The summer before my junior year of college – what now seems like lifetimes and galaxies away – my best friend Sofya and I studied abroad in Paris for one month. Our class, where we surveyed the literature of 1920’s American expat writers, took up only a few hours each day, leaving us the rest of the time to stroll through Jardin du Luxembourg, picnic on Champ de Mars, drink tequila-flavored beer at sidewalk cafes, and mingle with French boys. It was my first time in Paris, an event I had excitedly awaited for years. The trip exceeded all my expectations; it was nothing short of magical. Being 19, in great company, and reading Hemingway and Fitzgerald in Paris, was the most perfect month I could ask for.
Our school offered a meal plan that would give us three meals daily at the cafeteria, which we, of course, declined. Who goes to Paris and gets the campus meal plan…? Not these gals. We were going to explore every single brasserie, bistro, cafe, restaurant, boulangerie and patisserie that city had to offer. But, being young and not entirely forward-thinking, we didn’t realize how quickly this tour de France would eat into our modest summer budgets. Though we did enjoy a fair share of meals in restaurants, many days we’d buy cheese, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a baguette and a bottle of red to enjoy in our room. I even modestly documented this ritual in this ancient blog post. (We hid the leftover wine in our closet since it was a dry campus. Classy, I know. Sorry, campus administrators!)
It goes without saying that Paris boasts some of the world’s best cheese, bread and produce, so although we were eating on a budget, those meals were thoroughly enjoyed. Besides, what does it matter what you’re eating when you’re a 19-year-old frolicking around Paris with your BFF?
Every summer since, I am flooded with Paris memories and long so badly to go back. I feel so lucky to share this month of memories with Sofya, and try as we might to retell the stories, no one will ever know what it was like to be us the summer of 2010.
Since then, this bread-cheese-tomato meal is my go-to no-cook dinner – though I did graduate from supermarket cherry tomatoes to the local heirloom kind. It’s the perfect après-work meal for a hot summer evening when using the stove is out of question. It’s simple, satisfying, and perfect for sharing with someone you love. Bon appétit.
The Perfect No-Cook Dinner
- Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 gorgeous baguette
- A stinky soft cheese of your choice
- Dry red wine
1. Arrange tomatoes on a serving dish. Drizzle with some oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Enjoy your no-cook meal.
What are your favorite food memories?