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Category: Food (Page 2 of 2)

A Looming Thr(eat)

C.R.O.U.S. Cafeteria (Photo courtesy of Crous Website, www.crous-lorraine.fr/restaurant/technopole.)

As many of you know already from my last anecdotal blog post, I, Sam Burke, know very little about the French language. This past week has been basically a sit-com called “Watch Sam Struggle Ordering Anything!” However, I am definitely getting the hang of certain phrases that have to do with ordering food. I recently learned the magic words “Je voudrais…” meaning, “Can/May I have…” Ever since then, I’ve gone full broken record, starting pretty much every single thing I say to the employees with that phrase. I’ve also been eating a lot of pig lately as the word for pork in French is the same as English but with a “c” instead of a “k.” On Thursday, when I finally got the courage and fake accent to go out for the first time and ask the cafeteria worker if I could, in fact, have the pork, it ended up not being pork at all, but rather beef. Still, they understood me, handed me a lump of beef, and for that, I am quite proud of myself. I wouldn’t say I am fluent, but I do feel confident enough to order pork that may or may not be pork!

 

Stir fry ingredients I prepared from my grocery store adventures.

It definitely seems like most of my interaction with the French language has been centered around food. I’m just a hungry American trying to climb over the – quite formidable – language barrier so I can get a bite to eat. I feel successful, yet highly incompetent when I go out shopping and say only three words to the cashier while checking out: “Bonjour,” “Carte” (a.k.a. credit card), and “Merci.” Oh well, I’m learning, and at least I got my food.

 

Despite how intimidating the French language can be, especially when the  group of people I go out with never seems to include any French speakers, I’ve found that there are always people there who are willing to try to help. For one, even those who don’t speak English will gesture and make hand motions to try and help you understand what they are trying to say. But also, a lot of French citizens speak quite good English, and many of these people are willing to meet you halfway (or 3/4 in my case) when they see you struggling with the language.

Just this last weekend, I was with my friend at the train station bus stop trying to figure out how to get home in a way that didn’t involve waiting for an hour for a bus to come. As we were talking and trying to make sense of the bus map, a middle-aged French gentleman must have overheard us and chimed in to our conversation, explaining (in perfect English) exactly what line we needed to take and where to get off. He even helped us identify the stop as it was approaching so we could signal the driver to stop. Little acts of kindness like that go a long way, and have definitely helped to shape my impression of France as an incredibly hospitable and gracious country, and inspire me to try to pay it forward, so to speak, and help any visitors to America I may encounter if the opportunity presents itself.

I now leave you with the ever-so-interesting segment, ‘French Word Of The Week’!

Habit (noun): clothing, outfit

Example in a Frenglish conversation-

Joel: “Hey, that’s a nice habit!”

Sam: *Dressed to the nines and biting his nails* “Is that supposed to be sarcastic?”

Note from the editor: The French don't pronounce the letter "H" as we do in English, so it will probably sound more like you coughed on the first letter, and they don't say the last letter generally, so it'd be pronounced more like - "abee."

 

A Tribute to Kebabs

Posted by Harry

A typical kebab shop. Photo courtesy of Wien Bellaria Kebab Pizza.

“This past weekend, kebabs accounted for 6 of my 9 meals.”

“Yo man, I literally had the best kebab EVER in Nice!”

“Do you prefer Doner or Durum Kebabs? I have to say, I’m much more of a Doner fellow.”

-overheard at the GTL Lounge after a weekend.

Okay, you caught me red-handed. I completely made these quotes up. However (!), and I believe anyone who currently attends or has attended GTL in the past, can back me up that these quotes are completely valid in the sense that these could be real quotes; it’s just that no one has said them yet until now.

So why this craze over kebabs? Well for one, they’re extremely cost efficient in terms of both price and value. Around Europe, you can probably swing a kebab around for about 5 euros, and it’s usually only 2 more euros for fries and a drink. That makes for a full Georgia Tech-Lorraine student and a happy wallet. These kebabs are also massive! Like, they stuff them full with meat and veggies. Also, another quick benefit I’d like to throw in is that it’s very quick and convenient! You can find multiple kebab shops in any town, and they usually make it fresh and in a jiffy right there for you. The fellow GTL-ers and I have definitely had our good share of kebabs, and to that we praise:

“Kebabs are not a way of life; the way of life are kebabs.”

Making the Most of the “B” in Belgium

Posted by Harry

There are a lot of terms closely associated with Belgium that begins with the letter “B.” Some, namely, are Brussels, Bruges, and Bwaffles (if you didn’t already know, the “B” is silent).

