The other day I saw this hand blown glass antique, at my friend's antique stand. She has a massive collection of these sorts of things at her home. She asked me if I knew what they were. I gave her my response, which was wrong, and thought to myself "Now she tells me, now, after years of being mislead."
But the minute she told me, I knew... duh, how obvious, but of course.
Do you know what it is?
The first person to tell me what it is and tells me the name of the object too, will win a antique prize.
Early nineteen century, hand blown glass object....
A second prize will be given for the most creative answer.
Good Luck and Happy Guessing.
Winners will be announced tomorrow morning.
I love riding the Ferris Wheel especially in the evening.
French Husband took the picture (above) of me running towards it... Yes I am still a child at heart. He said, "I have never been on a Ferris Wheel, have you?"
But he has been on one, I remember we rode the Ferris Wheel in Marseilles, overlooking the sea and the city, when Chelsea was a baby. Shaking my head in disbelief I responded to that man of mine, "Sometimes I wonder if you know my name!"
"Corey, I know your name."
"What is my middle name?" He looked at me with that look that says 'I am not playing your game'.
"Ferris" I offered to his silence.
The sign said:
Le Grand Roue 1900 - The Ferris Wheel 1900
50 meters high -
10,000 light bulbs or light bobs as that man of mine calls them.
36 nacelles - cars.
It takes 10 trucks to transport it.
Weighs 90 tons.
The Ferris Wheel over looked the city of Avignon. The Palais des Papes seem to bud and bloom as the Ferris Wheel took us up over the walled city. In the distance Pont d'Avignon, and the city's lights flickering. So romantic.... until that man of mine STOOD UP and rocked our Nacelle!
The ride cost five euro a piece. I wanted to keep the plastic tokens.
Years ago when I was eighteen I took my two cousins (I was their babysitter) to ride the Ferris Wheel.
The Ferris Wheel started to go around and after the second tour it sputtered, then jerked and eventually came to an abrupt halt, causing the cart to rock back and forth. As luck would have it we were stranded at the very top. Groovy. Cool. Hot Dog! I love Ferris Wheels so it should have been dreamy cozy stranded on top for nearly an hour. Except that my cousins were babies! Shara was 15 months old, and her sister Natasha was three.
Fun is not what I had.
Scared doesn't even begin to describe my feelings.
Talk about pulling tricks out of my hat, talk about singing songs constantly! Imagine trying to keep two little kids still while stranded on top of a Ferris Wheel... it is a wonder I still like the damn thing!
Photos and Text by: Corey Amaro
Along the winding way to Sacha's BMX track, which weaves through olive orchards, vineyards and goat farms, the road is narrow with spectacular views. Views that I barely notice because the twisty snake of a road is similar to Stelvio pass minus the crazy motorcyclists.
Yet the other day, let's just say the one millionth time as we climbed the mountain pass, a sparkle, a flicker of light caught my eye...
I looked back trying to detect the sparkle, "What was that?" I asked Sacha, who was listening to the Black Eyed Peas on his I-Pod. I could tell by the nod of his head that he was grooving to Boom Boom Pow which didn't seem to have the same beat as my question.
So I slammed on the brakes, nearly driving the car into the ditch.
"Mom!" shouted Sacha.
"Boom Boom Pow, do you like my swagger?" I said, though Sacha didn't catch my tease. "I saw something sparkle, that I want to investigate."
"Can't you do that on the way back, I don't want to be late." He sighed.
Obediently I drove on, he was right, on the way back I could check out that sparkle that caught my eye.
Fly catchers in olive trees. One old glass fly catcher per tree.
I wanted to be an olive tree!
I had to slap my hand's desire to pluck off those fly catchers and take them home with me!
"Diamonds!" I hollered.
"Mom really, aren't you exaggerating a bit?" replied Sacha who think I am nuts most of the time, "They're dirty!"
"Diamonds!" I shouted back listening to the Boom Boom Pow of my own heart.
Fly catchers in olive trees nearby my home.
Photos and text by: Corey Amaro
The end of the school year.
The end of an era.
Sacha graduates soon.
Fabrice, Sacha's best friend since the age of four, will go to school in Cannes.
These are the last days of childhood, or at least that is how I see it.
A big change is happening in our family.
Chelsea will study a year abroad (San Francisco, then in China). Mr. Espresso, Chelsea's boyfriend will study in London for one year.
Long distance relationships are....
Sacha will either go to school in Arles or take a gap year in Willows... he has yet to make a decision.
Their wings open, the horizon calls them, their taste-buds spark, their eyes widen...
Delicious life and the freedom to splash!
We went out to dinner the other night to celebrate Sacha's 18th birthday. While at dinner Annie's eye were sparkling as she said, "Ah youth! Look at them, young, beautiful, free.... I am happy to be here watching their future unfold before my eyes. This is the beautiful age the beginning of many firsts."
As a parent I can say what joy it is to see your children happy. What comfort it is to see them enter in healthy, caring, good relationships. It is a parent's peace of heart to see their children fall in love with someone they can trust.
Chelsea and Sacha give me peace of heart, and that it the best gift ever.
"This is the beautiful age." Annie said in regards to my children.
Though looking at her I thought, "Every age can be beautiful when we are young at heart and have something to look forward to."
