Friday, May 26, 2006

Fried Rice with a Side of Sadism

Okay, okay, I’ll stop whining about the five-day weekend. So far, it’s going alright. I went swimming yesterday and today, which felt great. Today, I met Sarah and her Lebanese friend, Mansur, in town. We went to a café and had absurdly expensive crèpes. I could have ordered a normal, cheap crèpe with something like Nutella inside, but I wanted the one with chocolate, pear slices, and a scoop of pear sorbet for 6 euro (roughly $8; I know, I know). It started out really good, but about halfway through, I started getting full. Then I made the mistake of spreading the two huge balls of whipped cream over the whole thing, and things just went downhill from there. The whipped cream took over until I couldn’t even taste the chocolate anymore. When I realized my mistake, I tried to scrape the whipped cream off, but it wasn’t too effective. I forced myself to eat the rest of the crèpe because it was six freaking euros, but I felt sick by the end. Sarah and I made a smiley face out of the remaining whipped cream (we are so mature), then went inside to pay in order to avoid having the waitress come out and see what we’d done. While we were paying, a group of people came and sat at our table and were making faces at the gift we left them. Ah, social deviance. I really missed out on that when I was a kid, so I guess I’m slightly making up for it now. Not too much, though. The glass I got for my soda was kinda cool, and Sarah thought I should steal it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My mother will be very proud.

(You can’t really see the smiley face, because the cream mixed with the chocolate, and it’s just a big mess. But it’s there, complete with moustache (ripped napkin) and silverware-hat.)

Alright, so a word about French laziness: the French aren’t really that lazy (though, in the comments on my last post, a bona fide Frenchmen agreed that they were lazy, just so's you know), but they do have a more relaxed way of dealing with work. For example, going on strike is the national pastime. And what better to do on a four- or five-day weekend then indulge in the national pastime? While Frenchmen all over the country are trying to profit from the break to go visit friends, family, or the beach, the train conductors decided it was high time for a little grève action. That’s right, the train conductors went on strike just as everyone wanted to go someplace. I’m not sure why they’re on strike exactly, but it must be super important for them to strike at such a busy time. This two-day strike during a holiday must be costing the train companies a fortune.

Has anyone ever read “A Year in the Merde?” If so (all one of you), do you remember when the author talks about the subway strike? He points out that almost all the subway drivers went on strike, but just enough of them stayed working to make commuters think they might have a chance of getting to work on time with the subway. He calls it a sadistic move, creating a skeleton service on certain lines, attracting hordes of desperate commuters “ready to cover the quay with their bodies” (translation from the French, so not quite a direct quote). Anyway, this is exactly what the train conductors did today. Some trains, just a few, are running, meaning that anyone who had been planning to go out of town still has to go down to the train station to see if, by some slim chance, their train is one of those running. If it was a total strike, people would just give up and go on with their days, but as is, they still have to go to the train station, and possibly even wait several hours to see if, God willing, a train will go where they wanted to go at some point in the next 24 hours. Sadistic is the perfect word for it.

“Sadistic” from
  1. The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others.
  2. The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty.
  3. Extreme cruelty.
The word comes from the Marquis de Sade, who was a freak, deriving pleasure from sexual cruelty. He was also French. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

Okay, so I’ve talked before about how I don’t like to cook. Well, being on my own for four and a half days, I have to whip something up. Today, I decided to make fried rice. Two things made this hard: 1) I’ve never cooked rice before, and 2) the rice was in a glass jar, not a box with easy-to-follow instructions. I asked the almighty Internet how to cook rice, but still managed to screw it up. I went with the absorption method, where the rice absorbs all the water you add. But I added too much water, and the rice was soggy. No problem, I wanted fried rice anyway, I’ll just fry it nice and good and take care of the sogginess. Well, I fried it nice and good, alright. It was dry and slightly crunchy. But it tasted alright and my tummy’s full, so all’s well that ends well, and now I sort of know how to cook rice! I love learning, don’t you?


  1. I cook rice in a rice maker. It's this brilliant creation where you dump the rice in, then add the specified amount of water, and voila! It's shuts itself off as soon as the rice is done. It's amazing!!! I made fried rice once, too. It was pretty fun. Though, to make the best fried rice (so I've been told) you should use day old rice. Apparently that makes it taste better. I don't know. I think we should have cooking adventures this summer so that the two of us can learn how to fend for ourselves! :)

  2. Soggy crunchy fried rice....I think you should open a restaurant.

    Sheer Genious!!! I myself had Mac -n- Cheese for dinner because the chicken I BBQ'd made me queasy after I looked at it so I threw it away. Then I had some chocolate icecream. HEALTHY!! At least the mac n cheese wasn't made with the yukky powder, I make it with real cheese so it is pretty yummy.

    Ok, I am off to bed.


  3. Kusems, I am shocked that you had never made rice. That is almost unbelievable to me. But now you have! Hooray!
    Coincidentally, the other day Becky educated me on the origin of the word, sadism. And she decided that during the France trip she wouldn't need to visit his S&M castle. (Or, I guess I should say 'his S castle.' I don't know if he was into M.)