Brussels

The Grand Place at night.

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a very modern city. It’s filled with people and has a huge industrial buildings scattered throughout the city. However, it’s most notably known for the Grote Markt/Grand Place at its heart. Oh my, oh my, how beautiful it was. The neat thing is you’re surrounded by gorgeous structures on all four sides if you stand in the middle. This place used to the hub for all the different guild’s that fostered the economy of Belgium long ago and is filled with rich history.

Bruges

The Markt of Bruges.

Bruges is a quaint little town about an hour north of Brussels. On the map, it looks fairly tiny. When you get there however, you find that there’s just so many things to do! I didn’t set my expectations too high when visiting but after a day there, I was pleasantly satisfied and more. Bruges also has a Markt area in the center of town where you’re also surrounded by magnificent architecture all around. As you head out in any cardinal direction from there, you’ll find parks, river tours, windmills, museums, and all sorts of random things to see/explore.

Bwaffles

If you went to Belgium and didn’t get a “Bwaffle,” did you really go to Belgium?

The answer is, yes, I did, and here was my yummy Belgium waffle that I had in the Grand Place.

Shopping at CORA

I’d like to compare the CORA sign to Eyes of T.J. Eckleburg in “The Great Gatsby,” because CORA is always watching.

I’d like to introduce you to CORA. A nickname I call CORA is “The Provider”, since it contains everything you could possibly need to survive a semester (and more!) at Georgia Tech Lorraine. Its American twin would be Super Wal-Mart.

Upon my first visit to CORA, I was a little lost. I had to get my backpack plastic wrapped by security, the signs were all in French, and I had no idea what I needed to get for my dorm room. So I did the only logical thing: walk up and down CORA’s (estimated) 50 aisles to see what I needed. I spent much more time than I should have, but through this process I got everything I needed in the moment, saw things I would need in the future, and made a mental map of this grocery labyrinth.

Some general tips and tricks I have:

1) Bring your own shopping bags and backpacks. No bags are provided so one must carry it all the way back with their own bags. As I mentioned from an earlier blog, travel backpacks are excellent for this.
2) Bring a 1€ coin. This is the deposit needed to get a shopping cart, much like Aldi’s in America. There are these blue rolling shopping baskets, but the cart comes in clutch for both keeping your backpacks and bags in and also for the large amount of groceries one trip has.
3) Eggs and milk are stored refrigerated…so wander about aimlessly in the refrigerated aisle for 10 minutes as someone did…
4) Be open to trying new foods! We’re in France, so there are many things that don’t normally get eaten in the US that are wonderful.

And lastly, be good to CORA, and CORA will be good to you. 🙂

Le Déjeuner

posted by Morgan

Lunch, otherwise known as “le déjeuner,” is the most important meal of the day in France. Fortunately for us Georgia Tech students, most of whom can probably solve a triple integral with more ease than cooking some chicken, lunch is provided to us at the local cafeteria.

Please do not be alarmed by my use of the word “cafeteria.” It is not the horrifying place most of us remember from high school, where the pizza is equivalent to cardboard and the frozen peas are still frozen. In fact I have had a few friends that say it is as good as their mother’s cooking (I was blessed with an extraordinary cook for a mother so I can only go so far to say that it is “pretty good”).

During the first few weeks here, the process of actually obtaining the food was a little stressful. Yes, you stand in line and grab the food as you go down the aisle, but they have a very strict policy on how much of each item you can get. For example, you can get two items from the last section which has fruits, desserts, cheese, and yogurt but only one item from the first section, which consists of appetizers and salads. If you take more than the allotted amount you will have a French woman waving her finger disapprovingly at you and grumbling some unidentifiable words. But if you take less than the allotted amount, for instance you skip the chocolate mousse dessert, you will still get the same disapproving response. There is the added fact that they only allow you a maximum of two meager ketchup packets which, as an American, just seems unjustifiably tragic to me on those days they serve french fries. After about a month here though, I can confidently say that I have mastered the process of going through the lunch line. Now I just pass on through and then find a seat at a table with friends, enjoying that french bread we students so eagerly chow down on but then later regret eating.

The entrees are always tasty too. Each day is different. Sometimes it is hot dogs wrapped in bacon and cheese. Other days it is pasta with butter and tomato sauce. The most special day so far was when we had croissants that were filled with some type of magical goodness. In short, everyone’s lunch tray is covered with various foods. Overall, our cafeteria, Crous, is a nice place to eat lunch, catch up with friends, and enjoy a break from classes. It might not be the student center with Chick-fil-A or North Ave. with an ice-cream machine, but it we enjoy it all the same.

