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From The Big Easy To The Big Apple Back To Petit Paris

After nine days of eating my way through an ongoing Thanksgiving feast with family and friends in the “Big Easy” (New Orleans), I’m working my way back to “Petit Paris” by stopping off in the “Big Apple” (New York) for a mere two days to visit my daughter.

Everything is BIG here, especially compared to its Parisian counterparts. Cars are bigger, beds are bigger, closets are bigger, portions are bigger, smiles are bigger.

When you order a “small” cup of coffee in Starbucks or in the other copycat coffee shops, it’s called a “tall” — and it’s not so small after all. Last night at Sammy’s Famous Roumanian Steak House, the Rib Steak for one was one whole pound and filled one large platter. (If you’ve never been to Sammy’s, it’s an experience you won’t find in Paris — like going to a Bar Mitzvah celebration, but you don’t know any of the guests when you arrive and you’re sure to get to know them while you’re there. (157 Chrystie Street in the Lower East Side.) I’ve gotten a bit bigger, too, just in the last week, from being the good little girl finishing everything on my plate (and enjoying every minute).

To come to the States I packed a “petite valise” inside a big one and am returning now with two — both filled with American products purchased at a “petit prix.” This is the land of an overabundance of products in big stores like K-Mart, Walmart and Target where we came upon one long aisle of JUST deodorant. It was a BIG selection.

Guess I’d gotten so used to Petit Paris — the Parisian “petit crème,” “petit appartement,” “petits fours,” “petit ami,” “Petit Bateau,” “Petit Prince, “petit enfant” and the “petit monde” we live in. When you sign your credit card receipt they ask for a “petit signature.” I cook in a very “petite cuisine” with a “petit frigo” that won’t fit more than a a few days worth of fresh food. I have a “petit lave linge” that won’t wash more than 4 kilos of clothing and no dryer for lack of space in my “petite salle de bain.”

Well, let’s face it, the U.S. IS bigger in every way than France… it is the fourth largest country in the world in both area and population. Including Hawaii and Alaska, it has an area of 3.6 million square miles (9.4 million square kilometers). Texas alone is larger than France, and Alaska is twice the size of Texas.

And don’t laugh, but we have France to thank. The U.S. purchased 828,000 square miles (2,144,520 square kilometers) of the western half of the Mississippi River basin in 1803 from France at the “petit prix” of less than three cents per acre — the greatest land bargain in U.S. history. The Louisiana Purchase actually doubled the size of the United States in one transaction!

Having a BIG time in the Big Apple, heading back tomorrow to “Mon Petit Chteau” on “ma petite rue” and looking forward to having “un petit verre” with friends in my favorite “petit café,” “Au Petit Trou de Bretagne.”

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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