I realise I’ve been here three months and not really talked about the food. How could I have been so remiss when I’m so greedy?
I’m not the only one: in a routine of remorseless exercises of rééducation interspersed with periods of inactivity when most people find it hard to occupy themselves, the meals are pivotal points in the day.
I usually get up and shower at 6.30 and await breakfast eagerly. It arrives at 8.15, usually delivered by a charming, smiling woman – on of several of Magebran origin. Normally my favourite meal of the day, breakfast here is sadly nothing to write home about. I have opted for chocolate rather than the indifferent coffee. And the bread roll (‘tartinée ‘ with butter and jam) is not a patch on my own lovely toast (or, on my more virtuous days, porridge).
Lunch, at midi, is in a different class. The entrée is usually a salad and the main dish can be really good. Yesterday we had steak, with a good sauce, excellent potato gratin and peppers. Particular highlights of the week are mussels – and chips, which everybody falls on with gusto. Then we have cheese (proper cheese – not the plastic sort I have had in other clinics), fruit (I’ve lost count of how many clementines I have eaten) and about twice a week a dessert. Marie Laure and I get quite excited on pudding days, but we are not the only ones!
Supper is often of lower quality and the weekends, when many people go home, can be really indifferent. Sad, when those who remain in the clinic need cheering up and entertaining over two long days with no rééducation.
I almost forgot the goûter, at four in the afternoon – hot drink of your choice and on Thursdays a small bun or cake. The French laugh at the English and their afternoon tea, but they are partial to their goûter. (The difference is I see very little snacking between these four daily events.)
So the only real downsides are the weekends – and the vegetables, which are invariably overlooked for my taste.
The result of all this is that I have put on over three kilos here! For the past month I have opted for ‘petite portion’ for the main course – a half portion – but with no sign of a stop to this relentless weight gain. Some serious dieting will be on order when I get home.