually tried making it with little eggplant slices instead of anchovies for fun, but I actually think it is just good with the onion.

[00:10:30] Annie Sargent: Oh yes, yes. What else? I must be missing some that are just already vegan.

[00:10:35] Vegan sorbet

[00:10:35] Well, the weather’s getting warmer, so we just enjoyed our first sorbetat a restaurant the other night, and the server said it is vegan because I think nowadays, maybe sometimes the sorbets aren’t vegan with gelatin or something, but I think traditionally they are, aren’t they?

[00:10:49] Annie Sargent: Maybe, that is not something I’ve ever looked into.

[00:10:53] Sarala Terpstra: I think it’s sugar and fruit and water usually.

[00:10:56] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:58] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:10:58] Annie Sargent: Then, there you go. That’s another vegan French classic as well. I mean, it’s not just French, sorbets, every country does that.

[00:11:07] Végan béchamel

[00:11:07] Annie Sargent: So let me see, I need to look at my cookbook and see what I have done because I have an oh, béchamel which goes with a lot of French dishes, can be made vegan.

[00:11:17] Annie Sargent: If you make it with broth, with a vegetable broth instead of milk, or you could make it with a soy milk or something like that. I have not tried. I’ve tried it with vegetable broth and it’s good. You know, it thickens just fine. Just a good way to do it.

[00:11:33] Blanquette de veau

[00:11:33] Annie Sargent: A blanquette de veau you could do with, let’s see, what’s the name of the substitute? I actually went to the store. This is one where I bought a substitute, like a meat product.

[00:11:45] Sarala Terpstra: Was it a seitan?

[00:11:46] Sarala Terpstra: Think, I remember seeing that in your cookbook.

[00:11:48] Annie Sargent: Yes. It was seitan and it was really good, you know, as we say in French, c’était bluffant, it was really good.

[00:11:55] Vegan galettes

[00:11:55] Annie Sargent: Then the other thing that is very good, that we forgot to mention is the galettes, obviously, galettes de buckwheat. Galette you can make with all sorts of vegetable toppings, doesn’t need to include cheese or meat.

[00:12:08] Sarala Terpstra: Yes, and it’s healthy too. I love the galettes, the buckwheat crepes or even just for dinner sometimes, for a light dinner, because they’re hardy and they’re filling, but yeah, like you said, you can put any topping on them. I like avocado on them too, sometimes instead of cheese.

[00:12:23] Annie Sargent: Nice. Very nice. So have you had galettes at restaurants in France, where you asked them to make them vegan?

[00:12:31] That I haven’t had luck with yet, although I’ve seen that in places like Paris, or I think even Rennes. I saw a vegan restaurant that actually makes a vegan batter, but it seems like every restaurant I’ve looked at here actually puts eggs and milk and stuff in the batter and butter.

[00:12:46] Annie Sargent: No, no, no, no, no. Buckwheat galettes is buckwheat and water and salt. The end. You don’t need anything else. It’s just the toppings that could be, the toppings could be meat or cheese, but you don’t have to. You could use, you know, sliced mushrooms, you could use any vegetable you want. Yeah. Buckwheat crepes have no eggs, not the way I make them. The way I make them, no eggs..

[00:13:10] Sarala Terpstra: I’m going to check next time I go out, if I see a restaurant that has them and actually ask them.

[00:13:16] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. Because it’s just water and buckwheat and salt. That’s it.

[00:13:20] Pan con tomate

[00:13:20] Annie Sargent: Then pan con tomate but that’s Spanish, but it’s really good.

[00:13:24] Poulet Basquaise

[00:13:24] Annie Sargent: Poulet Basquaise, you can make vegan because you could just use a substitute for like a seitan or something.

[00:13:32] Vegan salade juive

[00:13:32] Annie Sargent: Salade juive, is a classic vegan dish that my mom made all the time.

[00:13:39] Annie Sargent: So it can be called Chuchukar or Chachukar or something like that. But it’s peppers and tomatoes and garlic.

[00:13:46] Sarala Terpstra: Oh, and what is that, a regional dish in France or is

[00:13:51] Annie Sargent: So It’s all over the Middle East, and my mom grew up in Algeria, so she made it all the time. It’s grilled peppers with tomatoes, kind of stewed tomato, but, oh, I have the recipe in my cookbook, if you haven’t tried it, it’s one of the most delicious things yeah, it is wonderful. It’s really wonderful.

[00:14:11] Soupe au pistou

[00:14:11] Annie Sargent: Soupe au pistou is also vegan because that has lots of vegetables and beans. Now, some people put pork in it, but honestly it’s worse with the pork in it, I think.

[00:14:25] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, it’s very good on its own.

[00:14:27] Annie Sargent: I prefer it without the pork.

[00:14:28] Annie Sargent: So, there you go.

[00:14:29] Tian de légumes (always vegan!)

[00:14:29] Annie Sargent: And then tian de légumes of course, how could I forget, tian de légumes? So I have to make the distinction between tian and ratatouille, because Americans get this wrong a lot, and that’s because of just sloppy recipe writing that we find online.

[00:14:47] Sarala Terpstra: And maybe the Pixar movie too.

[00:14:49] Annie Sargent: Could be, could be. So the ratatouille is a wet, very, very cooked dish.

[00:14:56] It looks like a stew, but tian is exactly the same vegetables, but they are kind of arranged in an oven dish. And I do put a little bit of tomato sauce at the bottom so that it will get soft enough, but it’s not soupy. It’s not, you know, it’s something that kind of holds its shape, is what I’m saying, but it is the same ingredient.

[00:15:20] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, and ratatouille is more like a chunky, kind of rough stew, isn’t it?

