28 November 2006

How much of me does my blog own?

18.75 %

My weblog owns 18.75 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

I guess I'm doing OK. More than 80% of my life still belongs to me and not to my blog.

Shepherd's pie & potato varieties

Along with escarole & beet salad, I made shepherd's pie — hachis parmentier in French — this past weekend, using leftover lamb, some tiny lardons cut from good poitrine fumée (a.k.a. lard) that I bought chez Doudouille at the Saint-Aignan market, and lots of aromatic vegetables.

The light brown squares on the cutting board are the rind of the pork
bacon, the couenne. Cook it with the meat and vegetables because
it gives gelatine and flavor to the mixture. Then remove it, along with
any bay leaves you used, before you put the mixture in the baking pan(s).

I spent a lot of time cutting up the vegetables and the meat. I used carrots, onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms, and herbs. I diced all those up very finely. Except the garlic, which I grated. I also chopped up the lamb into very small pieces. That's how I spent my Sunday morning. Sometimes I think I'm crazy (bite your tongue!), but the ends justify the means, I guess. Or the time spent.

L. to r., lamb, garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, parsley, lardons, carrots, celery,
& onions. In the little white pitcher, the cooking juices from the leg of lamb.

Whenever I start thinking I ought to be able to find something more valuable to do with my time, I stop myself and say "no, food is about the most important thing there is." For your health, no less. And then I have always thought it was a good idea to make a pleasure out of something that is absolutely a necessity. Enjoy cooking. Enjoy eating. Try to exercise self-control at eating time. Eat a little bit of everything.

After cooking all the meat and vegetables, moistened with the lamb drippings,
you put that mixture into pans and spread mashed potatoes over the top.
Then you bake it all in a hot oven.

Also, in the back of my mind, is the old saw that says "Waste not, want not." I can't stand to throw food out. I had not only the leftover lamb (and its jus) but celery and carrots in the refrigerator that needed to be used. Another old saw: Use it or lose it. Cook it or toss it.

I also had an overabundance of onions, because I bought a big bag of them the other day. And I had too many heads of garlic, because I bought three heads a week or 10 days ago, and then I forgot so I bought two more later in the week.

Hot, golden-brown hachis parmentier ready to serve

I went out and bought mushrooms and potatoes and lard (what we would call smoked slab bacon). Buying the lard was really just an excuse to go to the market and talk to Mme Doudouille for a few minutes. I hadn't seen her since before our U.S. trip, back in September.

Speaking of potatoes, on the cooking shows we watch on Cuisine TV, a French channel, the various chefs and home cooking experts always talk about a potato variety called bintje (pronounced beentch). I've been feeling deprived for about 3 years now, because I have never been able to find bintje potatoes in our Loire Valley markets or supermarkets.

Here's the meat-and-potato pie alongside some beets

I finally did a Google search on the word bintje. It turns out that the variety of potatoes I do find in all our markets, agata, is the same thing. The bintje potato was developed in the Netherlands in the early 20th century, and I think it is grown in Belgium and in northern France. It's good for making frites, purées, and potages (soups) because its flesh is mealy or farineuse.

The agata potato was also developed in the Netherlands, but later, and Wikipedia's article on potatoes in French says it closely resembles the bintje. I used agatas to make the mashed potatoes for the shepherd's pie. The waxy red franceline potatoes that I already had wouldn't have made a good purée at all. I tried mashing them once and ended up with a pot of what could only be called glue (un pot de colle !).

It's interesting and culturally or culinarily significant, I think, that Wikipedia's English-language article on potatoes doesn't include any information about different varieties at all. The French article lists and describes thirty-seven, if I counted right.

26 November 2006

Beets, beautiful beets

So what is it about beets? How could something so good, in my opinion, inspire such revulsion in so many others? Some of my best friends — Cheryl, John, Francis — find them inedible. Isabella said she doesn't eat them either. And Marie told me she will eat them but not with gusto.

Betteraves cooked, sliced, and cut into cubes for salad

Our friend Sue said she had never been able to eat them either, until she tried fresh beets rather than the ones out of a can. Maybe that's a little like mushy canned asparagus vs. the nice fresh ones. Now Sue eats beets with pleasure, she says. But cooking them is a lot of trouble, I think, or at least takes a lot of time.

