Noel, Raclette, Lettuce Slip, Playing Defense & Who Says? …

Spent a lovely few days in the countryside with M’s family. We lounged, laughed and ate our way through a few relaxing and fun days. As they do each year, M’s sister accommodated my finnickiness and made “special” food items for me that allowed me to avoid the foie gras and oysters. Kind of like an American happy meal.

Noel (Christmas) in the countryside

The highlight of the weekend was a totally, out-of-the-blue surprise gift that M received from her father … a new iPad! We both almost fell over in our seats. Now we just need to figure out what to do with it!

I was invited to enjoy not one but two “raclette” dinners this week. If you’ve never experienced a raclette dinner, it’s basically a big, round chunk of raclette cheese (originally from Switzerland) the gets melted onto boiled potatoes and then eaten with some meat and pickles. I know it doesn’t sound like much but somehow it’s much tastier than it sounds and the interactivity of it makes it fun; you wait until the cheese melts under the heat lamp and then tilt it so that it pours onto your potatoes. Something like THIS.

M watching her raclette in action

I worry that each year, France is becoming more and more like the US … and not in a good sense. Here’s a story I read this week:

Supermarket giant Carrefour has been ordered to pay a 76-year-old customer €20,000 in damages after she slipped on a lettuce leaf and broke her leg. 

The verdict, at the Tribunal Correctionnel in Montpellier, is a first in France and could set a legal precedent. 

It comes after a previous case where a customer of fast-food restaurant Quick lost his action against the company when she slipped on a chip. 

The court held that Carrefour had been responsible for the woman’s fall in its shop at Saint-Jean-de-Vedas, on December 31, 2006, as the fruit and vegetable aisle was very slippery.

Another story that caught my eye this week came from the US. It just kind of encapsulates the environment we live in today:

Beseiged by allegations of rampant fraud, Bank of America appears to be making a big push to buy up scores of domain names that portray the financial behemoth and CEO Brian Moynihan in a negative light. Want to start a website slamming Moynihan? Too bad! URL addresses like “” and “” are already gone. According to a Monday report by Domain Name Wire, a company that frequently purchases domain names for large company has snapped up “hundreds” of URL addresses that are critical of Moynihan, BofA CFO Charles Noski and members of the bank’s board of directors.

And finally, remember the game “Simon Says”? Just found out that in France the game is called “Jacques a dit” (Jacques said). It evidently originated from Latin with “Cicero dicit fac hoc” meaning “Cicero says do this”. Here are some others:

In parts of Ireland: “O’Grady Says”
In Egypt: “General Commanded”
In Lebanon: “Teacher Says”
In Israel: “Herzl Says”
In Turkey: “Ship Captain’s Orders”
In Japan: “King Commands”
In Brazil: “The Master Ordered”

Some photos of the week:

Painting A Mail Box - Place Saint-Michel

Snowman - Hotel de Ville (City Hall)

Train Through the Countryside

Christmas Tree - Galeries Lafayette

David gets a gift


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