[00:15:24] Annie Sargent: Yes, ratatouille is a rough stew, but it’s otherwise the same vegetables, you know, it’s really good.

[00:15:31] Mains in Sarala’s cookbook

[00:15:31] Annie Sargent: So tell us, what are the mains that you have in your cookbook?

[00:15:35] I do have Ratatouille on there. I did have a galettes where I used, instead of ham and egg and cheese, I did like a smoked tofu with a sweet potato instead of egg. And, yeah, and let me think what else.

[00:15:49] Annie Sargent: You have an artichoke sandwich. That sounds good.

[00:15:52] Sarala Terpstra: Oh, yeah. And that isn’t, I don’t think that that’s traditionally French, but it was actually based on the tuna sandwich and French that I had in the past in France, that had the nice olives and like tuna salad on it.

[00:16:02] Sarala Terpstra: And I loved that the texture of the artichokes when you squeeze them and wring all the water out, canned artichokes

[00:16:08] Annie Sargent: Yes.They get this nice kind of flaky, thick texture that does really well with a vegan mayonnaise or a homemade vegan sauce. So, the texture was really nice, but then when I actually put it on and the sandwich, I love that it tasted like artichoke at the end.

[00:16:24] Sarala Terpstra: So, that was a fun one where you take the concept of a French dish, but then you create something new, with a new flavor, and I love when that happens too.

[00:16:32] Beet tartare

[00:16:32] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Then you have beet tartare. So that’s like sliced cooked beets, is that what it is?

[00:16:38] Sarala Terpstra: Yes. Sliced beets then I used, I throw some avocado and a dressing in there, just to give it a little bit more book and some more flavor too.

[00:16:48] Cassoulet

[00:16:48] Annie Sargent: Hmm. All right. This one I want to hear about, cassoulet, so vegan cassoulet. How did you do that?

[00:16:53] Sarala Terpstra: Well, it doesn’t have meat in it.

[00:16:55] Annie Sargent: I suppose.

[00:16:56] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:16:57] Sarala Terpstra: probably sacrilege I just use big chunks of mushrooms, which are one of the best meat substitute, as I’m sure you know. And I round them and, you know, pan fry them and tell they’re really rich, with some different seasonings, and then instead of baking the mushrooms with the beans in the oven, it just kind of gets too dry without all the animal fat in there, I just top them, put them on the beans right at the end and don’t really bake it. Yeah.

[00:17:23] Annie Sargent: Very nice. That sounds, I mean, so in the end, it’s a beans and mushroom casserole, is what.

[00:17:30] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah. It’s more, it kind of reminded me as an American of baked beens, but with a more French flavor. So, it’s something that if I hadn’t tried French cooking, I wouldn’t have tried something like that. Baked beans with these brown mushrooms on top, but you know, it inspired me to try it and I really liked the flavors of it.

[00:17:48] Cauliflower-au-vin

[00:17:48] Annie Sargent: Yeah, sounds good. What about cauliflower au vin. So that’s, coq-au-vin-inspired. So how do you do that?

[00:17:56] Sarala Terpstra: Well, one thing I liked about that is that I got to try the flambé So, you know, where you pour the Brandy or the alcohol into the pan and brown it. And Annie, I should ask you because you’re French, is that something people actually do in their homes or is that only a restaurant thing?

[00:18:11] Annie Sargent: As far as I’m concerned, it’s a restaurant thing, but there are probably French homes where they do it, just not mine. Not where I grew up, and not in my house.

[00:18:19] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, we definitely never did it in my house.

[00:18:21] Vegan coq-au-vin

[00:18:21] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I never make coq-au-vin anyways. Is coq-au-vin still a popular dish in France or is it more of a vintage dish?

[00:18:28] Annie Sargent: It’s kind of vintage by now.

[00:18:30] Annie Sargent: You know, because it would be really hard to find a coq instead of a chicken at a store. You used to be able to buy coq, which was cheaper than chicken. On pouvait acheter un coq ou un poulet.

[00:18:45] Annie Sargent: And maybe there are still some butchers that make the distinction. But if you wanted to make coq-au-vin today, you would just buy a chicken.

[00:18:54] A lot of dishes were people just being resourceful

[00:18:54] Annie Sargent: And the idea was to use the inexpensive, because the coq lives much longer than the chickens, so it’s a tougher meat. Usually, it’s a little smaller than the hens that are raised for meat, and so it’s a smaller animal and tougher. So that’s why it got cooked so long in wine.

[00:19:15] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, and it seems like what I’ve been learning, which I think is interesting about French food, is a lot of the famous classic dishes were actually ways to be resourceful. You know, like, like making a rooster soft or eating snails that, you know, the stereotype of eating snails, I was also a resourceful thing.

[00:19:34] Snails

[00:19:34] Annie Sargent: Yeah, the snail is perfect and doesn’t run away, you know, it’s like, easy target, poor snails. I don’t eat.

[00:19:42] And most French people I’ve talked to don’t eat snails.

[00:19:45] Sarala Terpstra: I think, it seems like a lot of our stereotypes with the French cuisine, at least from an Anglophone perspective, come from Julia Child, which is maybe why that vintage French recipes still live on.

[00:19:55] French cooking is not that complicated

[00:19:55] Annie Sargent: That could be, I mean, she did wonderful stuff, but if you still go by her recipes, she over-complicates stuff for no reason that I can think of.

[00:20:08] Annie Sargent: but It makes me happy to hear you say that, cause I tried using her cookbook as a inspirationwhen I first started, and then I would look at French recipes written by French people and it was 10 times simpler.

[00:20:20] Annie Sargent: Right. I mean, we don’t have all day. French moms who, maybe I shouldn’t say that, but it’s typically more often than not, it’s the mom that cooks and she has a lot of things going on and she cannot spend five hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. It’s not going to happen.

