“I don’t like apple pie,” my husband staunchly said to his mother at age 4. Brian went about his life believing that his opinion was fact. For many years, his Mom made a separate dessert when apple pie was being served. Fast forward to Thanksgiving dinner at age 9 when Great Aunt Mabel prompted him that he should at least take a bite. “No” was all he said.
Aunt Mabel went on to explain how sweet and delicious apple pie was and how he had been missing out on the joy of consuming it all these years. Tentatively, Brian leaned over, sighed and opened his mouth just a teeny bit to get some on the cinnamon apples and crust on his lips. “Wow, yum!” is all that came out and then he devoured the whole piece.
Life is a bit like that sometimes. We get so stubborn that certain beliefs turns into truth. Somewhere in the past we heard something or made a judgement on something and that’s it. Case closed.
I am a bit ashamed to admit that I have had this judgement on French people. Having only traveled to Paris before in my early 20’s, I had returned home with a stale taste in my mouth about the people since each time I opened my mouth (or didn’t), they would speak back to me in rude, quick phrases that would swish me out of their view so they then could go on with their day.
This trip to Provence has proved different, thank goodness. Maybe it’s an older, wiser phenomenon. Maybe because of my reading and research I am more in tune with the intricacies of the country. No matter, with time and effort put forth, my view is changing.
Enter Beatrix and Francois, a couple (essentially strangers) we met through our home exchange website. They welcomed us into their home during our short stay in Paris. Located in the heart of the city, their apartment was small, quaint and decorated with a sense of old world charm. During our three and half hour dinner, I got the sense of a harmony and a hint of the converging of two cultures.
One course of our meal consisting of six (yes, SIX), was cheese. French cheese is never of a ‘general’ varietal like cheddar is in the states, each is known from the region where it is made. The triangular one is Brie de Meaux from Seine et Marne, about 70 kilometers from Paris. The Roquefort is from Aveyron in the center of southern France. The round one is Picodon, from Drome in the south east of France.
Try your hand at making your own local cheese from this list of ideas from the folks at Cultures for Health. In addition, peek into your judgements or biases and let a breath of fresh air flow in. You just might learn a thing or two. It can be done at age 4 or 44.