November 11, 2007
Picard les Surgeles, or The TV Dinner Revisited
The day before Elizabeth came, I had the pleasure of a jaunt around town (okay, just to the department store) with Mimi, who is my evening babysitting boss. She graciously let me borrow her aerobed, and we both had things to look for at the department store (I was looking for a more permanent air mattress solution), so she invited me to go along with her. We took her daughter Katharine (who is 11 days younger than my niece Katherine), and I enjoyed human interaction during the daytime – what a treat! But I digress. The point of all of this is that Mimi told me about Picard, a frozen foods store that stocks very high quality foods – just frozen! Apparently they make everything from very fresh food and then flash freeze it right away. She sang its praises enough that on the next to last night of Elizabeth’s visit, we went there to see if we could find anything for dinner.
I could make this blog entry short and just say that Picard is my new dinner mecca. But I’m obviously not going to do that. Why make it short now, when I’ve already spent 200 words to this point! That being said, I don’t ever think I’ll cook a meal in France again.
Our first visit to Picard, we chose a couscous dish with chicken, red pepper, zucchini, and carrots. We had it that night. Delicious! What’s more, it fed the three of us for just 3 euros total. We also got a frozen version of aligot, and while it wasn’t as good as the real thing (nor would I expect it to have been), it was pretty darn yummy. A side dish of lentils with Moroccan seasonings became my lunch for two days later in the week. I also bought some sausages that were a bit too grisly for me (I have meat issues sometimes), but that Allen enjoyed.
The next week, after we’d returned from Scotland, I visited Picard again, determined to pack our tiny freezer with meals for the week. I chose another package of the couscous dish; Brighton soup, which has potatoes, cheddar cheese, and carrots (I could eat that all day); five veggie soup with grains; shrimp with garlic and parsley (which we ate on rice); rice a la provencal, which just meant with tomatos and olives; and caramel ice cream. Everything has been great so far, with the exception of the shrimp and ice cream, which were just okay (as if putting them so close together in the same sentence wasn’t unappetizing enough). We haven’t had a lot of luck with ice cream from the store over here. Fortunately, we live a block from the best ice cream in the city, possibly in Europe, so I forgive the French for their store-bought ice cream deficiencies. (What must they think of us?)
I’ll be going back to Picard this week to fill our tiny freezer again, and I can’t wait. With just a double burner to cook all our meals on, and with my work keeping me out of the house between two- or three-thirty and around seven, heating up a high-quality frozen meal is so convenient and logical! America needs to get on the Picard bandwagon. Two weeks ago, I would have scoffed at the thought that frozen food could be this satisfying.