[00:20:40] Annie Sargent: Even on Sunday,we don’t. French women want to go on a long walk on a Sunday or on a bike ride or jog or something, they don’t want to be behind the stove all day. So it’s changed a lot. If you’re going to a professional restaurant with people who are paid to make this food, then they will take the time it takes.

[00:20:59] Annie Sargent: But at home we don’t do that.

[00:21:01] Sarala Terpstra: Yes. And I find French cooking, French home cooking from what I have experienced, wonderfully simple, and as for me being raised on Indian food, more is always better, you know, with our spices. So my Indian mother was the one who would spend two hours cooking a meal, and it was delicious and it was always add more, more vegetables, more spices.

[00:21:18] Sarala Terpstra: So I’ve had to change my way of thinking with French cooking, but a good learning process for me that just let the ingredients speak for themselves sometimes.

[00:21:26] Yeah, the French food is kind of plain from, the perspective of an Indian chef. They would be like, what, that has no flavor, you know, this is like horrible, it has no flavor and no spice and ugh, you know?

[00:21:42] Sarala Terpstra: Well, I do find when I read French recipes, I’m like: “only one clove of garlic?”

[00:21:47] Annie Sargent: Yeah.

[00:21:47] Sarala Terpstra: Like I’m going to use four.

[00:21:51] Annie Sargent: You’re entitled, you can do what you want, it’s your recipe. You can do what you want.

[00:21:57] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, I’m already breaking the rules. So…

[00:22:00] Vegan fondue Savoyarde

[00:22:00] Annie Sargent: So how do you do fondue savoyarde without cheese?

[00:22:04] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, that one took quite awhile to get the texture, to a cheese texture. I used cashews as the base with that, and then it’s something really cool when you’re like stirring it with tapioca starch on the stove for long enough, you just keep stirring and stirring and stirring, it actually starts to get stringy and take on a cheesy texture. And then I used, do you know, nutritional yeast?

[00:22:27] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, it’s very popular in France, actually, all the yeast. so that gives a nice cheese flavor. So I use that to flavor it.

[00:22:34] Vegan gratin dauphinois

[00:22:34] Annie Sargent: Ha! Interesting. Interesting. Then the next one is gratin dauphinois which I have to say, thank you for not sticking cheese in your gratin Dauphinois, because that is not right. There is no cheese in gratin Dauphinois. The typical French recipe it’s just potatoes and, well, there is cream, but no cheese. So what’d you do instead of the cream? I just used oat milk, and then cauliflower, I blended cauliflower into the oat milk to make it a little thicker.

[00:23:04] Annie Sargent: Hm.

[00:23:05] Sarala Terpstra: I watched a French cooking show where I watched them not use any cheese. And to me as an American, growing up with these cheesy, we call it potatoes au gratin, I’m sure you’ve had it in the States, it’s very cheesy.

[00:23:17] Sarala Terpstra: I was like, wait, there’s no cheese. So that was eye opening to me too, but it’s good just with the milk.

[00:23:22] Annie Sargent: Yes, yes, yes. You don’t need the cheese in that and yeah. Oh, very good.

[00:23:27] Vegan spinach souffle

[00:23:27] Annie Sargent: You have spinach souffle. So this is a souffle without eggs?

[00:23:32] Sarala Terpstra: Now, this is a very loose interpretation of souffle because I almost gave up on that recipe. I think there were some tears involved with that one, because souffle is egg, you know, and recreating that, the protein in the souffle that gets it to rise up and puff up.

[00:23:46] Sarala Terpstra: So, finally I did come up with using tofu and chickpea flour, I believe is what I used. I don’t remember the exact ingredients, but it just, it’s kind of fluffy and spongy, like the original souffle, but it doesn’t deflate like the real souffle would.

[00:24:02] Annie Sargent: Very nice. Very nice. For the exact ingredients, they’re just going to have to get the book, okay? That’s just how it works. If you want to make it, you got to have to get the blend of that.

[00:24:10] Vegan tomates farcies

[00:24:10] Annie Sargent: Tomates farcies. Okay, so tomates farcies in France is with pork, but you probably did mushrooms.

[00:24:18] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, I think I did mushrooms and quinoa.

[00:24:20] Annie Sargent: Ah, that would be good.

[00:24:22] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, because sometimes just mushrooms can be a little watery when you use it. For something like tomates farcies, I found I needed something dry to dry it out a little.

[00:24:31] Vegan tomato tart

[00:24:31] Annie Sargent: Yes. And then you have tomato tart, which is a favorite of mine. Now I’m going to look at your recipe, you put in it.

[00:24:37] Annie Sargent: Because, okay, it’s pretty much the same. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So the pastry crust,I don’t make my own pastry crusts. I’m a terrible French person, I guess. I just buy it, because it’s so good and so cheap.

[00:24:49] Sarala Terpstra: In France, you don’t need to make it. They have such a good variety of store-bought pastry crust here.

[00:24:55] Annie Sargent: Yeah, including vegan ones. Unless it says au pur beurre or au beurre, then there’s no butter in it, and then it’s vegan. So, there you go!

[00:25:05] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah So you do tomatoes and Dijon, which is what I do, and it’s so good. That is such, that’s such a good recipe and it takes hardly any time and you can just stick it in the oven, you know. It’s good for an appetizer as well. Easy summer dinner, I like that one.

[00:25:20] Yeah. All right.

[00:25:21] Vegan deserts

[00:25:21] Annie Sargent: Let’s keep the best for last. You have desserts. Tell me about your desserts.

[00:25:26] The desserts, I find shockingly are usually easier than the mains in French cooking, because sweet food is just good, you know? It’s not too hard, like where you were saying, like getting the flavors right, you know, with vegan French cooking, where they’re a little more simple with ingredients.