But Annie would disagree with me... I can hear her say with her depth of wisdom and experience, "This is the beautiful age." And in hearing that understand completely what she means.
An open road.
A taste of firsts, like a baby's first year.
Life is beautiful: Young, old, and in between.
I hope and pray I can be as open, as young at heart, as loving and joyful as Annie is. That life will be a wonderland to live each and everyday. I pray that my children will feel that passion for life too.
The new adventure begins.
The birds are flying. The parents are looking at the nest. Annie is alive with a skip in her step, love continues to bloom and all seems good....
Happy tears with the taste of salt.
Their romance was that of a young girl's dream... love letters, candle light, tenderness and many midnight rendezvous. Swooning under the moonlight, she tied their dreams, side by side amongst the stars.
Their heads had been in the clouds, and her heart in his hand, but their feet were well planted. They knew that love had more to do with letting go, and moments like this of holding on.
...and as the moon passed around the world a thousand times, and the days came tumbling one after another, attempting to tarnish their glow. That was when she took his hand and lead him under the midnight sky. She put his hand next to her breast, untied the ribbons from the stars, believing that they would become roots.
Photo: Vintage love charm glowing under a rhinestone star.
Photos and text by Corey Amaro:
A yellow wall is the background for a planter of hens and chickens.
The summer nights are full of light. Eight in the evening, the shutters are shut, and the flowers reach out for the last golden light.
Royal blue awning with the name of one of my favorite restaurants.
A small balcony over looking the port.
The sky was blue, the sea was blue, the laundry on the line was blue....
Classic dark green shutters and a touch of pink.
Outdoor cafe. Simple put.
One blue wash cloth pinned with a yellow kiss.
Menu twenty four euro.
A side street in Cassis.
Two of the blond brocanteurs,
Enjoying the evening with Kir Royal.
Have you ever been to Nice? Have you ever been tempted to take off your clothes and dive into the sea? If you have ever been along the Promenade d'Anglais in Nice, then certainly you have felt the temptation of the Cote d'Azur (the French Riviera). The intense color of the sea has a way of wrapping itself around you, seducing you to come closer. It is nearly impossible to resist unless you have another love pulling at your coat sleeve.
As for me.... though the sparkling blue sea was tempting, I would rather strip for a brocante than bare it all to a bunch of seashells.
"Such a foolish girl," French Husband sighs, "Don't you want to swim in the sea?"
I looked at him as if he was trying to cement my feet, or worse feed me anchovies! I sneered, "No."
Under colorful striped canopies the brocante market in Nice, happens every Monday until five in the evening. The brocante market has about 200 dealers. It is a beautiful market nestled in the old town center, surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and shops. If you peek through the arches you can hear the siren calling, "Come swim...."
But if you are as addicted as I am, the brocante has the upper hand and holds you tight.
Give me old things and I will give up everything, blue sea included.
The old painted facades surround the brocante: pastel splendor, sunshine yellow, melon, with pistachio shutters and on the other side hints of lavender, soft blue with touches of cotton candy pink.
Multi colored tiled roofs sprinkled on an ice cream cone.
"How much for the city?" I teasingly asked. Then continued by pointing, "I'll take those facade, that iron lantern, a pair of those glazed pottery urns, and a cherub or two."
The dealer looked at me, looked around his stand of mostly books, a few teaspoons, give or take a nightstand of two... "What? Can you repeat, I don't understand?"
I took that as a sign to claim Nice as my prize.
A painted green, portable wooden stool with a leather strap. Was it used in a workman's shop, or was it a fisherman's stool?
A rare pair of antique green pottery water jugs cozy up in a straw basket.
Next to the brocante, Les Trois Diables (The Three Devils,) a young trendy bar, with a flashback to the twenties bar maiden on its facade.
"She doesn't belong there... no actually the trendy young bar doesn't belong here..." I argued to myself. Then I heard the wise brocante whisper, "That is the beauty of France; time marches on leaving history intact. France allows tradition to mingle with trendy. It encourages the roaring twenties to slide up against the rappers, it has room for the golden hue of the belle epoque and the sparkling bling bling pierced in the young girl's belly-button... Red Bull and Dom Pérignon, Chanel and cut offs..."
"Nevertheless..." I interrupted, "Darn, just give me the facade!"
I am spoiled like that.
The painted bar maiden looked down at me, "Are you gonna drink it in or not?"
Old apartment buildings.
Clothes hanging out to dry.
French Husband laughed, "You don't want to scrub your clothes down by the river?" Then he added for good measure, "I'll buy you a big basket and scrub board!"
He thinks he is funny.
I told him he is not my only lover... I have Mr. Washer and Mr. Dryer too.
Typical shutters in Nice, if shutters can be typical.
The hardest decision at the brocante in Nice was where to have lunch. I could have lunched everyday for ten years and never had enough time to enjoy the variety of restaurants available . The menus, the atmosphere, the waiters, the flowers and tablecloths .... Wouldn't a progressive lunch be the way to go? To have a drink here, a starter there, a salad at another restaurant, then change tables for the main course, followed by a cheese platter at a bistro and dessert at a cafe?
