Yesterday Typepad the server I use to create my blog was down which did not let my blog post download properly. Finally this early morning it appeared, I am sorry if I worried any of you. While creating yesterday's blog I came across a blog post about Mari that I posted in 2010: Yes I have been blogging for sometime, since 2005, and am so glad some of you have continued reading it. Mari is a blog reader who I met years ago and who is in love with France. Since she comes to France often we met up and always have a crazy fun time together. Here is the first post I wrote about her:
When in France eat.
If you want to experience the French lifestyle... Then you must eat, and in doing so you will entertain every sense you have regarding France.
Sit in cafes, take your time,
Converse over your meals, have dessert and drink coffee.
The French way is to savor the moment. To dine at the proper time:
Breakfast up until 9:30
Lunch between 12:30 - 2:00
Coffee at 2:00
Tea time between 4:00 - 6:00
Cocktails between 6:00 - 8:00
Dinner anytime after 8:00
And nothing in between or out of order.
A white tablecloth and wine glasses on the table doesn't mean the meal is going to cost a fortune. A cloth on the table is how it is in France. Setting up the atmosphere is part of the mis en scene.
Mary came to France to buy for her stores in Austin. She also wanted to be inspired. She asked me to tag along and show her the France I love. Boy oh boy was that an easy task to undertake.
I asked her one question and gave a statement:
"Do you like to garlic?
I hope you like old things."
Luckily she answered correctly.
The First Day we dined on salad with a garlic sauce. Talking was from the side of our mouths the rest of the day.
Mari asked me if I ever thought of given tours, taking people around France, showing them the brocante.... being a tour guide.
"Sure. I even know how I would do it." I smiled.
"Really," she said, "Tell me what your plan would be."
"I would only take one or two people at a time. Custom Tours, my way. The client(s) would pay for everything: The beautiful hotels, the car, the glorious restaurants, the tolls, the cafes, etc. etc. and I would plan where we would go, and where we would stay and where we would eat." I offered.
"Would the hotels or restaurants be negotiable for your client(s)?" Mari asked.
"Nope." I said and continued, "And I would plan the whole tour around creative inspiration, food and antiques. Plus two critically important details," Mari interrupted me and asked;
"...and what would that be?"
I chimed, "I would have first dibs on everything at the brocante regardless if they bought it or not... actually it would be better if they bought it for me," I grinned.
Mari cracked up laughing, "Is that negotiable?"
"Nope." I offered.
"I do not think you will have many clients. Though I think that is what you are saying."
(Little did I know that the French Muse Experience would come to be years later. Of course the dibs part has changed.)
Lunch out everyday.
The Second Day: Fish soup baked in a shell.
Garlic puree for the fish soup. Mari licked it clean. She is a kindred spirit.
Third day Mari had grilled duck. I forgive her because she likes garlic and old things.
The Fourth day: Fish with two types of mango sauce and sesame garlic oil.
The Fifth day: Cod with creamy garlic potatoes and roquette.
A carafe of water was my luncheon drink... I drove ( I could back then...)
The Sixth day: Pumpkin soup with whipped goat cheese on toast.
Mari made the mistake of asking French Husband how whipped goat cheese was made. French Husband felt so honored, nobody ever asks him about cooking or recipes. He barely knows the difference between mustard and chocolate. I am not kidding.
French Husband told Mari, "Well, whipped goat cheese is made by grabbing a goat, holding it above your head and shaking it."
Mari not missing a beat continued, "And whip cream from a cow is made the same way?"
"Oh no," French Husband grinned, "A cow is too heavy to shake over one's head. I buy my whipped cream in a can."
We had tea.
(This is how I found this old blog post, I was re reading about when I drank tea.)
Creme Brulee was Mari's favorite.
Mine is Tarte Tatin.
Of course if you love cheese... France is the Royal Kingdom of Cheese.
Cheese and salad was on the menu on the Seventh Day. The cheese was served with a fig, mango jam.
Deliciousness at best.
Oh, the tab. Or reality check.
Usually I make dinner every evening.
On the second to the last night we made Dolmas, or Stuffed Grape Leaves, I wish you could have heard the part of the conversation where I say O.K. a million times to Annie while she is teaching us. Annie told us we are doing it wrong, she would shake her head, and then there was a big crash because Mari dropped the pan.
Mari said, "The Stuffed Grape Leaves were the best! Annie was the highlight of my trip to France."
I poked her, then corrected, "Annie, the stuffed grape leaves, Corey and garlic were the high lights of your trip."