The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

RANDOM NOMAD: Jennifer Greco, Writer & French Cheese Specialist

Born in: Spokane, Washington, USA
Passports: USA and France
Cities/States/Countries lived in: Washington (Seattle): 1987-99; Louisiana (New Orleans): 1999-2003; France (Cesseras*): 2003-present
Cyberspace coordinates: Chez Loulou | A taste of life in the south of France (blog)
* A tiny village in the Languedoc-Roussillon region

What made you leave your homeland in the first place?
I’ve been a devoted Francophile ever since I was a teenager and knew that one day I would live in France. My husband and I bought a small holiday house in the south of France in 2001 and decided to move here permanently in 2003.

Is anyone else in your immediate family “displaced”?
I have no immediate family members who are “displaced”; however, my grandfather moved to America from Italy with his family at the age of 10.

How about your husband?
My husband was born and raised in New York City. He wasn’t a Francophile when we met, but as soon as I introduced him to Paris, he was hooked.

Describe the moment when you felt most displaced.
It wasn’t just a moment, but every single frustrating minute I had to spend in the the sous-préfecture, arguing with the woman behind the desk who didn’t want to do her job by helping me with my carte de séjour paperwork [visa for staying in France longer than a year].

Describe the moment when you felt least displaced.
The summer night that my husband and I sat at a long table in the center of the village with our neighbors, sharing wine, food, stories and laughter.

You may bring one curiosity you’ve collected from each of your adopted countries into the Displaced Nation. What’s in your suitcase?
From Seattle, Washington: If it wouldn’t spill, a caffè macchiato from Caffe Ladro.
From New Orleans: Mardi Gras throws and Crystal Hot Sauce.
From France: An olive wood Laguiole corkscrew.

You’re invited to prepare one meal based on your travels for other Displaced Nation members. What’s on the menu?
We’ll start out with a specialty of the Pacific Northwest: cracked Dungeness crab and clarified butter. Then we’ll each have half a Charentais melon filled with Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois — a wonderful dessert wine from Narbonne, close to where I live in the south of France. For the main course, I’ll serve a jambalaya from New Orleans. Then we’ll have (mais oui) a Languedoc cheese course — including Roquefort, Pélardon and Tomette des Corbières. Dessert will be a New Orleans classic: bread pudding with Bourbon sauce.

You may add one word or expression from the country you’re living in to The Displaced Nation argot. What will you loan us?
From New Orleans: Makin’ groceries — meaning going grocery shopping. It’s one of the many colorful expressions that’s part of the local vernacular. I simply love it!
From France: Oh la vache! (Oh my gosh!) This one cracks me up — the literal translation is “Oh the cow!” I can’t say it without smiling.

It’s French Cuisine month at The Displaced Nation. Who is your favorite French chef of all time?
I love Jacques Pépin. He is an honest, down to earth chef, writer and instructor, and his recipes are always delicious. One of my favorites of his is the Skillet Apple Charlotte, a melange of Tarte Tatin and French toast. C’est délicieux!

Like you, Julia Child was an American who moved to France and fell in love with the food. (We have just now inducted her into our Displaced Hall of Fame.) Of the following three Julia Child quotes, which do you most identify with?

1) The only time to eat diet food is when you’re waiting for the steak to cook.

2) The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.

3) Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything.

I most identify with: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” I believe in living life to its fullest and sometimes that means taking risks and ignoring the fear, whether it be in the kitchen or in life. Our decision to move to France meant leaving our comfort zone and embracing the challenge of learning a new culture. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it! As for the kitchen — readers of my blog will know that I’m now on a mission to taste every single French cheese. I’ve now tasted 205 (there are 600-1,000, depending on who’s counting).

Readers — yay or nay for letting Jennifer Greco into The Displaced Nation? Tell us your reasons. (Note: It’s fine to vote “nay” as long as you couch your reasoning in terms we all — including Jennifer — find amusing.)

img: Jennifer Greco in Paris, in front of the Louvre (April 2010).

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s installment from our displaced fictional heroine, Libby, who is taking last week’s advice from Maggie to heart and discovering that Woodhaven is her oyster. (A good thing she’s not allergic to shellfish like her husband, Oliver!) What, not keeping up with Libby? Read the first three episodes of her expat adventures.

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation. Includes seasonal recipes and book giveaways. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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4 responses to “RANDOM NOMAD: Jennifer Greco, Writer & French Cheese Specialist

  1. foodbridge October 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Great to see Jennifer Greco on the displaced nation. She has the right attitude about life, its all about the cheese.

  2. lesley nevitt August 10, 2013 at 9:11 am

    enjoyed reading about life in France..i was surprised that homes need heating (six months?) the other sites i’ve read lead you to believe SOUTH OF FRANCE IS ALWAYS WARM ?

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