The brocanteurs lunched at their stands, doing so with flair; Real dishes, not a plastic cup insight, bread in baskets.... the French know how to enjoy the moment, how to soak in the simplicity of day to day life... they bring Renoir to life and give depth to Monet. D
In the middle of the brocante, under the colorful canopies, the brocanteurs dined while discussing Durkheim, the world cup and the price of the teacup in my stand while playing cards.
Magical that day to day stuff...
Like the sign on the wall said, "Butter and Eggs", it is the day to day stuff,
To take it as it comes, gentle blue on one side, the brocante on the other.
Maybe being in Nice helped?
What to cook for dinner? That is question that haunts me every single day around seven in the evening and not a second before. That is my problem.... not thinking in advance what to cook for dinner... let's say around nine or ten in the morning. I do not know what is wrong with me? I never think about dinner until it is time to think about it.... or when my stomach hollers out: Food. Or worse when I open the fridge, and it is empty, and it Sunday, and the grocery stores and markets are over and out... and when the family comes in like happy puppies with friends in tow singing, "What is for dinner Mom?"
Lovely, simply lovely, as I stare into the empty fridge.
There is another problem... I cannot cook until I set the table, which is one of my most favorites things to do. So while I am setting the table my mind calculates what I can whip up at of nothing.
Last night as it was Father's Day I wanted to set the table extra special. I used cloth napkins. The funny thing is there wasn't much in the fridge.... except for a black forest cake that I daresay I did not make.
There is always a bottle of champagne in our fridge, and milk. What is a staple in your fridge?
While setting the table I took out the extra small, white porcelain, dishes that I had found the other day at the brocante. They hold about two large tablespoons of whatever.
Perfect! I had little in the fridge and these extra small, white porcelain dishes would serve it up big.
"It is a feast!" I declared, then laugh and wondered if my family would notice.
Sesame breadsticks, on a silver hotel dish, set the stage for the first and only course I teased.
In the freezer shrimp smiled with their black pepper eyes. Frozen Julienne vegetables jumped up and cheered, "Take me!" In the cupboard I found some coconut cream. I added garlic, and hot chili paste and called it, "Entrée!"
Take a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach,
Add a chuck of Roquefort,
and a handful of walnuts (thanks to my Aunt Louie!)
Blend with a few quick zaps with the Cuisinart (my very best friend in the kitchen!) without make it a mush!
Scoop two spoonfuls on a small plate, add a touch of olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper.
Serve with sesame bread sticks.
P.S. The secret to cooking on a whim, is knowing there isn't anything to eat for twenty miles around.
Sitting up, he leaned over the couch and said, "Corey?"
"Oh Dad!" I was caught off guard, "You surprised me, I didn't know you were here."
I picked up the phone to call Yann, my soon to be French Husband. My Dad cleared his throat, you know the way one does when one has something difficult to say, and the words seem stuck in the pit of your stomach. "Corey, you know I've been thinking... Are you sure you want to marry this man? Think about it. If you do you will live on the other side of the world, we won't see you very often.... you'll be giving up everything... kind of like Jesus Christ?"
"Dad!" I giggled, then the reality of his loving me, his evident sadness kicked in... I, his only daughter, was marrying and moving to France.
His look, the moment of that time is fixed in my memory. I can still see his eyes glistening with tears on the brink of falling, his eyes loving me, begging me, hoping I would say, "I"ll stay."
Instead, I said, "Dad I love him. If I think about it I won't be able to do it. I have to trust and let it be. I have to follow my heart."
He sighed, "I know."
The goodbye at the airport was beyond anything I have ever felt then or now. My parents walked with me to the very last check point at the airport. We bawled: Loud sobs, snot running down our face, without any words. We must have hugged each other over a thousand times... we could not let go. My Dad took my face in my hands and kissed me, my mom held me, my feet felt cemented to the ground.
I cried. I pulled away. I walked backwards through the gate and nearly all the way to the plane. I cried so hard that the airline stewardess asked me, "Are you sure you want to leave? You can still get off if you want?"
When I thought about marrying I had a list that would run through my head... The man I married had to pass the test:
1) He had to be loving to people he did not know, bringing to mind random acts of kindness.
2) I had to see him mad at me and at others, to understand how he dealt with anger. (I think I have seen my husband mad twice.)
3) and, most importantly, I would ask myself....
Will he be a good Father, equal to the one I know?
(Photos of when Sacha as a little boy.)
When Sacha was born he had some health problems. The first five years were difficult. We barely slept. Due to Sacha's health problems we moved out of the city, to the country. Over time Sacha improved.
His hair was curly.
He talked non stop.
and he only ate pasta, plain.
Sacha had blue eyes for the first ten months. Then one morning they changed before nightfall. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
His beauty marks I call them the "Dot to Dot - Map of the World."
1) Pasta beats the baguette.
2) A bungee jump is his idea of a high school graduation gift. Plus he wants me to take photos of the fall...
3) Today is his 18th birthday.
4) After forty thousand BMX back flips into the foam pit, he is ready to do it in 'for real on dirt'. I am seriously taking a knife to his tires, and maybe bending the bike's frame. Instead I asked him, "Have you landed perfectly 40,000 times? He reassured me, "Every single time," and just before I exhaled he added, "Except the last time... I landed on my head."