Some chopped shallot or onion adds good flavor

I should point out that beets are called bettteraves in French, so that those who detest them can avoid ordering them. But heed my words: if there's a vegetable you think you don't like, try the French version of it when you are in France. You might change your mind. The climate, the growing methods, the serving styles, and the freshness of the vegetable in France can make an incredible difference in the taste compared to what you've had in the States.

Of course, I can't think of a vegetable I don't like. Even though I more often post recipes for and pictures of meat dishes, I never neglect the veggies or some green salad in my meal plans. In California, I worked at Apple with a woman who said she was a vegetarian. But she also pointed out that she didn't really like or eat vegetables. I think she survived on bread, pasta, and cheese. Maybe salad. She looked healthy enough and had a great sense of humor (I say that because French people stereotype vegetarians as humorless).

Walt says beets have un goût particulier — a taste all their own. He likes them, but he says they "taste like dirt." I can see what he means, but maybe it would be more appetizing to say something fancier, like "the taste of the earth they are grown in." Some wines taste like dirt... er, the earth... too, but that can also be a good taste. Terroir, you know.

Add vinegar and some good oil with salt and pepper. Stir and let marinate.

The nice thing about French beets is that they are sold pre-cooked. Some are shrink-wrapped, but I avoid those. The best ones I've found around here are the ones at Intermarché, displayed in a wooden crate with a big "meat fork" you can use to serve yourself without getting red stains on your hands. You also find them cooked at the farmers' markets.

Once beets are cooked, you can just hold them under running water and rub the rough skin right off. A little trimming with a paring knife and they're ready. I like them cubed with some chopped shallot, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. My mother and a lot of other Americans eat them pickled, that is just with vinegar. I think that's a little sharp, myself.

Serve some of the beets with bitter salad greens. The beets' sweetness
complements the greens perfectly — to my taste.

Beets dressed with oil and vinegar are an especially good complement (for those who can stand them) to salad greens that have some bitterness in them — escarole, curly endive (salade frisée in French), Belgian endive, arugula (roquette), or dandelion greens (pissenlits).

Ginny just gave me what sounds like a good recipe for a beet & walnut spread made with cooked beets:
Take about a pound of beets, cook them and peel them. Grind/process them with 1 cup shelled walnuts. In a small bowl, mince 1 or 2 cloves garlic. Add some salt (~½ tsp). Add 1 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar. Mix and add to beet/walnut mixture. Add a little paprika and serve as a spread for bread, crackers, vegetables.
You can also eat beets raw. Our friend Adrienne in Amboise once grated whole raw beets the way you can grate raw carrots, and then dressed them with oil and vinegar. They were delicious, I thought. Maybe people who don't like cooked beets would like them served that way.

One of the things I've always liked about standard French food is what is called une assiette de crudités. It's a plate of mostly raw vegetables (but some cooked, like beets), including grated carrots (carottes râpées), sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, sliced raw mushrooms, and shredded raw green or red cabbage. The vegetables are dressed with a good mustardy vinaigrette. (Another component of such a dish, which is served as an appetizer, is shredded celery root with a mustardy mayonnaise sauce (in French, céleri rémoulade.)

Une salade de scarole et de betteraves

I much prefer a French salad plate, where the individual items are prepared so that they are of the right texture and size, to the American tossed salad that sometimes contains big chunks of raw carrot, raw celery, raw onion, and raw green pepper. Or even to vegetable trays with raw celery stalks, raw carrot sticks, and raw bell peppers.

Maybe those kinds of rough-and-tough salads are the reason a lot of Americans call salad "rabbit food" and won't eat it. Vegetables served that way can be hard on the digestive system.

I don't think I ever enjoyed eating beets until I came to France. It's all in the presentation and dressing, I guess. But then I first came to France in 1970 and I have been enjoying things like salade de betteraves, carottes râpées, and other crudités ever since.

25 November 2006

Rain, rain, go away...

It's been raining now for at least a week. Most of it is not heavy rain, but it is persistent. And there are moments when it comes down pretty good.

The view out the back gate at 10:45 a.m. on November 25, 2006

Last night I went to bed believing it was going to be windy and rainy all night, but I'm up early today and there's no sign of rain. The wind is not blowing.

Here's the 6:30 a.m. radar map for France. It looks like the heavy rains are still west and north of us. But there's a big blob to the south that might be moving this way. I hope to go to the farmers' market in Saint-Aignan this morning, but not if it starts raining. In that case, the Intermarché supermarket will have to do.

