There is an array of dishes that are made in the US and are unheard of in France. I am setting the stage now, so listen carefully to what I am about to tell you and never never do this at home!
We arrived in the United States in early 1959 and moved in with my step father's parents who lived in Eugene. My step father was finishing up his education, so living with in laws was a way of cutting down on the budget. My mom soon began to prepare these wonderful dishes to the delight of Mammy and Poppy (grandparents) - except when it came to dessert. Dessert time always brought surprises and usually not of the happy kind, I might add.
One day (and there will be many more stories like this to tell), mom saw a pumpkin pie on TV. This type of pie is not known in the world of Parisians, but mom thought she knew how to make it and figured it was easy. So, she proceeded to prepare the crust and then took the fresh pumpkin, cut it in half, took the seeds and rind out, did a little peeling, and cut the pumpkin in one inch chunks. She then put it in the pie tin with the crust, added plenty of brown sugar, and threw it in the oven to bake.
Along comes dinner and yummy as usual. Then the dreaded words from my mom, "Me make dessert. I make surprise tonight", to which my grandfather quickly replied, "Ginette, please, no more surprises, no more"! Out of the kitchen she came, proud as she always was, with her surprise in hand. When she explained that she had made a pumpkin pie, everyone looked at one another; in a whisper that was barely audible, you could hear, "oh god".
This pie was awful! One bite and my grandfather chipped a tooth, as I recall. Mammy was a real trooper however, took several bites, and proceeded to mention that it wasn't all that bad. What was she on? I tell you, it was awful. Later in the week, mom's best friend came by and when she heard how mom made that pie, she burst into laughter and taught her how it really should be made. There will be more surprises to tell!