Motherhood is brutal.
5) A few hours before his birth I was picking wild strawberries in a forest outside of Paris. Blame it on the strawberries, Sacha was born three weeks early. To this day he prefers strawberries to chocolate.
6) His nicknames are: Shinga. Chelsea, his sister, gave him his first name and his nickname. I call him, Boy Boy or Boy-lo.
7) Sacha is six feet two, red is his favorite color, his room is a billboard for BMX, he is bilingual, and God forbid if he gets in the bathroom before you.
9) Fabrice is his best friend.
10) He has a big decision to make in a few weeks time. Should he stay and go to university in Arles, or should he take a gap year and go to Willows?
Happy Eighteenth Birthday Sacha!
When the women are from America and men are from France, wait isn't there a book with a title like that... how does it go? Venus and Mars isn't it? Well let's just say when you heart parks in Venus and your language is a mixture of Coca Cola Light and Cotes de Provence it can be full of snap, crackle, pop and a few hiccups in between.
Mr. A. (he loves his blog name) and Mimi fall into a similar loop hole as did French Husband and I when we first met. Talking matters of the heart, when your first language is not the same as the one you love, can be challenging. Add to the mispronounced words, culture differences, and another country that is known for romance and topless beaches, you have a bag of tricks that can easily be laughed about, and add confusion all in the same breath.
My dear French friend Françoise had the best tongue twisting, language fowl up to date. Françoise thought she asked her American Husband:
"I would like a sheet of paper to write on."
Instead her accent made the sentence sound like:
"I would like a shit of paper to rape on."
Mimi and Mr. A's. text messages are book worthy, the language is so sweetly butchered. "Mon Chou" just doesn't sound as sweet in English, "My Cabbage."
What term of endearment do you call your loved one?
When my little nieces couldn't say YANN I told them that their French Uncle's name was: Uncle Yo-Yo. They use it all the time. I became Coco that same day.
One of my favorites nicknames for French Husband is: Chérie FM, it is the name of the French radio channel he listens to.... I heard the advertisement so often that I started singing it to him. French Husband doesn't use terms of endearment... he finds them insulting. Though I don't. I wouldn't mine if he called me: "My Coco Puff".
Though I don't take offense to French Husband's lack of endearing nicknames... Instead I take heart in one of my father's favorite mottos:
"Call me what you'd like, just don't call me late for dinner."
Photos of antique candy boxes by Corey Amaro.
A French nineteen century fabric covered candy box.
A blue grey paper candy box with gold lettering.
Chocolate covered chestnuts from Ardeche... an antique candy box without any chocolates.
A French baptismal candy box. In France Jordan almonds are given by the Godfather.
A round candy box with embossed siding, personage scene on top and a ribbon around the edge.
Who needs the chocolates with a box like this? Did I say that?
An individual antique candy box (Aren't they all individual?) dated 1893.
Candy tins from Carpentras, for hard mint flavor, candy drops.
Baby blue, candy favor boxes. Imagine a wide satin ribbon attached.
A pink antique candy bag.
Did you know that a seventeen ounce bag of M&Ms cost 9 euro in France.
I prefer these old "bonbons fins" fine candy bags to the newer ones... and I prefer Chocolate Kisses and Big Hunk ... is it just me or do those candies have sexy names? Bonbon fins is right!
Romance in Venice, captured on a candy box lid.
"I love the pink curtains and your white socks."
"Thank you My Princess."
"Yes my Princess?"
"Cut the Princess stuff, and give me a chocolate would you!"
More of the matchmaking tale in the days to come.
What is your favorite candy?
Photographs and text by Corey Amaro
Match Making: Two willing souls who did not know they wanted to be together.
One Match Maker: Who was not thinking about matchmaking.
Came together unexpectedly.
The French Man (Pierre)
Late fifties, divorced over fifteen years ago. Handsome. Intelligent. Romantic. Wanted to fix up his apartment.
The American Woman (Mimi)
Late fifties, divorced fifteen years ago. Beautiful. Intelligent. Romantic. Likes to fix up old places.
The Match Maker (American living in France) -
Fifty two. Married. Blond fake. Romantic. Likes to fix up anyone or thing.
Mimi was heading home, when the volcano grounded her plans (a year ago).
She was stuck in France.
What to do? We decided to go to the brocante.
At the brocante we unearthed more than old things. Mimi shared her dream to live in France.
The volcano allowed her to live in France for two more weeks: Chez Corey's (That's me the Match Maker in case you didn't know.)
Later that infamous brocante day, French Husband called to say he was with his friend Pierre.
It doesn't take much for the Match Maker to get her wheels turning. The Match Maker quickly asked if they wanted to have dinner together.
The Match Maker asked Mimi if she had a hair brush and some lipstick in her purse? When Mimi said yes, the Match Maker told her her plan.
Match Maker did not care... it is the task of the Match Maker to go where others dare not go.
Straight to the heart of the matter.
Pierre nor French Husband had a clue to the Match Maker's plan. The element of surprise, or a quick test of compatibility is essential.
It is best to keep some aspects in the dark. The Match Maker set the scene... She ordered wine, and during the first course asked Pierre about his apartment. Mimi blushed. The Match Maker kicked the leg of the blushing gal, under the table. Mimi squealed, which passed as the sound of excitement, interest, or "Really, you have an apartment you want to fix up?"