The good news in all this is that the temperatures are very mild. But all the rain means the garden and yard are not yet cleaned up the way I would like for them to be.

Here's a little video that I shot with my Canon S70 digital camera Thursday afternoon, Thanksgiving Day. I used Quicktime Pro to stitch the three clips together and then saved the movie in a compressed AVI format for uploading to Google Video.

The temperature at 7:00 this morning was 17ºC — that's nearly 63ºF. It's too warm, everybody here is saying. It's not good for the trees or the grape vines. We need to have colder weather for a while now. I bet we'll have a cold December.

* * * * *

Un gigot raccourci — a shortened leg of lamb from the butcher's

The spice rub is chopped garlic and rosemary
with salt, hot paprika, and black pepper.

It's three hours later. The wind came up but it's still not really raining. I went to the market and talked to Mme Doudouille for a few minutes, and then I went to the supermarket to pick up some things. Tomorrow I'm going to make a hachis parmentier — shepherd's pie — with the rest of our Thanksgiving leg of lamb.

The gigot d'agneau as it came out of the oven...

...and then sliced. It wasn't quite as rare as it might have been.

Among other things I needed from the supermarket was the right kind of potatoes for mashing (variété : agata) and making shepherd's pie. The potatoes I already had (variété : franceline) are great for boiling whole, but they are too waxy for purée. Are they ever good just boiled, though, either in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. I put some coarse salt, some black peppercorns, a couple of garlic cloves, and a fresh bay leaf in the water when I cook them. You wouldn't believe potatoes could taste so good.

Waxy franceline potatoes cooked in the microwave with aromatics

I also wanted a cooked beet, and Intermarché has the best ones. They're steamed and then packed in a crate in paper. At the supermarket, there's a big fork in the crate along with the beets so that you can pick out the ones you want and drop them into a plastic bag without getting your hands stained all red.

Beets are a classic accompaniment with escarole lettuce, which I bought a few days ago. Escarole is also good as a green salad with garlicky croutons or with lardons, those little chunks of smoked or salted bacon they sell and cook with in France. Okay, now I'm really hungry...

22 November 2006

Disconnect day

Often, when when we used to live in windy, foggy San Francisco, I would turn on the Today Show or some such news program in July or August and see reports about how the "whole country" was baking in the latest summer heat wave. People were sweating and suffering, if not dropping like flies, because it was hotter than hell outside. Power brownouts were the order of the day, what with everybody cranking up the air-conditioning to try to keep cool.

Stone walls and a blue door bathed in November sunshine

And then I would hear the heat come on. With the thermostat set at 65ºF (18ºC), we needed a blast of warm air just to stay comfortable. It was a world turned upside-down. How could we be living so disconnected from the mainstream culture?

In many ways, if not quite literally, San Francisco is a little island at the edge of a continent, with its own distinct climate and culture. That's why so many people trying to escape, or distance themselves, from the mainstream end up living there.

Today I'm feeling similarly disconnected from the surrounding, mainstream culture. It's Thanksgiving. In e-mails, blogs, and the American newspapers I read on the 'net, people are talking about family gatherings, the long holiday weekend, and turkey and pumpkin pie.

Meanwhile, in France, it's just another Thursday. Our French friends, hardly even aware that today is a major holiday in America (and why would they be?), go about their daily routine as usual. Despite my unshakable feeling that everything ought to be closed today, Walt plans to run down to the post office this morning to send off an express mail envelope to England.

Chez nous à la Renaudière, a November sunset

We don't have any American friends or acquaintences in the area, so we are spending the day at home, just the two of us. Coincidentally, the chilly-but-not-really-cold, blustery, gray, drizzly weather we are having this morning makes me think we might have somehow been magically transported back to San Francisco.

It's not that I miss having a standard American Thanksgiving holiday and dinner. Walt and I decided years ago to forgo the traditional turkey in November in favor of a very French gigot d'agneau with flageolet beans. That's a leg of lamb, which we prefer to turkey anyway. It's our own alternative tradition. The desert will be a pumpkin pie — quand même. We grew the pumpkin in our garden. You can't buy such things as canned pumpkin — or cranberries or cranberry sauce — in the supermarkets here anyway.

A green spider on a sunlit doorframe

So being outside the mainstream culture is something we got used to by living in San Francisco for nearly 20 years. It's just one more way we are outside the mainstream, both by choice and by circumstance. It's just that our disconnectedness becomes really obvious to me on days like this one.