[00:25:42] Sarala Terpstra: But sweet food I found that making desserts, it’s just, it’s sugar, so it’s going to taste good, no matter what you do.

[00:25:50] Vegan clafoutis

[00:25:50] Sarala Terpstra: I think one thing that was a little bit of a struggle for me was the clafoutis, because mine still, I think, cracks a little bit. Getting a vegan clafoutis that has that kind of eggy, custard texture. But the flavor was good, in the end.

[00:26:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah, that’s good, and you go after the flavor really more than the appearance, I think.

[00:26:10] Reproducing cheese using vegetables

[00:26:10] Annie Sargent: You know, there are some very fancy chefs that are trying to reproduce French cheeses using vegetable ingredients. But that would take a lot of practice and a lot of tries.

[00:26:23] Annie Sargent: and you just have. Yeah, that’s a science. So you need to buy those. I mean, I can’t imagine making Camembert. There’s even chefs that make something like foie gras, but it’s vegan.

[00:26:35] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, I’ve tried. I just tried store bought from the stores in France that had the vegan products. The foie gras was very good, and I even had a vegan blue cheese, which was amazing. I was shocked.

[00:26:46] Annie Sargent: So, where’d you find those?

[00:26:47] Not at small bio stores, but large. The big bio stores tend to carry these kind of famous French brands.

[00:26:54] Sarala Terpstra: One brand I really like that’s French, is called Jay & Joy Market and they’re based in Paris, and they’ve been doing those kinds of scientific vegan cheeses. And it’s really good. Yeah.

[00:27:04] Annie Sargent: Wow. I’m going to have to try that.

[00:27:07] Sarala Terpstra: Jay & Joy Market

[00:27:10] Sarala Terpstra: But their vegan products are some of the best I’ve ever had. And the vegan cheese I’ve had in France has been better than any of the vegan cheese I had in the States, which in a way it makes sense.

[00:27:19] You know, this is the cheese special here.

[00:27:22] Annie Sargent: Yeah, they have to try a little harder. Because we actually eat a lot of cheese here, and French people, they’re not shy to tell you it’s crap.

[00:27:29] Sarala Terpstra: They’re going to be more critical.

[00:27:30] Annie Sargent: So if they think it’s crap, they’re going to tell you it’s crap.

[00:27:33] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah. That makes sense.

[00:27:35] We don’t sugarcoat it so much.

[00:27:37] Sarala Terpstra: Well, it makes the food taste good, that’s for sure.

[00:27:40] Favorite vegan meals you can make at home

[00:27:40] I suppose. So tell me, you know, some nice vegan kind of meals you like to put together, maybe with a French bend, what would you do?

[00:27:49] Sarala Terpstra: Hmm. Well, actually today we had a nice lunch. I needed to clean out my fridge and I had endives, a whole bag of them, and they were going brown, and they had some leeks that were also going brown.

[00:27:58] Vegan braised endives

[00:27:58] Sarala Terpstra: So I did braised endives which I’ve been slowly working on. I think that’s a skill that I’m working on to get just the right flavor, because they have that bitter flavor, but I’m working on getting to the point where the bitterness is good.

[00:28:11] Annie Sargent: Yes.

[00:28:12] It’s the end of endive season. It’s a winter kind of vegetable, and so they are getting bitter. I had some endives last night as well, and I thought, eh, stop buying those.

[00:28:25] Sarala Terpstra: I did not know that they got more bitter towards the end of the season, that’s good to know.

[00:28:29] Annie Sargent: They do, yeah.

[00:28:30] Vegan leeks and chicken

[00:28:30] Sarala Terpstra: But then I also had, I’ve seen a recipe in a French magazine for leeks and chicken, which looked really good. And I had my leeks to use up, so I did that, but of course I used my cauliflower instead of the chicken. I just browned it. And then put it in with the leeks, and I did oat milk instead of cream. And it was simple and very good.

[00:28:48] Vegan fondue de poireaux

[00:28:48] Annie Sargent: There’s a recipe called fondue de poireaux that you classically make with butter, but you could make it with vegetable spread, and you just slice the poireaux, the leeks, very kind of in a food processor, so they are evenly sliced and very thin. you need plenty of fat, whatever fat you use.

[00:29:08] And then very slowly, they will cook. And I usually add a little bit of broth, just they cook down. It has to cook down for a good hour, and it’s just very delicious. Even people who don’t really like vegetables will eat that very gladly. And by people who don’t like vegetables, I mean my husband.

[00:29:30] Leeks are underrated and used a lot in France

[00:29:30] Sarala Terpstra: Well, I haven’t met a leek dish that I don’t like, and I was not raised on leeks at all, and I really never cooked them until I started cooking French food. So, I think they’re absolutely delicious. I don’t know why we don’t eat them more in the States.

[00:29:42]

[00:29:42] Sarala Terpstra: They’re so good. And just plain, just even just boiled.

[00:29:44] Annie Sargent: I like to boil them and cool them, and then just put a little bit of vinaigrette on top. It’s so good. It’s a really nice appetizer, they’re delicious.

[00:29:54] Cauliflower florets

[00:29:54] Annie Sargent: Another thing that I’ve liked a lot is cauliflower florets with a little bit of spray olive oil on top, and a little bit of whatever spice you like.

[00:30:06] Annie Sargent: I happen to like, it’s an American, it’s kind of a similar thing, like a steak.

[00:30:13] Sarala Terpstra: Oh, was it like lemon pepper? It’s not a lemon pepper, there’s one that’s called steak seasoning or something, steakhouse seasoning or something of the sort.

[00:30:22] Annie Sargent: And yeah, and it’s very good. And of course, obviously there’s no meat in the seasoning.

