Food and philosophy the French way

Confiture aux abricots is apricot jam in FrenchDearest Darlings,

How goes it in cold wet old Melbourne? Truth be told it’s a bit like that in my French hideaway today. I had plans of dusting off the bike and riding into Chinon for the English conversation and afternoon tea but it’s not looking likely at the moment. Maybe I’ll just stay inside and eat. I’m waiting for our bakery van to pull in so I can buy a baguette and a croissant – a very rare treat but it will taste delicious with my HOME MADE apricot jam. No your eyes do not deceive you – my cooking mojo has returned. It went walkabout after 25 years of doing it for a living. Now I can cook for the sheer joy of it – another reason to love my new French home.

I’m just letting my photos dictate my correspondence.

Irish breakfast tea, English newspaper and French toast

Can’t wait to see what’s next…Ah yes, my toasted sandwich. I now have a George Forman grill thingy. So my dinner repertoire has just doubled. I’m toying with the idea of having a dinner party here for a few select new friends using my 2 gas burners, my microwave and George. The Bedsit Challenge. We’d have to sit on the bed to eat it! Stay posted. Note the flower arrangement courtesy of my hostess’s garden. Roses and lavender – très français non?

Crottin has two meanings in French: one describes goat’s cheese when it’s the shape below; the other means ‘manure’. Use your imagination…Crottin is French for manure

On my afternoon walk yesterday, I took my courage in both hands and knocked on the door of the goat farm around the corner. Madame took me into the dairy and together we decided on the best size and maturity of the chèvre for me. Well we were wrong about one thing – I’ve already eaten half of it! But Madame and I have arranged another rendezvous demain so I’ll survive – just.

Funny thing – even if you introduce yourself, the French don’t always take the queue to introduce themselves.

French countryside
Chez Madame

So she’s going to be Madame forever and I suspect she won’t ever call me by my christian name either. When I had lunch with friends the other day at the local auberge, various people would stroll past us, nod and say ‘Monsieur, ‘Dames‘ – I added the ’s’ because I assume they were including me as well – but my lunch companions didn’t know them from Adam. I love all that colloquial stuff. And politeness (‘la politesse‘). In my opinion, the reputation of the French – particularly the Parisians – for rudeness is unjustified.

And I love that I’m living in a place where my daily bread is delivered to my door and my favourite cheese maker is around the corner; where queues at markets are long because stall holders and customers are serious about quality; and yes, where business is transacted on a micro rather than a macro level. Less efficiency – bucketloads of bonhomie.

Much love as always x

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