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And so... it begins
In which I try to figure out what to share with you
Thank you so much for subscribing to my newsletter, I wasn’t expecting this many subscribers already after my late night soft launch, but here we are.
Please note there will be startup issues while I try and figure out the contents of this newsletter or you know, just see it as a process.
That said, this isn’t really the beginning, because we already moved to France back in December and have been in our new home since late January.
Let’s take a short rewind to how I ended up in rural France.
I am by no means a Francophile (sorry), but years ago when a friend brought back a folder of French listings I was like okay when can I go?
You see, relative to the Netherlands houses in France are fairly affordable. The average home in the Netherlands now costs around 438k, whereas in the French department we moved to it’s more around the 175k mark (and if you can handle a fixer upper you could find something for as low as 65k).
Being overworked as I was, a dream started to brew. I would start a side hustle that would allow me to work from anywhere in the world, so I could quit my job and go live a more relaxed life in the France countryside, closer to nature and cheese, with less strenuous bills to pay and more time to relax and unwind.
Of course that side hustle didn’t happen until after I burned out and turned to a career(ish) in food. In the intervening years I was lucky enough to meet a manperson who shared my dreams of a quieter life in France, so at least as of 5 years ago I had someone to dream with.
The entire first year of the pandemic we’d just look at each other and scream: “We could’ve been in France!” So when the second year rolled around, with ample evidence that why yes we could totally work from home, we said fuck it! Let’s make it happen. And make it happen, we did.
I will explain how we decided on the Charente region and hunted for homes in my next newsletter.
It’s all about that paper
At the moment we are heavily entangled in the bureaucratic elements of our landing in France. This means that the past 2 weeks we spent a lot of time making friends at the France Service, a public service agency that helps anyone living in France with all things public service.
The tax lady told us we won’t exist for her until next year, so that appointment was a bust but I did get to fill out a form to request a form. So not all was lost.
We also made our first trek to the market in Ribérac. My manperson spent most of last year watching French programs about French places, and this market came up in one of them (starts around 50 minutes mark). It’s one of the largest markets in the South West, and even for winter it’s the biggest French market I’ve ever been to with loads of exciting produce to try.
This week’s eatening
I found this funky little raw milk Marbré in Ribérac, which was maybe one scale too funky for me but a joyful cheese eating experience none-the-less.
For dinner I made perkedel kol bunga, as well as a pretty good fennel and courgette lasagna, which I’m hoping to develop into a fennel, courgette and pea lasagna somewhere in the coming weeks (months? 😬). I.e. once I launch my paid newsletter.
This week’s readening
I started in Mayukh Sen’s Tastemakers and was particularly excited to learn more about Buwei Yang Chao but I’ve dropped off reading about food for a bit and am reading about Russia, Putin and Ukraine now instead.
I started with This Is Not Propaganda, an okayish but kind of scattered primer on how oppressive regimes weaponize social media.
I’m about to finish From Russia with Blood. Despite its ham-fisted title, this gives a good overview of how Putin came into power, enamored himself to the west while killing various people in the UK. It’s got a true crime vibe which makes for easy reading during these not so great times.
This week’s binges
This TikTok by Eatchofood for genmaicha rice crispy treats left me very excited and eager to finish developing genmaicha ice cream.
My cats got to go outside for the first time since the move. We learned that Kitty loves going on walks with us so I also watched a lot of her living her best life.
I think that’s enough for now. Let me know what you thought of my first newsletter in the comments and what you’d like to see more of.