I am not French, but I do have a tendency to drool over shows that have that “C’est la vie” type of vibe to them. I know it’s not real life, but I find it relaxing, and I love to watch someone take hours to cook a meal (then spend several more hours eating it on a sunny terrace, with lots of wine and seventeen of their closest friends).
After watching too many episodes of “French Cooking at Home”, I decided that I would move to France, have a blue kitchen with copper pots, and grow lots of herbs on the window-sill.
In the meantime, before I got to France, I would pretend; I would pretty up the inside of my refrigerator, find a copper pot, and store my milk in beautiful glass bottles.
At a Home store, I found glass bottles with the work “Milk” on the side. Perfect. I took them home, and poured my milk into it (I can feel you rolling your eyes even as I write it – I know, what was I thinking).
This went well for a few days, until the milk began to sour. I didn’t understand why, so I would pour out the spoiled milk, wash the bottle, then pour new milk back in. It would sour again, and I would repeat the process. When I mentioned this to my Mum, she said that I needed to sterilize the bottle before pouring the milk in. (Why I never thought of this, I don’t know; I just continued to create my own little, repetitive bottle of bacteria – proof that Science really was my worst subject in school. Thankfully, no-one got ill during the process). So, I took her advice, boiled the hot water, poured it in, and the bottle shattered all over the kitchen sink. Undeterred, I did it again. Same result.
Not to be discouraged, a few days later I drove to a fancy store that sells milk in bottles. I found the bottles, picked one up, and cut my hand on the side. As it trickled down my hand, I tried to grab a band-aid from my purse, while trying to (discreetly) wipe the milk bottle. The more I wiped, the more I cut my hand, and the more it started to make a mess of me and the bottle. The more I panicked, the more ridiculous my whole plan was starting to seem. Why had I driven over an hour to buy a bottle for my milk, so that I could pretend to be French? I wasn’t feeling very relaxed, or very smart, at that moment.
Embarrassed, I managed to get the band-aid on, wiped the bottle on my skirt (of course) and took it to Customer Service. I bought two new ones, and took them home. A little stressed, not very clean, but successful.
The next day, I remembered to be French; I reorganized the fridge, put vegetables in pretty bowls and admired my bottles of milk. Was it a little silly? Maybe. Was it worth it? Yes. The (always sterilized) milk bottles are living happily in my fridge, I now have one herb growing on my windowsill, and I still dream of a blue French kitchen…
Photograph from the delightful Lilla Blanka