[00:30:29] You can just do that on top of your cauliflower florets in the air fryer, for 10 minutes and then I poke them to see if they’re done and, oh, it’s really good. Really good.

[00:30:42] Using an air fryer

[00:30:42] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, I don’t have an air fryer, but I do think I need to get one from what I’ve heard.

[00:30:46] You don’t need to do it in the air fryer, you could do it in the regular convection oven, because an air fryer is nothing but a convection oven. It’s just that it’s just two of us now, and I don’t like to turn on the big oven unless I’m cooking for more people. So for just the two of us, I use the air fryer, and it cooks faster in an air fryer because the cavity is so much smaller.

[00:31:07] The air doesn’t have anywhere to go, whereas in a big oven, you’re heating this big cavity, and you’re using a lot more energy, and if you only have a little bit of food in the center, it takes longer. So yeah, they have a lot of advantages, but honestly, it’s just a convection oven, is what it is.

[00:31:26] Sarala Terpstra: Good. Well, I can still try it then.

[00:31:28] Annie Sargent: Yes, you can try stuff like that. Or even in a barbecue, you could make that in a barbecue if you have one.

[00:31:34] Sarala Terpstra: Oh yeah, that would be good.

[00:31:35] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So, oh, or it would be really good with Chipotle seasoning because that’s a little spicy, so just a little sprayed oil, Chipotle seasoning, cauliflower in the oven. Good. One of our favorites, it’s not French at all, but being Americans, we love, we used to love wings, Buffalo wings. So we do cauliflower wings with the Buffalo sauce and it’s actually, it kind of hits the spot.

[00:31:57] Buffalo sauce

[00:31:57] That’s good. I’ve never thought of doing. So Buffalo sauce, what’s in Buffalo sauce? Is it like a fat with spices?

[00:32:05] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, I think it’s usually made, you know, Frank’s Red Hot sauce. It’s that mixed with butter, but you know, we do olive oil, although I haven’t found Frank’s in France, so we haven’t had it since we moved here.

[00:32:14] Annie Sargent: Yeah, we have lots of hot sauces.

[00:32:17] Sarala Terpstra: True.

[00:32:17] Annie Sargent: Any hot sauce would work, I think. I mean, I have some Franks that I brought back from the US, and it never goes bad, that thing, I don’t know, what’s in it.

[00:32:25] Annie Sargent: It’s like Crisco.

[00:32:26] Sarala Terpstra: So much vinegar in it.

[00:32:27] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it’s like Crisco, it never dies. But I keep sniffing it, I’m like, is this still safe you No, we’re good.

[00:32:37] Annie Sargent: You can put some in the dish. So how do you cook the cauliflower when you make it for wings?

[00:32:44] I think we would do it in the oven.Like I said, it’s been a few months since we did it. We did it back in the States, but I think we roasted the cauliflower in the oven first, to get it nice and crispy and then toss it in the sauce maybe while in the oven. It’s always is good to finish it off with some fresh sauce or at the end too.

[00:33:01] Vegan sauces and dips

[00:33:01] Especially with the vegan wings. I think that’s how we did it. And then we would make like a vegan ranch dipping with a vegan mayo.

[00:33:07] Annie Sargent: You have some really good ideas. So, everybody out there, just because you’re in France doesn’t mean that you can’t eat vegan, or if you’re visiting France and you would like to eat vegan, there’s probably some.

[00:33:18] How do you find vegan restaurants in France?

[00:33:18] Annie Sargent: How do you find vegan restaurants in France for when you can’t make food at home?

[00:33:23] Sarala Terpstra: Well, I was just in Montpellier yesterday and they have several fully vegan restaurants there, probably at least four. It seems like the bigger cities are pretty easy to find vegan restaurants now, the only downside is if you’re on vacation in France, there’s a good chance you want French food and I haven’t found, hardly any traditional French restaurants that are vegan. So it’s going to be more curries and bowls and wraps and smoothies, things like that, that most of the bigger restaurants in France, but you know, it’s good if you need that.

[00:33:51] Annie Sargent: But if you go to starred restaurants or even the Michelin Bib restaurants where you pay €70, €80 and up per person, without the wine, those typically have a vegan option, okay? It’s just the inexpensive French fare where it’s hard to find something, but if you’re willing to pay and if you’re willing, like when I do itinerary reviews with people, I always send them a list of restaurants and I visit their websites. And most of these restaurants, even if they never used to, by now, they have vegan, they have a vegan option. They often don’t have several,

[00:34:29] Sarala Terpstra: oh

[00:34:30] Annie Sargent: But they have one. Now of course, if you are the sort of vegan who can’t eat next to somebody who’s eating meat, then that wouldn’t work. But I haven’t met very many vegan eaters who cared that much.

[00:34:43] Annie Sargent: I mean,you know, most of them, because if you care that much you really need to do everything at home.

[00:34:48] Sarala Terpstra: I think the most people who are traveling are probably used to eating in differentcircumstances, vegans sort of traveling or.

[00:34:55] Now breads obviously are all vegan.

[00:34:57] Sarala Terpstra: Yes, thankfully, baguette is vegan.

[00:35:02] Annie Sargent: Fries are vegan, obviously, you know. there’s always something you can eat, but it would be better if you plan. I think that’s the trick, is when you’re vegan, you need to plan on where are you going to eat and which apps do you use in France to find vegan restaurants?

[00:35:19] Which apps can you find vegan restaurants on in France?

[00:35:19] Sarala Terpstra: I really only use Google Maps because I love that it has the most recent reviews. Because oftentimes, if you’ve used, like there is a vegan app called, I think is it called holy cow?

[00:35:30] Annie Sargent: Happy cow.

