There is meal planning, and I have learned in the past few days, there is meal planning. The first is the kind that my mother and sister do, to ensure that all tastes are accommodated and the work is not doubled, for one or another family gathering. Or, the kind that I do when I have offered, for reasons I cannot recall once knee deep and crying into onions, to cater an affair in New York City for 60 plus people.
I learned of the second, markedly more intense level, in Alsace over these Christmas holidays. Mind you, I have witnessed pieces of this second type before. It begins with Ben emailing or calling each of his parents, separately and with each of their culinary strengths close in mind, about a week prior to departure, with his stomach's deepest desires. Usually, it continues with Ben salivating on the plane as he tells me what we will eat at midi, or midday meal, upon landing.
This year, and what leaves me no choice but to declare a 'second' level, is two things. First, calls were actually made between Ben's long- since- divorced parents to compare menus. And, at each home, prior to parting ways for the evening, we have been told exactly what we will be eating the next day for each meal we will be sharing.
A bit intense? Yes and no. Yes, because there is a chance that your stomach will growl in your sleep! No, because it makes the hazy breakfast choice oh-so-very much easier. Espresso and croissant or espresso and yogurt? When escargots and mussels, with white wine and garlic and parsley, and real, unadulterated butter, is going to be only your lunch appetizer, you too may find yourself saying, "just a double espresso for me, this morning, please!"