I'm not gloomy about it, so I'm putting some nice sunny pictures of French scenes in this posting to brighten things up.

Sun on the shutters

I think the disconnectedness is especially striking to me this year because of circumstances. We just got back from a very busy month visiting our families and a lot of friends, new and old, in the United States. And earlier this year, we were lucky to have a lot of our best friends from California other parts of the U.S. come visit us here in France — I can count up 21 American friends who we had as house guests for some amount of time in 2006.

For the past 17 days that we have been back at La Renaudière, it has been very quiet. We really are in a different world right now. We needed the rest, that's for sure. But when it comes to social interactions, this has been a feast-or-famine year. Speaking of that, it's getting to be time to start cooking that leg of lamb.

21 November 2006

February 1985

On Capitol Hill in Washington DC, where we lived from 1983 to 1986. Both of us had government jobs back then.

We had a flat in this building, not the whole townhouse. It was just a ten-minute walk from the U.S. Capitol building.

20 November 2006

Le château du Mée en Berry

It was July 15 and CHM and I were touring around the French countryside in the triangle formed by the towns of Châtillon-sur-Indre, Valençay, and Châteauroux. The province we were in is called Le Berry, and the administrative département is L'Indre, which is also the name of the river that runs through the area. It's a tributary of the Loire.

Un calvaire au bord de la petite route

It was late in the afternoon and CHM noticed a little château symbol on the Michelin map that was labeled Le Mée. Earlier in the day we had been to see the château and an old chapel full of frescoes in Palluau-sur-Indre and the old abbey church at St-Genou.

A farm nestled in a valley with a background of sunflowers

We drove along little roads near places called Bel Air, La Presle, and Villegouin, thinking a lot the the time that we might be lost. That was OK, because when you're lost is when you find the most interesting things to see. The unexpected, you know? CHM and I have been lucky to be able to get lost in several parts of France, including one memorable trip to find little châteaux out in the Normandy countryside about eight years ago.

Farm land in Le Berry near Pellevoisin

CHM, by the way, is a Parisian who lives most of the time in U.S., and has for nearly 40 years now. He was my boss 25 years ago, when I worked in Washington DC, and he's old enough to be my father. We have become fast friends over the years and I always look forward to his visits.

Jesus on the cross in the French countryside

So there we were exploring the narrow winding roads of Le Berry near the town of Pellevoisin, about 25 miles south of Saint-Aignan. The first thing we came across that indicated we were headed in the right direction — toward Le Mée — was a pretty spectacular crucifix standing at the side of the road. It was on the map, as are so many of these calvaires scattered across the French countryside. I really don't know why they are placed where they are, though.

Le château du Mée across the stubble of barley fields

I've done Google searches for the château du Mée and haven't found much of anything. It was built in the 14th or 15th century, according to various sources. But there's no information beyond that.

We stopped the car on the side of the road near the calvaire. The field of barley along the road had recently been cut, so there was only stubble left. We wee able to walk out into the field and take pictures of the château from a distance.

The white stone of the château du Mée

Looking at the château, you can see how brilliantly white the building stone is. The building must be privately owned — otherwise, more historical information about it would be available. There wasn't even a sign indicating its existence.

Close-up of the mysterious château du Mée

19 November 2006

Movie experiments

Walt and I are both experimenting with the movie features of our digital cameras, and with sites where we can upload the movies we take. Here are my documentary-style attempts.

Our road, the back yard, and the back of our house:

The views off our front deck or terrasse, including the neighbors' big yard across the street:

I took both these videos on Saturday, November 18, 2006. It was a pretty nice day, and you can see that we still have flowers and a lot of green grass.

18 November 2006

Beef with vegetables

It's Saturday and the sun is just coming out after overnight rain. And the weekend's food is in the oven.

Yesterday we went to buy some Beaujolais Nouveau and some Touraine Primeur wine at the big SuperU up in Contres. While we were there, I picked up some carrots, celery, and beef because I had in my head, on my mind, a nice dish of beef with vegetables for the weekend. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow.

This is the kind of cooking I really enjoy doing, and the kind of food I enjoy eating. It's country cooking, and it's comfort food. I can spend hours in the kitchen washing, peeling, and cutting up vegetables when I know I'm going to get to eat them later.