[00:35:31] Sarala Terpstra: Happy cow, even you know it. Well, I should know that.

[00:35:35] Annie Sargent: I’ve used it, it’s good.

[00:35:36] Sarala Terpstra: But it sometimes has outdated information on it. And what I like about Google is, because it sucks when you plan a restaurant and you go and it’s closed. Especially after the pandemic, so many things have closed, but Google usually, you can see that someone was there two days ago and the most updated hours and stuff are on there. But even then I’ve still had it sometimes where we would plan quite a few times to go to a vegan restaurant, on Google, et cetera, what they were open, everything we got there and they do the, fermeture exceptionnelle like a random closing, is that what it is?

[00:36:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Yeah. That’s like, oh, I decided I’m not working today. Bye-bye.

[00:36:08] Sarala Terpstra: Yeah, so in that case, the best thing we could do is just, okay, where’s the nearest Asian reastaurant? That’s where we’re going to find vegan options.

[00:36:17] Do Indian restaurants in France have good vegan options?

[00:36:17] Annie Sargent: Do Indian restaurants in France usually have good vegan options?

[00:36:21] Sarala Terpstra: Ah, yes. Yeah. Asian or Indian or even Middle Eastern, yeah. Any of those would be good options, usually.

[00:36:27] Where to find Sarala’s cookbook?

[00:36:27] Annie Sargent: And Sounds good, okay. So tell us the name of your cookbook, Tell us where people can find it and all of that good stuff.

[00:36:35] Sarala Terpstra: Oh, sure. My cookbook is “Vegan French Favorites: 30 Beloved French Recipes Re-imagined,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like in the book. I also in the book have a little guide in the beginning about ingredients for substitutions and where to find them, and you can get my cookbook on my website or on Amazon that’s Saralaterpstra.com.

[00:36:54] Sarala Terpstra: I also recently just started recorded cooking classes for more in-depth kind of technical things, for learning stuff like that. So that will also be on my website. And I’m on Instagram too, @SaralaTerpstra.

[00:37:06] Annie Sargent: And, I don’t go to Instagram very much, but the stuff of yours I’ve seen is lovely, and you have a lot of very good ideas. Wonderful!

[00:37:15] How is Béziers?

[00:37:15] Annie Sargent: I have to ask you because you just moved to Béziers. How do you like Béziers then?

[00:37:19] Sarala Terpstra: We, I’m not sure how French people will feel about it, but for us as Americans, we’re like, this is amazing because it’s really old. So, it has very much a faded kind of grandeur to it, like the buildings are really old, so we see history everywhere.And one thing I do like about it is since we don’t have a car, like we were just in Montpelier yesterday, and it takes much longer to get around the city, they have a very convenient tram. But in Béziers, it’s just big enough that it has everything for us, but it’s small enough that we can walk anywhere from our apartment. So it is very convenient for where we’re at right now.

[00:37:52] No bank account and visa

[00:37:52] Annie Sargent: Right. So, when we last talked a few months ago, well, no, maybe it was two months ago, you were still in the process of trying to open a bank account, and you were still thinking about switching your tourist visa to a regular visa. Have you made progress on any of those?

[00:38:09] Not really because, so yesterday the reason we were in Montpellier was for an appointment to get our titre de séjour. That will finally be able to lead to us getting a bank account, Because then we can show the proof that we have a legal right to be here. That was supposed to happen within three months of us being here, but I think it just got pushed back because of the pandemic, because they didn’t call us in until four and a half months in.

[00:38:31] Sarala Terpstra: So now that’s done, it’s finished, we got that, so now we can actually go and try to get our bank account. And then hopefully, in the future, if we look for an apartment, it will be easier.

[00:38:41] Annie Sargent: Oh yes. So now you have a titre de séjour. And is that for a year?

[00:38:46] Sarala Terpstra: It’s for the remainder of our time here, which we got here in November, so up until the end of October, and then we have to renew. We have the right to renew it, to a request for a renewal, so we can do that two months out from the deadline, the expiration.

[00:39:01] Annie Sargent: Right, right, right. Yeah. They don’t want you to apply for that now.

[00:39:03] Annie Sargent: No.

[00:39:04] Annie Sargent: Yeah, yeah. Too early.

[00:39:05] Annie Sargent: All right, well, that seems to be progressing slowly, but surely as things do in France. This is normal for anybody listening, this is normal.

[00:39:15] It’s all worth it.

[00:39:16] Annie Sargent: Right, we don’t do anything very fast here, so, but I’m glad you’re enjoying Béziers.

[00:39:21] Annie Sargent: I think it’s a lovely city, you know, it has a reputation of being very right-wing and all of that.

[00:39:27] Sarala Terpstra: Yes, we’ve heard that. But if you can ignore politics, you’ll be fine.

[00:39:30] Sarala Terpstra: And we can, because we don’t speak the language very well, so we don’t really know what’s going on. We get handed flyers all the time and there’s like little protests and stuff, but we were, you know, ignorance is bliss. We’re just happy to be in France.

[00:39:42] Any discrimination?

[00:39:42] Annie Sargent: And you haven’t seen any, I mean, I’m just asking this, because I know you’re of Indian origin, you haven’t had any discrimination based on that?

[00:39:50] No, and I actually am surprised that Béziers is so far right-wing, because there’s a huge immigrant population here. Huge. It’s actually one of the most diverse French cities I’ve seen. So I think that’s a little, it was a little ironic.

[00:40:02] Sarala Terpstra: But no, everyone actually here is very nice.

[00:40:05] Because it’s a smaller city and they’re not as used to tourists, generally people will not switch to English with me, which I really appreciate. They just keep speaking French to me. And they’re usually very curious and strike up a conversation about what I’m doing here andthey want to, you know, like tell me about all the stuff to do in Béziers and stuff.

