My parents recently returned from a French river cruise. They spent a couple of nights in Paris and then headed to Lyon for the cruise. (Yes, I did book the trip for them). Before leaving, my mom graciously asked if there was anything I wanted them to bring back. In fact, there was.
With the advent of the internet, I can basically get whatever I need or want from the comfort of my living room, or pool deck. Yet there was one elusive souvenir that I had bought on our France trip in 2002 that I could never find stateside. A spatula. OK, not just any spatula. The. Best. Spatula. Ever.
If you have made it this far, you must realize that I am insane. Who asks a loved one traveling to France to bring them a spatula?
Actually, I asked for three. You see, while meandering through some crappy housewares store in June 2002 with FKGuy and our friends that live in New York, I saw this really snazzy spatula. It had a red silicone head and a metal looped handle. Why is that so great? One word: Dishwasher. Since it has a metal handle, you can stick it in the dishwasher. Most others have a wooden handle. Since it has a looped handle, you can hang it on a hook in your cabinet so it is always at the ready. Most others are solid. Yes, I understand that it is a little weird that I am stilltalking about a spatula. But, hey, you’re still reading…
So off they went for their French adventure, in search of a spatula. When they came back, I asked how the trip was and if they found my kitchen tools. You see, all good s
ouvenirs have to have a purpose. Otherwise they just take up space and get thrown out eventually. Not my spatula.
As I am cooking, I often think of that trip: The nice people at Longchamp that opened the store on a day they were closed for inventory because my friend wanted a bag and we were leaving Paris early the next morning. Or the guy that owned a fondue restaurant in Tours, and when he heard we were from Florida proceeded to tell us all about his stint at the French pavilion at EPCOT. Or the restaurant where nobody spoke English, so we helped out the two American women sitting next to us. FKGuy picked out a wine and I helped them navigate the menu (“I don’t think you want that… it is an entire head...”) Plus, they had a wonderful cheese course that involved bringing a gigantic platter of cheese of all kinds to the table, letting us take whatever we wanted off the platter, then removing it.
So, you see, the souvenir shopping is not all about the tee shirts and key chains. While those do serve a purpose, my spatulas are a better reminder of my travels (and now, other people’s travels).