The two were a pair. Though they did not know that.
The Match Maker licked her lips. Juicy never tasted so rich.
But never in my wildest dreams did I know the pleasures of biting into the passionate fruit.
While at dinner Pierre offered Mimi a taste of his wild mushrooms. The Match Maker watched his fork enter Mimi's mouth, at that moment I wished I had my camera instead of a glass of wine in my hand
Touché! Fruit pictures instead.
Cut in half.
The half an apple with a seed exposed.
Fruit pictures serve it up nicely don't they?
I bet you didn't know an apple could be hot? Hence, hot apple pie.
Servings of Hot Apple Pie to be continued.....
One Year Later... Guess what happened????
A pair of doll house candlesticks, on an old handwritten letter, surrounded by a frame with flowers on the corners.
Little things found at the brocante. Bits and pieces tattered, torn, broken... that someone kept for one reason or another. Maybe they thought they would repair them one day, maybe a sweet memory was attached to the object which kept it from the garbage. Maybe these little things gave inspiration, or then again maybe these things were put in a box and forgotten. Who knows why these old things were kept..... but I am glad that they were.
Two silver buttons on a piece of mercury glass.
Blue lace with pearls resting on a piece of fabric that used to be for covering a mattress.
A burlap bag of handmade clay marbles. A series of antique paperback books. Tin stars used for military costumes, candles wrapped in old love letters...let it burn.
Blue satin ribbon, extra wide roll.
One side of the quilt was a simple print. Nobody seemed to notice it until the antique dealer unfolded it.
Old printed paper trimmed with a pink ribbon, torn from a book. I did not do it....
A bunch of old leather books. I found them one by one over the years at the brocante. I wanted them to have a tad of black, with gilded numbers. Finally I stacked them haphazardly in the book shelf. Then I took a photo and put it on my blog.
Old books here and there,
found in France.
Gathered for a photo.
Image discovered by someone who restores old books who wanted to use the image for advertisement purposes.
No money involved.
Two people who love old things pass it on.
Thank you Rare Book Restoration....
How do you give your old things a new chapter ?
Photo and text by Corey Amaro
Today I was to pick a winner for the purse hanger thingy. This morning I searched all over my house trying to find the purse hanger thingy so that I could take a photo of it showing you how it works. Well do you think I could find it? I even went to my friend's house thinking I might have left it there. But no luck.
On the way home I stopped in to see Annie. We chatted a bit, she said, "Everyone loves the haircut you gave me. It is such a funny thing growing old. You know, everyday someone says I look beautiful. Really they do. They either comment on my scarf, you know the one your friend Ladelle gave me? Or they tell me I have good color in my cheeks, or that my hair is beautiful... they say, Annie you look beautiful! Isn't it strange? You know what I mean? When I was young I thought I looked beautiful though rarely did anyone tell me so. Now, I think I look, well not bad for my age, but really not as beautiful like I did in my youth, and everyone tells me? Strange isn't it?"
I told her I lost the purse hanger thingy and for the life of me I couldn't find it.
And she touched my shoulder and said, "And I thought I was old. Forgetfulness is the first sign."
"Maybe people will start saying I look beautiful too?!" We both laughed at our silliness.
I will find the puppy and show you what it looks like I promise. The winner is:
Thank you for the wonderful, funny purse tales. The donkey peeing in the purse cracked me up, as did the revolving door, and Julie Ann's tale too.
At last, finally... I am allowed to tell my latest Matchmaking tale!!!!! A reader of my blog, an American, and her new French boyfriend (a friend of F.H.!!! I can hardly wait to tell you the juicy details.
But first I gotta find that purse hanger thingy.
Dang, if I cannot find the comment (that one of you left) asking me, "Where do the French women place their purses when out to dinner?"
My friend Charlotte answered that question better than me. You see I use to hang my purse on my knee until Charlotte whipped out a darling purse hanger from her "sac" (Purse in French) and hung her sac from the table.
Way too practical, way too cute, way too easy for me to forget to put into my purse, or better yet have left on the table for someone to snag. I am a ding dong like that.
But the purse hanger is a nifty invention.
I am giving one of them as a gift today. If you are interested leave a comment, if you feel inspired tell me a "Sac Tale" in the comment section. I'll pick a random winner tomorrow.
Photos and text by: Corey Amaro
FRENCH BREAD. The endless world of French bread. Baguettes.... God, after twenty some years in France you would think I could walk into a bakery and not drool on myself.
At the market a woman walked by carrying three baguettes, they looked the same at a glance, but look at the butts... Each one has a slightly different end... politer than butt isn't it? Different endings though the taste is the same. With that said I prefer the one on the left, a ficelle it is long and narrow, more chewy crust per bite. Good for dips and spreads.
The square ended one is called a pain de campagne, it has some rye or whole wheat flour, last longer than a day.
The one in the middle is a batard, Shorter, half the size and thicker than a baguette. Sounds like body types don't they? The whole body that is. Batard means 'bast-rd" in English. When the baker comes to the end of the dough, and there isn't enough for a baguette he uses the left over bit to make a batard.