[00:40:22] Sarala Terpstra: So. I appreciate that.

[00:40:24] Annie Sargent: That’s good.

[00:40:25] Annie Sargent: And plus you have an adorable little daughter, so she probably breaks up the ice really nicely.

[00:40:30] Annie Sargent: Kids are great for that, and many other things as well, obviously. Okay.

[00:40:36] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much, Sarala. It was lovely talking to you again and I recommend your book. You sent me a copy, it’s lovely, it’s well done.

[00:40:42] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much. Yeah, I think people who want to cook vegan, whether they are doing it in France or in America, would enjoy getting some inspiration from that. So thank you.

[00:40:52] Sarala Terpstra: Thank you, it’s been an honor. Thank you.

[00:40:54] Annie Sargent: Merci beaucoup et au revoir.

[00:40:57] Sarala Terpstra: Au revoir.

[00:40:57] Thank you, patrons

[00:40:57] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing so, and you can see them at patreon.com/JoinUs. PA T R E O N, Join Us no spaces or dashes. Thank you all for supporting the show.

[00:41:23] Annie Sargent: Some of you have been with me for a long time. Thank you so very much.

[00:41:26] Annie Sargent: And a shout out this week to one new patron. No, but I’m grateful for her. Isabel Brones is the new patron. Thank you so much for becoming a patron and making this podcast possible. This week, Elyse came over to record an episode and we got chatting about our summer plans. So we thought, oh, let’s record this and share it with our patrons.

[00:41:50] Annie Sargent: Elyse also has a Patreon page and it’s patreon.com/elysart. E L Y S A R T. That’s hers. So we recorded our chitchat and she’s going to share it with her patrons, I’ll share it with my patrons, and it’s a wonderful way for you to get a peek behind the scenes. And PayPal donors and episode guests that have an account on addictedtofrance.com, can also watch this video, if they go to addictedtofrance.com.

[00:42:21] Itinerary consult / Voicemap tours

[00:42:21] Annie Sargent: If you’re preparing a trip to France and listening to as many episodes as you can to get ready, keep listening. It’s a great way to do it. I do recommend that you search the website to find relevant episodes because, you know, the show titles are too short and the episodes are very long, and we mention a lot of great resources, all throughout the episodes.

[00:42:42] Annie Sargent: Of course, you can also hire me to be your itinerary consultant. You purchase the service on joinusinfrance.com/boutique, you tell me about your dream trip to France and I get to work on all the things that you need to know to have a great trip to France. I send you a document, and we also talk about it on the phone for about an hour, and it’s really fun. My time is booked up until the last week of June, but if your trip isn’t right away, right away, I’d love to talk to you about it.

[00:43:13] Annie Sargent: But if you cannot talk to me because I’m all booked up, you can still take me in your pocket by getting my GPS self-guided tours on the VoiceMap app. I’ve produced five tours and they are designed to show you around different iconic neighborhoods of Paris.

[00:43:30] Annie Sargent: In the tour, I tell you about all the things around you, the museums, churches, famous spots, the cafes, the restaurants, the people who made this area so iconic. If you walk one of my tours without stopping, it’ll take you 60 to 90 minutes, but if you stop at all the cool places that I recommend, it’ll take you most of the day.

[00:43:53] Annie Sargent: So you’re in charge of the schedule. You can do it quick, you can do it slow, but it’s a great way to enjoy a neighborhood.

[00:44:00] Annie Sargent: And these tours are also really cost-effective. If you buy them directly from me, on the boutique, you get a nice discount because we bypass the 30% royalty that normally goes to the app store. So there’s no excuse. You will have a wonderful time in Paris, I guarantee it. Take a look at joinusinfrance.com/boutique.

[00:44:21] Related episodes

[00:44:21] Annie Sargent: If you enjoyed this episode, you might also want to listen to Episode 311 about easy French recipes you can make at home, where I talk about all the recipes that I included in my cookbook, “Join Us at the Table.”

[00:44:34] French tip of the week

[00:44:34] Annie Sargent: For the French tip of the week, I want to answer something that came up in the Facebook group. Maryanne asked, ” After one says, bonjour in a store, how do you say, I’m just looking? I have a heavy Southern accent and don’t speak any French,” she says, “so it needs to be as simple as possible.”

[00:44:53] Annie Sargent: That’s a very good question, Maryanne. Two people answered and as often happens on Facebook, one was right and the other was not. Here’s how it goes, you go into a small store and you say bonjour, and then the sales person asks if they can help you. You should answer “Je regarde” or “Je regarde, merci.” This means I’m just looking.

[00:45:16] Annie Sargent: The wrong answer was, “Je cherche,” because that means I’m searching, and if you say to a clerk that you’re searching, even in America, they say, what are you searching for? Let me help you, right? And the point is no, no, I don’t want help, I want to just look. So, you just say “Je regarde, merci.”

[00:45:33] This week in French news

[00:45:33] Annie Sargent: This week in French news, well, last week I told you that French political parties were reorganizing around coalitions and that they think they can help them win more seats in parliament.

[00:45:44] Annie Sargent: This is also a time when political parties change names, which is why French politics can be a little bit hard to follow. Last month, Emmanuel Macron ran for reelection as the head of a party called La Republique en Marche, also known as LREM. When he ran five years ago, his party was called “En Marche” or EM.

[00:46:09] Annie Sargent: And the fact that that EM are also his initials was a little, you know, strange, perhaps a whiff of self-importance, but of course, somebody who runs for president is, you know, full of themselves, like this is true in every country. But they changed it. Now, Emmanuel Macron’s party is going to be called Renaissance, so “rebirth” and the coalition he formed with other political parties is called Ensemble, “together.”

