Preserving family food traditions
The project taking most of my time outside of work
A week ago, a new email newsletter appeared in my inbox from Dianne Jacob, probably the reference point for all food writing. In her newsletter, she spoke about preserving food cultures and the complexities of food with multiple identities and origins. This reminded me of what I thought would be a small family project I was working on that I temporarily set aside to ensure I had all the documents for my visa renewal.
This project I’m working on is a family cookbook with recipes from all immediate family members. This came about during my trip back home, where I was hit in the face by the poor health of some family members, all of whom are some of the most central cooks of the family. I’ve wanted to do this project for ages but never had the motivation or time to transcribe or re-type over 500 recipes from all the cooks in the immediate family (grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle, and cousins plus myself). I’ve only added recipes from my mom and grandma, with a handful from my aunt, leaving me with 293 recipes and counting. I’ve barely touched my aunt’s recipe manager app, with over 500 recipes (!!), so the next few weeks will be pretty full, just typing out recipes into the publishing platform to get these recipes into a bound format, with all the family recipes, in one place.
I’ve also completed part of the visa renewal, getting the application package accepted. My appointment was last Wednesday, in a city about an hour and a half away called Quimper. Quimper is the administrative centre of the department in which I live. I could have completed the whole process in Brest, the sub-administrative centre. Still, there were no appointments available - who would’ve guessed. It took me about two months of searching for an appointment to get one. I finally got my appointment while standing in line for security while returning to Canada in March. The day finally came, and I had all the documents except one. The préfet (the administrative authority in the department) warns everyone that application packages will be rejected if they are missing documents. Luckily, I had the “attestation of deposit of an ask for a work authorization” from my employer, which was temporarily accepted. In addition, I was given an “acknowledgement of a request for a residence permit.”
I find it quite comical how such vital documents that give me the legal right to stay in France beyond my visa’s expiry date have such unnecessarily long names. But, I will take it and patiently wait for the work authorization, which my employer has applied to the government. This work authorization legally allows an employer in France to employ a ‘third national.’ In contrast, the residence permit allows a ‘third national’ to reside in France and legally perform the actions mentioned on this permit. Of course, my “mentions” will be a salaried activity, meaning I can only work for someone else and do not have the right to start my own business in France - but that’s okay because there’s far too much paperwork to do that.
Right before leaving for Quimper, I also submitted my first French revenue declaration, not tax returns, because it’s very rare that you get your taxes paid in France. Since arriving in France in August 2022, the only income I have earned is bank interest from my accounts in Canada. In France, you are taxed on your worldwide income, not just your income from French sources, so I will pay about 10€ in taxes and 35€ in social charges towards healthcare, retirement, and housing subsidies.
Anyways, that’s it for now. Next week will be my ninth month since I arrived in France. No special festivities, but we’ll see if I can get a short travel recap about Quimper up for then!