I don’t always take advantage of Paris as much as I should, but since my sister has arrived, I’ve been trying a lot more, if only to give her something to do aside from sitting in my apartment and watching me work. Of course, she’s not looking for those days of pounding the pavement that a short trip requires either, but in the past two weeks, as we’ve been waiting for her school to start, we’ve been taking advantage of our free time and trying to see a bit of Paris every day.
Last week, we agreed to meet in front of Notre Dame, and like an idiot, I had let my cell phone run out of battery. Luckily, we had already decided on the place and time to meet, so at 5:10 PM, just as the afternoon began to end, I stood right in front of Saint Denis, holding his head, and I waited. And waited.
As a tour guide, I’m used to waiting for people in front of convened locations, and I’m used to the anxiety involved when, as you stand in front of Henry IV on a horse, you realize you’re not sure if the other party is coming or not. I may be of the generation that has cell phones constantly glued to our faces, but I do remember a time when, in New York, a plan would be made to meet “on the northwest corner” of somewhere, and it just happened, no calling or texting needed… or possible.
Of course, occasionally there were emergencies, and the rule was always that if the other person was more than 20 minutes late, you went home. It seems strange now, but it made sense at the time. And it made sense to me when, after waiting in the cold for 30 minutes, I started to head off.
Luckily, my sister and The Country Boy arrived just as I was making my way away from Notre Dame and towards the metro, and we were able to visit the cathedral during a vespers service, something I’ve never done before. So it all worked out as, I’ve found, most things do.
But what I enjoyed even more was having an excuse to be hanging around Paris at night, waiting in front of Notre Dame and people watching as the sky went from violet to gray to dark. Considering how often I once hung around Paris at nighttime, it’s even stranger how much I enjoyed this rare moment, these rare moments, becoming all the more common since my sister has arrived. The pictures that you see here are from our jaunt around the center of Paris, a combination of bits and pieces from some of the tours I’ve been giving since arriving here and a search for apéro near Châtelet. In other words: perfection.
The last time I posted a similar Brussels sprouts recipe, I’m fairly sure it was a hangover cure gone awry — a version of my favorite cure-all “big bowl of vegetables,” prepared for me and my friend, the Almost Frenchman, who is now the Almost Brit and living in London. It’s strange how things change, how many different incarnations of my life this city has borne witness to. I’m happy to be revisiting one of the earlier ones, now that Little Sister has started discovering the city for herself.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Potimarron and Bacon
1/2 potimarron squash, diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil, separated
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved through the root
100 grams (3.5 ounces) bacon, cut into matchsticks
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the squash, half of the olive oil and a bit of salt. Line a baking dish with foil, and place the squash in it in one even layer. Roast 20 minutes, tossing once.
Toss the Brussels sprouts with the remaining oil and another pinch of salt. Add them to the baking dish and roast an additional 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bacon in a cold pan and slowly heat over medium heat. Cook until crispy. Drain off the fat, reserving for another use.
Toss the vegetables with the bacon.