Where to Eat Near Georgia Tech-Lorraine

Unlike at the Georgia campus, dinner is not included in any of the meal plans for the GTL student. This means that every evening each GTL student needs to fend for themselves. No need to worry though as there are several options for dinner. There is the obvious option to cook dinner in the dorms, but for those times when you’re too busy to cook here are your options:

Paul

Image source: Paul.fr

Image source: Paul.fr

Paul is located about halfway between Lafayette and the GTL building. Paul has several options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Throughout the day they have fresh baked bread, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. Each day they have a slightly different selection, making sure that you don’t get bored eating the same thing every day.

 

Crous

CROUS dining hall

CROUS dining hall

While dinner isn’t included in the meal plan, lunch at Crous is included. That being said for 3€ dinner at Crous can be purchased. Dinner at Crous typically includes a choice of two entrees, one seafood option and one non-seafood meat options. Some of the options included so far this semester were chicken fingers, ham and grilled cheese, pork and macaroni, among others. They have a variety of cold sides each night including oranges, apples, watermelon, a variety of cheeses, yogurt, and mousse. One or two hot sides are available each night as well such as scalloped potatoes, green beans, and pasta.

 

La Boite à Pizza

Image source: laboiteapizza.com

Image source: laboiteapizza.com

La Boite à Pizza is the local pizza place that is located next to Paul, and is within walking distance from GTL. Let me tell you La Boite à Pizza is not your typical pizza place. They have a selection of gourmet and traditional pizzas made with fresh ingredients. They even have deals every Monday and Thursday for any medium pizza for 6€50!

These are the options available within walking distance of GTL, but there are always the restaurants in Metz if you get tired of these.

 

5 Times I Really Wish I Knew the Language

  1. Buying Plane Tickets: Believe it or not, buying a plane ticket online can be harder than you think, especially when it is in another language. When booking plane tickets to Naples, I had to try and use my rusty German in order to make sure we got 2 plane tickets to the right location on the right day. I’m still hoping that I did this correctly…I guess I will find out in a few weeks.
  2. Ordering Water: Tap Water. This might be what I miss most aMK2_1bout America. When you are at a European restaurant, if you ask for water they automatically bring you a fancy small glass bottle of water that costs more than a glass of wine. When you are parched from roaming the city all day you just want a tall, cold, refreshing vat of water, but sometimes they don’t always understand the translation of “the free tap water please.”
  3. Directions: When walking around Metz, France during my first week at GTL, a group of us were trying to find the bus stop to get back to our dorms. Not many locals know English though, so we just ended up walking around the city for about 45 minutes in the rain until a nice man took pity on us and walked us to the bus stop we were trying to get to.
  4. Reading Menus: French food is delicious. There are crepes, escargot, coq au vin, and of course my favorite – pastries. While pointing at a menu and just hoping for the best can sometimes be a good option, it is always an MK2_2unfortunate feeling when you look over at your friend’s dish and see some mouthwatering dessert like a stuffed, chocolate and banana crepe with caramel ice-cream and dusted almonds and then glance back at your boring croissant.
  5. Trains: America is known for not having good public transportation. We drive everywhere and rarely use a bus or train to get from place to place. In France, everyone uses the train, but it is not as easy as it looks. Sometimes you could be waiting on the track for your train that is arriving in 10 minutes and then next thing you know everyone starts dashing halfway across the train station. Let’s just say we learned later on that European trains tend to switch tracks at the very last second, but it would have been nice to have known that a little earlier on.

Spring 2016 Photo Contest Winners!

Check out some of  amazing photo submissions from this semester’s GTL Photo Contest!

Category: Best Selfie (photo taken of oneself)

Honorable Mention: Yoona Lee (Clare County, Ireland)

Ireland_ClareCountyMoherCliff_Lee

Runner-Up: Sid Gore (Interlaken)

Austria_Interlaken_Gore

WINNER: Tom Agger (Innsbruck, Austria)

Austria_Innsbruck_Agger (2)

Category: Best Group Shot (photo must consist of 3 or more GTL students)

Honorable Mention: Sid Gore (Axamer, Austria)

Austria_Axamer Lizum_Gore

Runner-Up: Alyssa Griffin (Paris, France)

France_Paris_Griffin

WINNER: Emily Cowart (Athens, Greece)
Greece_Athens_Cowart

Category: Best Food Shot (photos of local food in markets, being prepared, on the table, etc.)