Anyway bread, cheese, wine, some fruit... the daily feast. The last supper, my favorite supper. Oh these French classic basics. Give or take a beret, Soccer and cigarettes.
Thick edible crusty goat cheese, Valencay is covered in charcoal. Direct from the farm. Soft center.
The name of these cracks me up....Bouton de Culotte - Underwear Buttons. Also a goat cheese. Can you imagine asking you guests if they would like some more "Underwear Buttons and a Bast-rd piece of bread?
The French know how to add humor to their daily rituals. They know how to hide a smile. They know how to beat the system. They know that life is not that serious even if they get caught up with how to cut the cheese.
Goat cheese is my favorite
(no it doesn't smell like goat urine, anymore than cow cheese does.)
This one is a soft cheese with rosemary.
Add some tomato chutney, a bit of this cheese and a glass of Medoc.
Sechons, or dried hard like a rock, tough as brick, break your teeth goat cheese.
I think if you take fresh goat cheese (above photo) and let it dry for ten years and a day, without counting you would have Sechons. Doesn't that sound yummy? They are, but they are not my favorite. Honestly hard as a rock cheese, why?
My theory is: Leftover cheese that didn't fly off the shelf. Re-brand it. Call it Sechons.
Bleu d'Avergne, Gorgonzola, Roquefort.... love it.
Endive Roquefort Walnut Tart is one of my stand by quick dinners.
Isn't there a saying that says, "You can tell a foreigner by the shoes they wear?" I am sure I have heard that before.... Anyway, in France they say, "You can tell a foreigner by how they wear their scarf."
I am teasing they don't say that.
They know I am a foreigner when I open my mouth.
Melons and strawberries, cherries and peaches.
Summer is for romancing the taste-buds.
I love these little signs, especially when they are attached with these metal hooks.
Onions in a basket from Cevennes.
Flowers in a zinc bucket.
Fish in shells.
Then I saw the cherries which caused me to shiver.
If you cannot pick them from your neighbor's tree,
if you have burnt them making jam.
Then you can buy them at the market...but only if you are going to eat them and forego making jam.
I sat my baby on the living room stool, in the lace baptismal gown, that my Belle Mere told me her children wore. I believed her, though I haven't seen a photo of any of her children in it.
Sacha was six months old.
Chelsea was three.
French Husband did not have a single grey hair.
And I wondered what my baby boy would be like when he grew up? Would a lace dress make him more an artist than the strong DNA code running in our families for daredevils?
That was nearly 18 years ago.
This is to say that this morning at breakfast while tearing off the end of the baguette and foregoing the burnt cherry jam, I looked at the boy sitting across from me. He was studying for his BAC (graduation finals) I asked him what gift he wanted when he graduated.
Without looking up from his text, he said, "Bungee jump."
I should have read more poetry to that child.
How to Make Burnt Cherry Jam:
Pick 25 pounds of cherries from your neighbor's tree.
Buy 15 pounds of sugar, carry it home for the exercise.
Sterilize fifty plus jars with their matching lids,
Let them air dry on crisp clean linens on the kitchen counter.
Pit the cherries, don't worry about your cherry stained hands and nails (lemon juice and nail polish will correct the mess.)
Do not use pectin- Cook the jam slowly, stirring every now and then for several hours.
In the middle of cherry jam making decide to go the market to buy fresh produce for dinner.
Ask a seventeen year old son, who knows diddly-squat about making jam, to turn it every five minutes or so.
Don't hear him say he is studying and cannot be sure to turn the cherry jam.
Trust him, even though he is telling you not to.
Go to the market.
An hour and a half later, call home to check on the cherry jam...
Listen to your son tell you that it is sticking to the bottom, and smells like it is burnt.
Have your mouth hit the ground alongside of your shopping bags. Cry, "WHAT?"
Come home to a perfumed kitchen.
Look in the two large pots notice the burgundy red cherries are now black.
Grab a wooden spoon, stir the jam: Feel that the bottom of the pan as if it were competing like rough pavement.
Cry again! Then get mad at son, even though you are mad at yourself.
Put some cherry jam in a bowl, run over to Annie's house. Have her taste the jam.
Watch your friend lie between her teeth.
Listen to her idea, "Don't throw it away. Bake something with it, it might surprise you."
Go home bake a cake, add burnt cherry jam as the filling.
Serve after dinner with cold whip cream.
Have the family and guests eat it.
Cross your fingers that your guests don't die.
Listen to them ask for seconds.
Shake your head in amazement.
When your son asks, "What is the filling?"
Pitifully respond, "Burnt Cherry Jam."
Behind the food platters that sat on pedestals, a woman stood in an orange silk dress with an intricate lace collar. Enticingly the colors blended taste, design and texture. My taste buds watered at the thought of asking her to hold one of the appetizers so I could take a photo.
Luckily I came to my senses.
Earlier that day I saw the orange silk dress at a shop, and had tried it on too. The saleslady thoughtfully added, "This dress will look better when you are tanned, and if you wear a padded bra it will give extra boost to your bust-line."
Admiring the woman in the orange silk dress, who without knowing it displayed the saleslady's ideas perfectly, I popped one of the appetizers into my mouth.
It was satisfying to taste perfection.
