Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Raclette and Valenciennes

Sunday afternoon we were invited to our neighbors home for lunch. They served us a typical french meal called Raclette. They wanted us to know what it is. The raclette grill is put in the center of the table and on top of it you have the already cooked potatoes. The potatoes are there to keep warm. Then you take a piece of special raclette cheese and put it in the little dish and stick it under the grill. While it is melting, you take a potatoe and take the skin off and break it up on your plate. Then you take whatever pieces of the charcuterie (pork) and put them on your plate also. When the cheese melts, you put it on your potatoe. Then you eat it with the pieces of meat that you chose. All of these meats that look like salami, bologna, and ham are all pork products. When you finish you start all over again or if you want more cheese, you just melt more cheese. It is very tasty. We spent a very pleasant time with them.
It seems like we eat out a lot, but really we do not. It has just been over this holiday season that we have been invited out so often. The missionaries here do not get many dinner appointments. In fact last year we only had about 8 invitations. That doesn't include our holiday invitations. The young missionaries get invited a bit more, but not like in the states where we try to have dinner or lunch for the missionaries every day.
That being said, we have really appreciated and enjoyed every time we have been invited out. It has been interesting , tasty, and a lot of fun.

We made our last trip for missionary apt inspections for this transfer today. We drove to Valenciennes. Valencienne is a lovely town, which we enjoyed seeing. The elders have a very nice apt right in the center of town. I had to take this picture of McDonalds at the town square. Not too many McDonalds located in such an old building. As one look down the street one can see the "needle". It's more impressive in real life. I loved the old, ornate Mayrie. It is so beautiful.

A close up of some of the architectural features on the Mayrie.

We passed this little Fruits de Mer (fruits of the sea) stand. They were selling oysters and mussels.

A shot of a church and the spire of the cathedral.
In every city, town, and village there are many very beautiful churches. They are all different and many of them are very beautiful. However, they are almost all of them empty most of the time. There was a time when the French were very religious, but now they don't have the time. Most of the people are happy with what they are doing and when you talk to them, they say that they are not concerned or worried about the future. Many of them have forgotten God. In our city, Mouscron, the church just a few blocks from us once had 4 priests. Now there is just one priest for 4 of the churches in this little area. Less and less men are becoming Catholic priests.

Many of the streets are lined on each side with tall trees. It looks really pretty when they are all green.

The cathedral of Notre Dame is by the center of town. It is large and very ornate. It is in the process of being refurbished. We wanted to look inside, but it was closed. We parked across the street and ate our baguette tuna sandwiches that I made and had a clementine and shared an orange. Then we continued on our way.

I took several pictures to show the intricate work on the cathedral.

There were these figures all around the church. I don't know if they are all called gargoyles, but some of them certainly looked like gargoyles. Each one was different.

This one was a pig.

This one a lion.

This was a parrot of some sort.

The front door is very, very large and made of carved wood.

Notice the back and sides of the cathedral and see the blackness and peeling and chipping taking place.

Many of the streets are very narrow and on many of the streets cars park on each side. Do you think these are one way streets? Oh no. If there are 2 cars going in opposite directions, one must either pull into a side area or back out to let the other one pass by.

I thought this home was so pretty.

We drove past this school and the children were playing and shouting and having a great time. It sounded and looked just like the schools at home. It sure reminded me of yard duty.:) My first year of teaching was a 4th grade in Benecia, California. At Christmas time we had a party and the principal gave me a whistle so that I would thereafter be fully prepared for yard duty. In those days teachers had yard duty as well as their class to teach.

Yesterday we got to FHE(family home evening) and not a soul was there. We were wondering what was going on. We waited for about 20 minutes and the people started arriving. It seems like the metro broke down and was running about 35 mins late. We ended up having a really good lesson and activity. Of course the refreshements are always enjoyed by everyone. I am, of course, the refreshment provider.
Our lesson was on temples this time. We all take turns giving the lesson. Last night it was Stephane who gave the lesson with the help of 2 elders. They talked about the sacredness of temples and about what we do there and why we have them. Then they talked about how our bodies are temples because they house our spirits. Stephane told the story of how this past Christmas he was with his friends and they were watching movies. He fell asleep and woke up to the pain of having an earring shot into his ear by an earring gun, a gift from one of his friends. He said that since he has had that earring, he has not felt good inside. He didn't feel clean and pure. On Sunday he and his brother asked me if I could remove it and I did. Those boys were so happy. Gael just hugged and hugged me and said he was so happy that I took that earring out and that Stephane looked normal now. Stephane concluded that he felt so much better and cleaner now that the earring was gone. He said that he learned a good lesson there in following the prophet. I think the lesson went really well.


nikko said...

David talks about Raclette all the time and how yummy it was (is). A couple of years ago I even saw that exact same raclette grill at Central Market, but I didn't feel like spending the $$ on it and now I've never seen it there again. Sigh. I'll have to order him one online for his birthday or something. What is the special raclette cheese?

The buildings there are so pretty. Amazing to think of all the work that went into building them. Sad to see them so empty!

Yvonne said...

I love when you describe the food--I'm so ready to eat it because it sounds so delcious.

The pictures of the buildings are so beautiful. Too bad the people feel they do not have a need for God. So sad.

utmommy said...

So pretty there!