Honorable Mention: Esther Shin (Florence, Italy)Italy_Florence_Shin (1)

Runner-Up: Can Kanbalou (Paris, France)

France_Paris_Kabuloglu (1)

WINNER: Elizabeth Jang (Prague, Czech Republic)
CzechRepublic_Prague_Jang

Category: Best Cultural Snapshot (photos that provide a sense of the local culture, people, customs, and traditions)

Honorable Mention: Emily Cowart (Athens, Greece)

Greece_Athens_Cowart1

Runner-Up: Yoona Lee  (Barcelona, Spain)

Spain_Barcelona_Lee

WINNER: Julie McCallum (Venice, Italy)Italy_Venice_McCallum (1)

Category: Best Landscape (photos of architecture, scenery, landmarks, etc.)

Honorable Mention: Chris Petrus (Venus, Italy)

Italy_Venus_Petrus

Runner-Up: Tom Agger (Innsbruck, Austria)

Austria_Innsbruck_agger (1) (1)

WINNER: Kendall Peree (Merzouga, Morocco)

MOR

4 Easy to Make Meals While Abroad

Many of us jumped into this whole “study abroad” thing with little to no cooking experience. Rather than waste precious money on a pizza or kebab every night (although, sometimes this is absolute necessary and okay), here are four quick and easy meals to make in your very own kitchen.

10448641. Spaghetti: All you need are two basic ingredients: Noodles and spaghetti sauce (meatballs optional). Boil your noodles in 5-10 minutes on the stove, warm up a pre-prepared spaghetti sauce, and voilà…you have yourself a meal. If you really want to channel your inner chef, try throwing in some seasoning and parmesan cheese. (Suggestions: Panzani spaghetti noodles and tomato pesto, Auchan brand)

sandwich-on-plate2. Sandwiches: After a couple of months your meals may start to feel somewhat repetitive, and that’s where the sandwich comes in. Possible ingredients include tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, ham, chicken, etc. There are endless combinations to choose from.  Even bigger plus: buy a bag of zip-locks and sandwiches become the perfect to-go meal.

6855099710_d9c42e48bc_z3. Potatoes/French Fries:  Who doesn’t like potatoes? Head to the freezer section of Simply or Cora and you’ll find potatoes cut in virtually every shape and size. Throw some oil and butter on a pan and warm them on your stove for about 10-15 minutes. Eat as a side dish or even a main meal. Optional: Season with basil, garlic, salt, and/or black pepper. (Suggestion: ‘Pommes Rissolées’, Auchan brand)

4. Cereal: One thing I’ve learned is that cereal can be eaten at any time of the day. Yes, even at midnight when you’re up cramming for anBowl-of-Cereal-007 exam. Buy a large carton of milk to last multiple meals. Keep in mind that most French milk is not pasteurized, and the taste is slightly different from what we’re used to back home. While you won’t find the exact same cereal brands, you’ll find very similar ones, for example, Kellogg’s Frosties.

….and if all else fails, La Boite à Pizza is right around the corner 🙂

 

The Belgian Waffle

Note: Blogger, Ije, visited Brussels the weekend before the Brussels attacks. Students have been advised to avoid traveling to Belgium at this time.

I traveled to Brussels, Belgium several weekends ago and tried none other than their famous Belgian Waffles…and boy were they delicious.

Liege_waffle

If you crave a crispy, sweet, and sugary treat that’ll melt your taste buds, then the Belgian Waffle is for you. Belgian waffles are made in a hot cast iron machine and leavened with yeast or baking powder. In Belgium, this waffle is often bought on the street and eaten with your hands, but it can also be served in more formal settings. Contrary to American waffle-eating custom, the Belgian Waffle is never served with maple syrup. Yes, it tastes just that good on its own.

So what is the history behind the Belgian waffle?

Belgian waffles were originally showcased in 1958 at the Brussel’s World Fair, and later introduced to the United States by a man named Walter Cleyman. They were further popularized in 1964, when Maurice Vermersh introduced his recipe at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. (Fun fact: Belgian waffles were originally called Brussels waffles. However, many Americans did not know Brussels was the capital of Belgium, and Vermersch changed the name for this very reason).

Topping choices for the Belgian Waffle are endless, varying from powdered sugar and strawberries to vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate syrup (Yummm!). And even better than the endless topping choices are the prices. Belgian waffles are sold as cheap as 1 euro, and they are worth every cent.

So, if you ever find yourself in Brussels, and want a taste of pure happiness, make sure to bless your taste buds with a waffle!…or two…or three…

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My first of many Belgian waffles!

 

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