Orange Silk Carrot Wraps:
With a peeler peel some carrots into long thin strips.
Suntan the carrot strips by sautéing them lightly in a mixture of vegetable and sesame oil, with a touch of crushed garlic and ginger.
When the orange has highlights of golden brown take the carrot strips out and lay them flat.
In the same pan sauté the shrimp, when their skin turns rosy take them out and roll them into the orange silk dress.... I mean the carrot strips.... pin the round balls of succulent wonder with a tiny clothespin.
Drizzle them with lemon juice before serving.
Photos and text by: Corey Amaro
When at a party with a bunch of chic people I do not know, I feel a bit shy.
I notice I am not alone in this feeling:
Some people hold a drink.
Some people stay close by the ones they know.
Some people sit and eat.
Some people offer to help the host.
Some use their cell phone.
Some go to the bathroom and gather their nerves (okay maybe that is just me.)
Most people have a crutch to lean on....
I use my camera. It is a great thing to hide behind, and a helpful ice breaker.
The camera also lets me admire without seeming rude. I love looking at how everyone is dressed from head to toe, better than any magazine. Elegant, simple, casual chic. Better than window shopping.
Overdressed is overkill.
Chunky bracelet simple necklace.
Chunky necklace, simple bracelet.
One or the other but not both.
French women know how to layer jewelry as well as they know how to wear a scarf.
With a camera in hand I asked a few men if I could take their photo.
"Where are you from?" they asked detecting my accent.
I wanted to say Venus, but luckily I caught myself instead I said,
"I live here, but I am an American. And you?"
Having an accent is a good conversation starter. Gee, what would I do without it?
"I like your shirt, well actually your collar." I blushed. Why did I narrow it to his collar? What a ding dong thing to say.
Everyone likes a compliment.
He asked, "Should I remove my sunglasses?"
"Oh no no," then I pointed for him to put them back where he had them.
His smile was a million dollars.
Sunglasses at night, blond hair, pink shirt, I love a man who carry that can of style and not feel threatened.
French Husband hates shopping. Any type of shopping: Food, furniture, light bobs (as he calls them, and I never want him to stop calling them 'light bobs') clothes, especially clothes.
He shops for buildings and I buy his clothes.
I found a shirt (the one above) a few hours before the party. Raced home, ironed it, then polished my nails mauve brown to hide the cherry juice stains.
As shopping for clothes is one of French Husband's biggest pet peeves, he dares not to complain about what I bring home for him to wear.
Flower collared shirts,
Polka dotted underwear,
Black socks (some things must remain basic),
Red patent shoes....
Wear it or go naked is the underline thought.
Naked might not be a bad option.
Colorful collars seem to be the new thing this year.
The canopy tents lite up with varied colors throughout the night.
Clever details make a party festive.
Grilled shrimp with spicy tomato. I stood at the grill, chatting up the chef.
As tempting as it was dainty forks put a stop to my natural desire to pick up the shrimp and pop it in my mouth and then lick my fingers.
"What is the recipe?" I asked.
Conversation flows when it is about food.
"Garlic and chili with a hint of fennel."
"Fennel? I would have never guessed."
Test tube drinks. Melon and mango.
A fantastic combo for the taste buds: Grilled shrimp and Melon/Mango.
"Is there rum in this?" I asked then shook my head back and declared, "Wonderful mix!"
I noticed that I was the only woman really, truly, eating as I took another grilled shrimp declaring to the chef, ""I have a love affair with food!" then I kissed it to my lips.
The French chef looked at me oddly. Most likely what I think I said wasn't what he understood. Thinking about it now, it literally translated:
"I have a love deal with a castrated bull."
Speaking French, is a finesse I do not have. I butcher it badly.
A colorful play of color:
Pink light on the silver railing,
Pale rose in a glass,
a hint of blue from the distance sea.
Mile high, toe-less heels,
Pink and melon seemed to be the big accent colors this season.
Over-sized outdoor bean bags. Very comfortable:
French Husband and his partner Thierry talked shop.
I sat in one while they talked. If I had known how difficult it was going to be to get up elegantly from it, I would have not sat in it. Imagine sitting in a marsh-mellow-cotton-candy goo with a short strapless dress and a chunky camera around your neck.
Feel sorry for me please. It was embarrassing.
But, oh, the view!
The view made the memory of the marsh-mellow-cotton-candy goo, and the castrated bull comment seem trivial.
I passed on the bite sized, caviar.
I prefer sticky complicated things to dine on.
I love going to parties.
I enjoy looking at what people are wearing.
I enjoy the food, and the petits fours.
I enjoy seeing the decor.
I enjoy meeting people, although mingling is not my forte.
Mostly I get a kick out of going to parties because....
Do you enjoy going to parties?
Photos and text by: Corey Amaro
Once a year in June there is a fabulous party for urban real estate developers in Marseilles. In the last five years the party has been held in a different part of Marseilles to showcase the diverse beauty of the area. Because my husband is involved in urban real estate investment we were invited.
Most of the people gathered there know each other. The party is a way of celebrating business friendships, for them to have a time to come together outside of work and mingle.
I am invited by my husband, I am his silent partner, that tags along for the atmosphere, to gawk at the fashion, for the food and later to dance.
