American people from the South, especially the Deep South, are lucky. They know how to cook, their cuisine is varied and they eat vegetables. Yes it’s true, a lot of their food is fried and they are plagued with diabetes and heart disease, but the philosophy is “Eat hard, die happy.” Northerners are less likely to follow this philosphy and live longer, in a mean- spirited kind of way
My “garden” here in Sens would be the perfect abode for one of those roundish gypsy trailers that you see in abandoned lots around France. When I have guests, I always close the drapes looking out on the garden. M. Parret always snatches the drapes open and criticizes, bragging about the perfection of his garden.
And it is perfect. He grows several varieties of tomatoes, potatoes, courgettes, peas, green beans, herbs, etc, organized in picturesque, country French garden rows. Daily, he putters around the garden, removing any weed or “petite bete” while terrorizing small sparrows who come to gaze in admiration. His garden is spotless!
Yesterday, I bought some small pots of rosemary, sarriette (summer savory) and fresh bay leaf and requested that he plant them in his garden for my future use.
M. Mean Jeans: Why don’t you plant them in your garden?
Moi: My garden is ugly
M. Mean Jeans: Oui, c’est vrai Americans don’t know how to garden.
Of course he planted them, but with a look of unforgivable superiority on his Gallic, septuagenarian, wine ruddied face. Sometimes I love him less, but he does share his garden and filled up my car with gas in a patronizing way
So I fried some of his garden green tomatoes to share and made a salsa for babies to accompany them. In the end, after tasting the salsa, I didn’t give him any because I accidently made salsa for American babies and/or adventurous, young French people; our M. Parret would not have “adored” it, but he did like the tomatoes.
Fried Green Tomatoes
4-5 green tomatoes, thickly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
Peanut oil for deep frying
Season both sides of the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then dust with flour, dip in beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs. Fry on both sides until golden.
Fresh Ripe Tomato Salsa
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 red spring onion bulbs, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 long, fresh, green chilli for babies (mild), seeded and chopped
1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tsp sugar
Juice from one lime
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.