I chopped an onion and a couple of big cloves of garlic and put them in a pan with some butter and oil. I cooked them at a fairly low temperature until they started to soften. Then I pushed them to the side and put in some big chunks of beef (stew beef, I guess we would call it — it's bœuf à bourguigon in French) to brown them. I did the beef in two batches so it wouldn't be crowded in the pan. I let it brown on each side for maybe 5 to 7 minutes.

While the beef was browning, I peeled and cut into large pieces about half a dozen big carrots. I peeled half a dozen small onions, leaving them whole. I broke about 6 cloves off a head of garlic and cleaned them up but left on the husks. And I trimmed, washed, and cut into long pieces about 8 stalks of celery.

By the time the second batch of beef was getting brown, I had everything all laid out on the table, ready to be put in an oven-proof dish. I planned to let it all cook in the oven at a fairly low temperature for at least a couple of hours.

Rather than make a stew out of it, I thought it would look better arranged in the dish with the pieces of beef and the two vegetables all in their own place. I put three bay leaves, about 6 allspice berries, and a good dozen black peppercorns on the bottom of the dish before I put in the second batch of browned beef.

Then, after I took the second batch of beef out of the frying pan, I stirred the onions around and put in about a cup of wine and about a cup of water to make a cooking liquid. At that point, I added about a tablespoon of salt and a pinch of dried thyme. On an impulse, I also put in a few drops of liquid hickory smoke and a tablespoon of tomato paste.

I still had the whole "baby" onions and the garlic cloves to put in, so I just scattered them around on top of everything else.

I poured on the cooking liquid, covered the dish, and put the whole thing in a very hot oven to come up to the boil. After 15 or 20 minutes, I turned the heat down to about 375ºF, or 190ºC.

A few minutes later, I had another idea. I had a whole leek in the refrigerator, and some Belgian endives. I washed the leek and cut it into two big pieces (white part only — I save the green tops for making stock). I trimmed up four endives. I opened the oven, took off the cover, laid those extra vegetables over the top of the others, basted all with the sauce, turned the heat down to about 325ºF (160ºC), put the cover back on, and now I'm letting it all cook for about another hour. That'll be about 2½ hours in the oven, in total.

Aftermath: So how did it come out? After all the cooking, I still wasn't convinced the leeks and endives were done. So I took them out, put them in a pan, added some of the cooking liquid, and cooked them for another 30 minutes in a covered pan on top of the stove. Then they were right. Meanwhile, the dish of beef, celery, carrots, and onions just rested in the warm oven. Here's what it looked like when I took it out.

The beef was pretty tender (some pieces more than others), the celery was a little tough still, and the carrots were just the way we like them — cooked but not mushy. It was a good lunch and will make two more meals for us over the next few days.

17 November 2006

Les vins nouveaux sont arrivés !

The third Thursday in November is the day the Beaujolais Nouveau (or Primeur) wines are released. You can probably already find Beaujolais Nouveau in most wine stores and even many supermarkets in the U.S. today.

Click the picture to enlarge it so you can read the labels.

Here in France, other wines and regions have been getting into the act as well. The best known "new" wine after Beaujolais is probably Touraine Nouveau. Touraine is our region, and the primary red wine grape grown here is Gamay, just as it is in Beaujolais. So it makes sense.

Gamay from the Beaujolais region

Today at the big SuperU market in Contres, the new wines had a place of honor in the front of the store. And there we saw not only Beaujolais Nouveau and Touraine Primeur, but Côtes du Rhone Primeur and — surprisingly, because it's a white wine — Muscadet Nouveau.

Gamay from the Touraine region

We bought a selection of these young wines to try over the coming weekend. It doesn't take much to convince us to buy a new wine!

Autant en emporte le vent

That title means Gone With the Wind. It was the title of the book and movie in French.

We had a windy day yesterday. Look at this picture of the ornamental prune tree in our back yard. I took it on Wednesday 11/15.

I went out this morning and took this picture of the same tree (from a different angle though).

I guess this is what fall is all about. Winter is coming.

16 November 2006

Village news and activities

As you might have heard, we have bread delivery to our front door five days a week. Roselyne drives up in her little white van full of breads and pastries, and we buy what we want. That makes life easy because on many days about the only reason we would have to start the car up and go anywhere would be to get a fresh baguette or a couple of croissants.

Now it looks like a local store is starting up free grocery deliveries as well. Can Internet shopping be far behind?

