How Not To Eat Vegetables In Paris
It’s easy for the budget traveler to eat well in Europe, and it’s easy for the European to eat vegetables on a budget, but it does not come naturally for the budget traveler to eat vegetables in Europe. This is a continent blessed with crusty carbohydrates and top-notch animal byproducts, all available for a few euros. Sure, in the days I spent in Paris, I could have hunted down a salad if I set my heart on it. But if I’ve ever enjoyed a salad, it was half for its taste and half for the august sense of responsibility.
Eating a good salad gives me the same satisfaction as doing my taxes in under an hour.
Traveling is burdened by enough responsibilities. A salad shouldn’t be one of them. Scrambling to find iceberg lettuce is tedious when you’re also scrambling to find toilets, hostel keys, and hand sanitizer every half hour. And it’s wasted effort: In any competitive analysis of food in France, salad will lose by default to sandwiches, croissants, and cheese.
In my four days in Paris, I thought of vegetables not at all. On the fifth day I realized I had eaten vegetables not at all. Well, that’s not quite true: To convince myself there was no threat of scurvy (yet) I made a list of every single vegetable I consumed since landing in Charles to De Gaulle on December 31st. I counted exactly ten.
- A tuft of a side salad (Batignolles)
- Half of an artichoke, swimming in Dijon-butter sauce. (Batignolles)
- One potato, sharing the lane with the artichoke in the Dijon-butter sauce pool. (Batignolles)
- Half a tomato, sliced, mostly to add color to an airy baguette with chèvre and hard-boiled eggs. (Belleville)
- Harissa tomato paste, mostly to add spice to a Tunisian fry-bread sandwich with tuna and olives. (Belleville)
- Three gherkin pickles garnishing a plate of cheeses that came from cloven-hoved beasts on a very pungent diet. (Le Marais)
- A precious dollop of creamed potatoes, with more cream than potatoes. My failure to finish the potatoes drew a disapproving “C’est dommage” (“That’s too bad”) from the waiter, with which my Vitamin C count agreed. (Montmartre)
- Another tuft of a side salad, just enough to add levity to a plate of crimson blood sausage. (Montmartre)
- A celery, endive, and apple salad, but only because I had to choose a salad as part of a fixed lunch menu. (1st Arrondissement)
- A puree of something vegetal, I’m not sure what, mostly as an artistic backdrop to a butter-poached filet of dorado. (1st Arrondissement)
Am I wrong to prioritize bread and chocolate? Did I miss something spectacular here? Please let me know. I’ll be back in Paris in a few weeks and am open to correcting course, but only if that correction involves loads of butter and eggs. For food videos and photos from my current location, follow me on Instagram.