This year the urban development party was held at the Monticelli museum on the coast of L'Estaque, a small port just outside of Marseilles.
(Click here then zoom in on the map, follow the road (left) along the coast line for a wonderful virtual drive.)
The Monticelli museum is an old fortin (a small fort) dated 1861, it features the work of Monticelli.
The party was outside under massive canopies.
The view was impeccable.
The evening flawless, not a breath of wind, which is unusual in Marseilles.
On the rugged coast men and women gathered dressed in black,
with polished shoes meant for polished floors.
High heels on the rocks. A sexy, dangerous balancing act.
Luckily I wore flats: Stylish not, safe yes.
French Husband and his business partner Thierry.
My husband and I.
Skunk lined me wearing a watch because Sacha told me too, "Mom it looks chic, wear it."
"Sacha I never wear a watch, and besides it doesn't work."
"Who cares? It is impractical, you are in love with impractical!"
(I took that as the highest compliment.)
Then that son of mine said, "Mom you should have dyed your hair, from my view (he is taller than me, duh,) your skunk line is big time!"
"Yeah, blame that on Daddy for not telling me sooner about the party, and the hairdresser had a death in the family... so she is on a break," then I continued, "Is it that bad?"
"Its gonna be dark outside... pray they don't have strobe lights on the dance floor!" He teased.
The rail along the coastline became the stand up bar, business as usual... cell phones were buzzing more than drinks.
American flag cell phone, red fingernail polish, and those Marseillaise gold balls.
Love it, but don't leave home without it.
Lace and ruffles everywhere: Lace fringe on jackets, lace of purses, lace on shoes, and ruffles.
If black dye should every dry up and go away France and I will go into mourning.
A life without the little black dress?
If I wasn't afraid of the tightrope, and if my feet could still stand it I would have bought these before she did.
She didn't dance, but man did she look good!
(My Mona Lisa smile.)
You know the saying, "You got to suffer to look beautiful?" Well when I was a little girl and my mother would brush my hair, she would say, "You gotta suffer to look beautiful," when I complained that it hurt.
I use to cry, "I don't want to look beautiful!"
Last night when I was dressing for the party, I asked Sacha, "What shoes look better, the flat ones or my high heels?"
"You know what I am going to say...." he responded.
"Yes, but the high ones will kill me!"
"You, know what they say Mom, "You have to suffer to be beautiful!" Then he laughed and added, "You know Mom, when people say that to me I always say, I am already beautiful."
I dropped my shoes when the brick hit me in the head... "Why did I never think of that response?" I said to Sacha.
With that I wore my flats.
A splash of turquoise silk lining. It is a new thing.
The night with a splash of color.
...to be continued.
Photos and text by: Corey Amaro
Are there silver threads in silver lining? Because if so I am going to use them to tie around French Husband neck. Don't worry, silver threads cannot cause serious pain, it cannot kill him, just sting a little that is all.
You see yesterday evening, after picking enough cherries to feed the world, my hands were stained a deep purple, looking as if they had been in a boxing match. French Husband casually said as I sat pitting cherries, "Oh by the way, I forgot to tell you, we are invited tomorrow evening to the (annual) Big Party that you like."
I looked at my stained hands, then at my stomach bulging with the last months' feast, let alone the ton of cherries that I had inhaled during the day... then had a serious hot flash as I realized my skunk line was/is showing, and I have nothing to wear.... I said, "You have got to be kidding me, right?"
"No." He said rather nonchalantly.
I jumped up, grabbed the clorax and screamed, "Calgon take me away."
"Who is Calgon?" He asked.
"Help me Rhonda, Help help me Rhonda!!" I nonchalantly sang as I scrubbed my hands.
French Husband shook his head as if I was crazy and walked away.
I tell you tonight is gonna be a good night.... cloraxed hands, skunk line, bulging stomach with a man straggled with silver threads.
The flirting dog was giving his best song and stand routine.
It split her into, how her boy blue fell for it each time.
Her Mother was right, "Never date a boy who wears his shirt unbutton!"
Without too much emotion, she glanced sideways and gave her best shot to seduce him, by lifting her dress higher.
He knew he didn't fool her...with his downcast eyes he caressed the dog.. his mind wandered right up her dress.
Some things never change.
photo: of an 18th century painting in Arles museum...
How to Dress like a French Woman:
-First and foremost, throw away uptight.
-Of course, own one of everything in black, plus know the fashionable color of the season, and have it in your wardrobe too: This year it is gray with hints of floral pink.
-Dare to wear red gloves.
-Stuff your pockets with confidence in your beauty, walk knowing you are worth a billion dollars.
-Smoke without shame.
-Wear matching sexy, jamais boring, ni basic white, undergarments.
-Ditch the tennis shoes and socks.
-Have a "day" perfume and an "evening" perfume, make it your calling card.
-Dress for the occasion, wear leather pants to the grocery store, and always have champagne in your refrigerator.
-Celebrate your femininity, breasts are more than two lumps.
-Add a twist to the ordinary: Jeans, lace top, leopard print high heels. Do not be afraid to express yourself.
-Sit straight, hold your head up,
guard your tongue, and admire other women.
The scarf thing, if you cannot tie it without stress, just unbutton another button and call it a day.