The fact is that a lot of older people live around the village and don't have cars. So the bread deliveries, and now grocery deliveries, fill a real need and make it possible for people who don't drive to continue living in their houses away from the village center. Roselyne has described some of her customers to me. They are often older women whose husbands have passed on and who don't want to leave the houses they've lived in for decades.

The flyer we got in the mail says that Michel and Elisabeth Dufour, owners of the ProxiMarché superette, will now deliver their products to addresses within 10 km/6 mi. of the store, with a minimum purchase of €20.00.

ProxiMarché carries a good selection of the local wines, along with cheeses and other dairy products, produce, canned goods, and everything a grocery store would have. It also has very nice butcher and deli counters for fresh meats, pâtés, salads, and sausages.

In other news, there will be a belote tournament on Saturday in the little château near the village church. Belote is a French card game that I don't know how to play and can find no translation for. But I did a translation of the flyer announcing the tournament. First, the French original, pour celles et ceux parmi vous qui parlez français.

And here's my translation. What I like best about it is the prizes. First prize is two legs (or hams) from a wild boar. Second prize is the shoulders. Third is a tray of chops, ribs, etc.

Evidently, somebody from the village went hunting, bagged (or blasted) a boar, and donated the carcass to the fishing club that is sponsoring the tournament.

15 November 2006

More from the Intermarché ads

The Intermarché advertising flyer features duck this week, but there are of course other products on sale. Still, I just counted and there are 18 duck items shown in the brochure, including whole ducks, trimmed ducks, duck legs and breasts, terrines and pâtés, and tubs of fat. It's the theme.

There are almost no vegetables featured in the ads. I think that's because vegetables are just a given here, and because they are sold at market price, which isn't set in time for the publication of the ads.

Endives for a low price (prix bas)

People buy vegetables, that's for sure, and there is always a good selection at Intermarché and the other supermarkets, not to mention in the outdoor markets. One vegetable that comes onto the market in the fall here is what we call Belgian endive in the U.S. Here it isn't a high-priced luxury product — it's standard fare. You can buy endives for about two euros a kilo, or a dollar a pound. These are grown in France.

This ad reminds me that I need to go buy some. There's nothing much better than gratin d'endives au jambon on a chilly winter day. It's endives braised, then wrapped in a slice of ham, and cooked in the oven in a cheese sauce. And here's another idea, using fish.

Pinapples for €0.75 each if you buy two

The situation with fruit is the same as with vegetables, but there is one ad for pineapples at Intermarché this week. They come from the Ivory Coast in Africa.

Do you want cheese with that? Here are a couple of cheeses that are on special this week.

Farm-style Reblochon cheese for $5.85 a pound

Reblochon is a cow's-milk cheese produced in the Alpine region called La Savoie, on the border with Italy. Notice that this one is made from unpasteurized milk (lait cru, or raw milk). Using raw milk gives the cheese it a better, more natural taste, just like in the olden days.

Did you know this? When the label says that a cheese is 45% butterfat (matière grasse or MG), what it means is that if you completely dry the cheese out, so that there is no water left at all, then what you have left will be 45% butterfat and 55% milk solids. The amount of butterfat in the cheese when you eat it is actually much smaller than that — maybe 20%. Even so, don't overdo it. A little bit goes and long way, and it tastes so good.

Do American cheeses carry a label telling you how much butterfat they contain? I can't remember.

Tomme du Beaujolais at $4.89 a pound

I've never heard of Tomme du Beaujolais before, and it's not listed in my Larousse des Fromages, a cheese reference. It's also described as being "45% MG" so it contains the same amount of butterfat. It's produced in France and is made from pasteurized milk (since the label doesn't specify that it was made with raw milk). This is what is called an industrial cheese, because the label doesn't say it's fermier, or farm-style. It was made in a "factory" or big industrial dairy.

Rye bread for 90 U.S. cents a loaf, or $1.38 a pound,
or country-style bread for just a few cents less per lb.
even though the loaf costs more (it's bigger)

Here's some bread you can have with the cheese, country-style (campagne) or rye (seigle). I'd be more likely to buy rye bread to eat with raw oysters, with some sweet butter to spread on the bread. The pain de campagne — country-style bread — is a little coarser and probably healthier than the standard baguette made with white flour. The pain de campagne would be especially good with cheese.

It's time for lunch!