In the U.S I like to think of myself (perhaps arrogantly) as a generally competent person. I own a home, I (usually) floss, I send Christmas thank you cards (Note to self: Do Christmas thank you cards for 2013), and manage simultaneous projects for my clients. Yes…in the good ‘ol US of A, I know what I’m doing.
In Paris, the smallest successes become huge triumphs worthy of proudly pumping one’s fist in the air while jostling little old ladies on the sidewalk and ducking into the nearest brasserie for un verre de vin rouge (or two).
Take today for example. With WiFi in the flat still down and my loitering at the Hotel Amour becoming a bit tiresome we ventured out to “Orange” one of the local phone companies. Our mission was simple, get a French SIM card to put in my old iPhone 4 and get them to turn back on the WiFi in the flat that had been mysteriously turned off.
Two hours and no less than four salespeople later we had received all sorts of helpful tips such as,
“Unlock your iPhone! What’s that? It is already unlocked? Then lock it again and try unlocking it again!”
“Change the password!”
“Don’t change the password!”
“You must wait…it will be done in three days…or maybe 10 if you live in the country. Do you live in the country?”
Sweating profusely with my hair frizzing every which way while the beautiful (and I must admit very friendly) Orange attendant helped me, we somehow managed to re-lock and unlock the phone and successfully create my very own French number (who on earth will call me, I no idea…but voila. J’ai un telephone).
Leaving the Orange store, I unabashedly strutted while proudly thinking to myself,
“I have a French phone!”
“I have a French number!”
“I have a French phone and a French number with unlimited calls and texting IN FRANCE! (who on earth will call me, I no idea…but voila. J’ai un telephone).”
“Oh shoot…I’m lost…oh wait…I was lost here yesterday…I’m practically a local!”
Arriving back at the flat I flung open the door, ignoring the mysteriously bad smell coming from the kitchen (I will tackle THAT tomorrow), and gazed at the WiFi router which was blinking….vert. VERT! That magical green button.
I’m not sure whether it was the groveling, the begging, the sweating, the frizzing, or simply the sick sense of humor of France, but c’est la vie. Le WiFi.
The morning did however begin with breakfast at Hotel Amour, a delightfully simple and yet perfect plate of Trois Oeufs Brouillés avec Bacon. It was so understated and yet so exquisite, the light yet decadent, velvety curds of apricot colored egg, flecked with tiny bits of chives and hiding little morsels of chèvre. Accompanied by nothing more than bacon, a simple green salad with vinaigrette, and a baguette, it was just the fortitude I needed to start my day. I asked the waitress their secret for their eggs, and she was generous enough to share.
Trois Oeufs Brouillés avec Bacon (Three Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Bacon)
- The Best Eggs: While it seems obvious, finding the very best eggs you can is the core to a truly delicious scrambled egg. If you live in the country (be warned, it could take 10 days for your WiFi to be restored) you likely have great access to free range chickens. If you live in the city, you’d be amazed how many urban farmers these days keep chickens, so ask around).
- The Best Additions: The French are masters at understanding that it’s the little things that make a difference in the dish. Use the best butter you can find, the best salt, and the best chèvre for the best outcome.
- The Best Technique: Vigorously whisk your eggs to get ample air into them. And then let all your vim and vigor go away. Cook them over a low temperature slowly. So low and so slow you think they may never be done…but have a caffe and relax. Gently stir them constantly so you get small curds about the size of a pea. Don’t overcook your eggs (the waitress admonished) and understand they will cook a bit further from the plate to the pan, so finish a minute before your desired doneness.