[00:46:37] Annie Sargent: Left-wing parties are also reorganizing and changing names. We have La Nouvelle Union Populaire écologique et sociale, also known as, NUPES, N U P E S. It’s a ridiculous name, if you ask me.

[00:46:54] Annie Sargent: Marine Le Pen is not making alliances with anyone because, you know, that’s not how she rolls and that’s also way she’ll probably get very few seats in parliament. She had only 12 the last few years. She took two weeks off after losing the election, and you know, that doesn’t show a lot of dedication, but she’s probably right. No matter what she does, she’s probably not going to have that many seats in parliament, maybe 25 seats, you know, out of 577. So the prospects are not good.

[00:47:26] Annie Sargent: Last week, Emmanuel Macron started his second and last term officially. There was a small ceremony at the Elysée Palace, it was on TV, but it was a much smaller affair than the start of his first term, obviously. They fired the cannons 21 times at Les Invalides. They had a few receptions, you know, but it was kind of low-key.

[00:47:48] Annie Sargent: French presidents do not take an oath, instead the president of our Constitutional Council and his name is Laurent Fabius, who served as the prime minister under François Mitterrand, so he’s a socialist. Laurent Fabius stood in front of the president and announced the exact number of votes that Macron got. Then they shook hands and it’s done. That’s it. This is done in front of a few hundred guests that had gotten an invitation from the president, and this time he invited politicians and officials as well as their families, so there were a lot of kids in the audience, which was a little bit unusual.

[00:48:29] The Cluny Museum is open again

[00:48:29] Annie Sargent: For a brief travel update, The Cluny Museum reopened this week and they’re now done with 10 years of renovations. Most of that time, the museum was partially open, but now it’s fully open and they won’t be doing anything to it for a long time.

[00:48:47] Annie Sargent: I heard an interview with a lady who runs the museum and she explained what they were trying to do with these renovations. They needed to make the Cluny more accessible, both in terms of physical accessibility, they added lots of elevators and completely modified the entrance, but especially in terms of making the collections more approachable intellectually.

[00:49:10] Annie Sargent: The Cluny is fascinating because it is a museum dedicated to the Middle Ages, but it’s also a major Roman site. They used to sort exhibits by themes, I can’t remember what the themes were, but it made no sense.

[00:49:24] Annie Sargent: Now you can see everything in chronological order, from oldest to newest. So you start with a Roman Baths and then you move on to the Middle Ages, then they display the, you know, the giant heads that came down from the Row of Kings on Notre Dame and that’s late 1200s. And then you end with the Lady and the Unicorn, because that tapestry is from the 1500s. I cannot wait to see it again, it’s such a wonderful museum, but it’s going to be busy for the next few months, so I recommend you book your tickets in advance.

[00:49:57]

[00:49:57] No more mask mandates on public transportation in France

[00:49:57] Annie Sargent: Starting next Monday, so tomorrow, if you listen to the show, as soon as it comes out, the masks are not going to be mandatory in public transportation any more in France. So that means not mandatory in the Metro, not in the taxi, not anywhere. So for flights, it’s a EU directive that you said we’re dropping mask mandates on flights starting on Monday.

[00:50:26] Annie Sargent: So really, the last place where you have to put a mask on in France is if you do anything medical. Even my veterinarian requires masks, so, you know, you do have to have a mask in your bag, but they’re not mandatory in very many places anymore, and of course, the health minister said, well, it’s not mandatory, but we recommend that you wear a mask in the Metro.

[00:50:51] You know, the truth is they were not enforcing these rules very well, because people have had it, and so why have rules when you don’t enforce them? That doesn’t seem to make any sense. And I’m certain that if a variant raises its ugly head, we’ll go back to more restrictions, but for the time being, that’s where we are. Very few masks anywhere.

[00:51:16] Annie Sargent: I still wear a mask in some places, you know, it’s just, if I feel like it, that’s how it works.

[00:51:23] Annie’s personal update

[00:51:23] Annie Sargent: For my personal update this week, it’s been a busy week for me again. I recorded two trip reviews and one episode with Elyse. I also did itinerary reviews every day. I squeezed in a couple more because they are going so soon.

[00:51:38] Annie Sargent: I also visited the lovely town of Lautrec in the Tarn. I ate garlic soup for the first time, and I was surprised by how good it is. I lined up an episode about it with a special guest, and you’ll hear about that in a few, well, probably by September.

[00:51:53] Annie Sargent: And this weekend I plan to make Confit d’ail. Confit d’ail is when you cook garlic very slowly, low heat, uh, in olive oil. And then when it’s all nice and cooked and mushy, you squish it all and you use it as a paste. So either as a base for pizza or on crackers. It’s absolutely fabulous. So I bought the garlic, now I just need to sit there and peel all of it and make it.

[00:52:19] Annie Sargent: And this week I also need to plant my tomatoes because it’s getting hot, you know, it’s time to plant the tomatoes, so, uh, I’m always too busy. I haven’t been bored in a long time. I guess that’s good.

[00:52:33] Annie Sargent: Show notes and full transcript for this episode are on joinusinfrance.com/389, the numeral. And remember if you have friends visiting France soon, help them plan their visits and tell them about the podcast.

[00:52:48] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode about the pilgrimage of Compostelle with Elyse. Such a fascinating tradition that still goes on today, and I know many of you listening have walked some or all of it, and many of you are thinking about it, so it’s a fascinating topic.

[00:53:07] Annie Sargent: Send questions or feedback to annie@joinusinfrance.com. Thank you so much for listening and I hope you join me next time, so we can look around France together.

[00:53:17] Annie Sargent: Au-revoir.

[00:53:18] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France travel podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2022, by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, no derivatives license.

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Category: French Food & Wine