Melting Pot Mardi

Raclette – simple yet complex French dinner

Allow me to explain the title right away. Mardi is Tuesday in French (oh yeah, Mardi Gras!) and Melting Pot is a reference to the sought-after dinners that I went to, every Tuesday, during my brief stay in Strasbourg.

What – The Dinner Club

Who – An always-present group of 8 teaching assistants comprising 1 American, 2 Canadians, 2 Italians, 2 Germans and of course the Indian. The youngest being all of 21 and the oldest …well, lets not get there. And every once in a while, a few other invitees gracing their presence.

Why – A random but brilliant suggestion from Rach, the Canadian in the first week we met. We got so taken by the concept that it became a weekly ritual thereon.

Why Tuesday– Because none of us had to teach on Wednesdays!!! (One drink was always reserved

Mexican!

Mexican!

for the French Education Ministry, bless them.)

Where: Mostly at the humble but comfy abodes of Mr/Ms Canadian or Miss. American and occasionally at others.

When: Starting around 1930 / 2000 . Typically ending at midnight when some of us rushed to catch the last tram of 0030.

Now for the interesting part – what ensued every Tuesday?

1) Food! The idea was that one person would cook and bring the food of his/her respective country. Repetition wasn’t allowed. So once we were done with pancakes, pastas and rice we moved on to exploring other cuisines – notably Cuban and Japanese among others. At this point, it is only apt that the rest of the group express their gratitude to me – how else would they have known that such amazing vegetarian options existed in their countries if not for me? *evil grin*

Games

Some serious work there o’er wine & games!

2) Wine! Some secret clubs have passwords. Ours was a bottle of wine (Champagne if you may, but no one ever got that generous barring once). The sane exception to this was the insane German boy who religiously got a carton of jus d’orange (we suspect he bought them wholesale). Must admit though that it was a wise decision, especially when other bottles had dried up. On that note, here’s some trivia: A bottle of wine from the supermarket can be bought for as little as 1 Euro. Les français, they sure have their priorities right.

3) Games. I’ve learnt some whacky and absolutely rip-roaring games over those dinners!

4) French. Being in the country that gave us an opportunity to come together, we kept it as the medium of communication. Occasionally cheating every now and then with English. I’d safely say that my French improved from 5% to 25% thanks to these dinners.

Santé!

Santé!

5) Swear words! In French, German  Spanish  Italian, Polish, you-name-what. Some in Hindi were promptly imparted. (All my hindi speaking friends, I can see y’all smirking at the girl from south. @#$!)

6) Melting pot. Of different nationalities. The serious fun part. Being the lone Indian who went to Strasbourg (there were more than 5 who went to Paris and other regions likewise) turned out to be such a blessing – it ensured that I dint roam around in ‘clans’ and consciously got out of my comfort zone to meet and make new friends.

All in all, a cultural/gastronomic enlightenment! So many new things observed, eaten, learned, experienced. Now I know that referring to USA as America can annoy the life out of a Canadian, that nothing could be more scandalous to an Italian than eating vegetarian bolognaise (no, not even Berlusconi), and my changed perception of Germans who have already got due mention in my earlier post! And finally an inference from this group that Indians seem to be the only ones who cant sip their drink patiently with dinner.

While each one of us are so different, there were so many things we liked and so much we all felt strongly about. If only being together was as easy as this, the world would be so much more peaceful! I’m starting to feel a li’l preachy now so time to bring this to an end.

With our Secret Santa Gifts

With our Secret Santa Gifts

Merci mes amis – all of you in the above pic – for all of the above!

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Categories: France, French chapter, Strasbourg | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Melting Pot Mardi

  1. Priya

    Great read Dips…keep it coming:)

  2. Vidya Aunty

    Great…. Like your format !!

  3. Thanks soo much!! :-*

  4. Kanisha

    Another fun read…what I loved most is the very unique way in which you learnt about each other’s culture. Food and wine will surely one day unite this workd. 🙂

  5. Christina

    J´adore ton blog! Cela me donne trop de bon mémoires à l´année passée! La seule chose triste, c´est qu´on habite tellement loin les uns des autres qu´il sera difficile d´organiser une réunion avec tous….

  6. Merci mille fois Chrissy. Prost!

  7. I love it! We did this once with the random friends I met in Bali, a Korean, Russian, French and myself (Filipino). We played card games bu the rule is everyone should talk in their native language and see how far it goes. It went hysterically hilarious because I know everyone just keep saying sh*t to one another but nobody cares because we’re too busy laughing at what we said and then the reaction of the other as he/she talks sh*t in his/her language too!

    • Hahah that’s an awesome concept- I wish we’d done it too, can imagine how hilarious it must have been! And thanks for those nice words, Lyndsay 🙂

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