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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cooking in Paris

For two years living in Paris I was happy to eat in restauarants every night, except the times I managed on fresh baguette, delicious cheese and yummy ham all from shops mere steps from my home. Oh what a trial it has been to eat well in Paris! Finally this year I thought - maybe I could cook something.

Let me remind you here that I am dating a restaurant owner. And I decided to cook for him, in my kitchen the size of a table. Easy, right? Oh and without an oven. Think soup, stew, sauteed things.

It all went pretty well, with the exception of the salmon which was overcooked and the spinach which was overcooked and a few things with spices he doesn't like. But he was grateful and I was enjoying myself, finding replacements for things like beef broth and baking powder and sour cream.

One day I was looking through the very detailed manual my landlady left me on every aspect of the apartment, and saw directions for the combined microwave-convection oven. Wait a minute - this is also a convection oven? How the heck does that work? Today was my day to find out.

  The instructions say, "if you are using the square dish and the rack  you should let the round tray in the oven".

Okay, here we go, I am only doing convection so I need the rack. Do I need the square dish? Don't know. And do I just let the round tray in the oven by itself or should I help it in? And how does this work, since the instructions say to put the round tray on the bottom, the rack on the bottom, and the square pan under the rack? Can everything really be on the bottom?

Okay I guessed and put the square pan and the rack on the bottom and "let" the round tray out.

Next, "Set temperature, time and press depart".

Temp should be 250 Fahrenheit. What is that in celsius? And how  do I adjust for convection vs. regular oven? I have 9 pages of instructions but this topic seems vague. Hmm let's just pick 160 celsius.

Can't set the time because this is something that should cook all day and I don't see that option. Okay press depart. Depart. No button here is called depart. Maybe I am supposed to depart and when I come back it will all be cooked beautifully? Hmm I will just keep pressing buttons and see what happens. Okay that made a lot of noise for about a minute. Next try I made it all work for 20 minutes.

Does 20 mins in a convection oven equal 4 hours in a regular oven adjusted for fahrenheit, latitude and language translation? Let's see.

Not even close to cooked.

Back to the stovetop method for this beef stew, where it turned into a delicious concoction.

Back to Math/Chemistry/Engineering/French classes for the cook!


  1. Congratulations on finally deciding to cook... and also to write about it.

    1. Nona I now cook once every 2 weeks. For me this is progress!

  2. Mmmm - Is that Beef & Carrots? I still make that - one of my faves! Except I put onions in mine =)

    1. Yes Amie it is Beef and Carrots - with onions!


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