Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Foie Gras

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Driving around the Dordogne region of France it is inevitable that you will sooner or later come across some Geese, lots of them! One day we stopped the car for a better look at these birds who seem to have a wonderful life. They have plenty of space, lots of shade, water to drink and bathe in and of course more food than they can eat. The catch is of course that these Geese are made to eat more than they are naturally capable of.

‘Foie Gras’ literally means ‘Fat Liver’! These geese are force fed by hand or machine (read about it here), so that their livers will be as large and fatty as possible.

I’m afraid to say that I was unaware of just how intensive the process was until reading about it upon our return home. I wish now that I had not bought a jar of Pâté (€12 for 100g) that now sits on a table in our dining room along with lots of other food that we bought back – actually not much of the other food left now!

Perhaps I am just being naive; there are of course many things involved in food production that I and many are uncomfortable with, such as with intensive egg and poultry production, pigs who live their entire miserable lives in dark concrete sheds, veal and farmed fish to name but a few. Our response to this is to try to be aware enough of the issues so as to not buy products where we are not happy with the method of production involved.  Perhaps if I knew more I would end up being a vegetarian – something I certainly could not stomach!

August 23, 2011

Paris

My favourite ‘mixed idiom’ (I had to look up what it was called) is “Scratching the tip of the iceberg”, which is a great combination of ‘Scratching the surface’ and ‘The tip of the iceberg’.  Of course it means that really you have only the tiniest sense of what something is like or may become.  This is how I would describe our day out in Paris at the beginning of the month.  Thanks to a family we had met earlier in the summer we found a wonderful campsite on the edge of the city, which was the perfect base from which to make our day trip.  Catching the double-decker train into the city was an exciting start to the day and we soon arrived at the station nearest the Eiffel Tower.  When we saw the large queues forming we were grateful for the advice which we had taken to pre-book tickets on the internet.

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I just had to take a picture of these two characters – they might be gangsters at home, but here they are just tourists like everyone else…

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Not a bad view…

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If you wanted to you could spend a lot of time walking; we took the easier option of a boat trip along the river Seine, a great way to see many of the sights such as the Louvre, Notre Dame and so on.
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This chap was interesting – in “The Great Flood” of 1910 the water level rose as high as his beard!

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We made the obligatory stop at a street Café…
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watched the pigeons…

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It was a long, tiring but very enjoyable day…

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On the way back to our campsite we noticed grapes growing over a garden fence, something we are not used to seeing back in West Cork!
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Yes we really only did “scratch the tip of the iceberg” of this wonderful city – God willing we will be back another day…