Hallelujah! We are back in Paris! Thank God, Almighty we are back in Paris! After an 8 hour drive back from the French Alps, I have never been so happy to see Paris in my life. It usually only takes us five or six hours to drive back but there was tons of snow and tons of holiday traffic but the good news is that David and I only fought twice and I only had three panic attacks in the car. My panic attack started when David left me in the car to go get his favorite gas station carrots. Gas stations in France are very very different than American gas stations. For one, they sell tabouli and if you want nachos with fake cheese, Doritos or Starburst, well then, you are in the wrong country. David’s favorite part of a road trip in France are the gas stations. He loves to buy his favorite ham and cheese sandwiches and carrot salad with raisins… Two things that should never belong at a gas station. They even have salmon sandwiches. WTF. So, as usual, David just had to go inside a gas station on our ride home and get his carrots. This was the first time we have ever driven back to Paris without a caregiver. So if David was going to go inside, that meant that I was going to be left outside in the car alone. This is rather daunting when you are paralyzed and unable to help yourself if you need it. Even though David and I had each other on speakerphone on our cell phones, I was a nervous wreck. What if David had a heart attack while he was in the gas station and then no one would ever know that I was left outside in the car. I started thinking about how long my breathing machine would last (six hours?). Then I started thinking how long I would last without food or water (maybe three days?). And then, while I was mulling all of this over in my head, this creepy guy got too close to my car window and I was convinced we were about to be carjacked. David was still inside the gas station so I just started screaming on the cell phone, “David, I’m being carjacked by a terrorist! Come back, come back!” David just started screaming, “There are no carjackings in France you idiot! Where do you think you are? Calm down, spaz! When I finish paying for my gas station carrots, I’m going to come back to the car and divorce you.” So that was a fun car ride home.
As we were driving into the city, I started thinking about how much I love Paris. I just wanted to wrap my arms around Paris and tell her I would never leave her again and that I was sorry for all the rude things I said about her. As we drove down the Champs Élysées and past the Grand Palais, I realized that Paris is the center of the universe. Don’t argue, it is. The cuisine, the architecture, the history, the gardens, the fashion, the shops, the cutting-edge styles, the old school flower shops, the bistros, the museums, the characters, the tradition… Oh my God, I love it here.
However, Paris cannot do carrot cake worth shit. I told my husband that and he said, “That’s because French people don’t eat carrot cake.” I think for once in his life he might be right.
I think the basic problem with French people and carrot cake is the lack of cream cheese. They don’t really have cream cheese here. They do have crème fraîche but there is no Philadelphia cream cheese in sight. I once ordered what looked like a delicious cheesecake but it turned out to taste like glue. Once again, lack of Philadelphia cream cheese. So, if I want a proper carrot cake, it looks like I’m going to have to make it myself. There is a shop in Paris run by a cranky New Yorker called Thanksgiving. They sell everything American… At triple the price. So, I think I’m going to pop over there and get some million-dollar cream cheese and make my own carrot cake. I have actually never made carrot cake… I know, I know… I should be shot but there is no time like the present so let’s get started…
Let’s start with some secrets from the experts…
Some suggestions...Use half butter and half olive oil.
Plump the raisins with brandy or rum.
Toast the nuts.
“Cream” the icing.
Add a half a cup of pumpkin.
Add a small tin of pineapple.
Okay now for some interesting carrot cake recipes…
Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting by Life Is Great Blog. Recipe HERE.
Carrot Cake Balls. Recipe HERE.
Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Recipe HERE.
Voilà! Carrot cake mastered.
*Something you don’t know about me? I am fanatical about foodborne illnesses, cross-contamination and any basic germ. My aunt was a nurse and scared me at a young age about all things bacteria. I treat raw chicken like…think Silkwood. Don’t tell anybody but I have been known to just throw away a cutting board after I use it with raw chicken. I am scared of raw eggs and that’s why I have a hard time with mayonnaise. I always cook foods too thoroughly just to be on the safe side. I would rather die than eat steak Tartar. But somehow I will eat carpaccio. However, I will not eat ceviche. I expect everyone in my house to wash their hands 375 times a day. I wish I had a black light so I could expose the hidden bacteria and prove my point. My husband and his family are the opposite. They eat everything and are never worried about food poisoning. In my opinion, they should be dead by now with all of the risks that they take. They eat food off the floor and don’t always refrigerate everything promptly. Maybe they’ve just built up a tolerance and that’s why they never get food poisoning. I have actually googled Listeria before. I check all canned goods for dents and never ever ever leave food in an open can. I have successfully shared this overzealous trait with Gracie. I will not drink regular milk anymore because my friend Tom sent me a horrifying video once regarding all of the bacteria in cow milk. I eat only organic meat and if for one second I start to think that it is actually an animal that I am eating, I instantly become a vegetarian…mid-meal. I want a hamburger so bad but I cannot bring myself to eat one. I have been known to order a hamburger without the meat. I’m cool with fish for some reason. It seems cleaner but don’t think for a second I’m not worried about mercury poisoning. My doctor is convinced that I have ALS due to a toxin that I ingested and my first response was… “I knew it! I knew it had something to do with shellfish and tap water!” And yes, I am a peach to live with.