I’ll admit it, the appliances are winning.
You wouldn’t expect much of a difference between France and the US when it comes to appliances, but there’s a lot more than trying to translate a manual.
The French have mastered multi-use appliances.
Combi ovens that bake (regular or convection), broil (grill to them), microwave, or (reputably) a combination of any of the above; washing machines that also dry your clothes; cable boxes that offer TV, music players, photo viewing, Internet and more.
We, however, have not mastered these multi-use appliances. Take the microwave or “micro” (pronounced me-crow) that has been built into almost every oven. I failed to figure this out in the last apartment I rented here and we failed again to make it work in this apartment.
But it’s simple…turn the knob to the microwave function, set the temperature, set the time, hit start.
Lights, fan, action. But for only 5 seconds.
It’s simple…read the book…turn the knob, press the temperature button, set the time, hit start.
Lights, fan, action (kinda sorta). For 5 seconds.
And the owner’s manual even has a 60 page section in English.
Thirty or so minutes later, having read the book, turned the knob, etc, hungry and frustrated we opted to heat the pommes gratin in a pot on top of the (induction) stove.
Next time, when the butcher asks how we’re going to heat the potatoes, we’ll ask for an oven-safe container, rather than the “micro” one and see if we can master the bake function.
Because here — like wanting to know when you’re going to eat your cheese purchase, so you get the one that’s perfectly ripe — there is concern about the proper procedure for reheating your pommes gratin.
And who would think that finally getting the volume back on the television would cause the two of us to both burst into uncontrollable laughter?
But in the middle of lunch (see, this is vaguely about food), slowly, subtly, the volume, which suddenly went off last night, came back on the TV.
Because after much time trying to figure it out (and a new set of batteries) all we could do was laugh.
Further adventures await, with appliances–induction burners, the washer/dryer combo and a dishwasher.
Bienvenue Á Nice !