Out for Lunch

This is the time of year when our friends from the next village celebrate their birthdays. Michel’s is January 29th and Marie’s is February 4th.  We usually try to get together the weekend in between the two dates.

This year we were invited to their house and, as usual, Marie laid on a superb spread. We met  a friend of theirs who was staying with them: a  lovely lady who spoke excellent English.

michel and marieWe started with aperitifs and nibbles. Marie had the brilliant idea of giving everyone thier own dish of  ‘amuses bouches’  – savoury pastries – so that she didn’t have to keep passing things round. It also ensured that people ate what they were given.

Yaris, the dog kept trying her luck at begging and, although I know Marie disapproves, I couldn’t resist giving in and letting her share some of mine.

YarisWe chatted about this and that and Michel told us about his grandmother’s custom for Chandeleur. (It falls on 2nd February and it’s traditional to make pancakes). She used to tell the children that if you tossed a pancake up the chimney and then ran outside and caught it in the pan you would be rich. I’d heard about tossing the pancake with one hand while holding a coin in the other but I wonder how many people ever succeeded with the chimney version!

michel and marieSoon Marie called ‘ a table’ and there we found the starter waiting: a terrine of venison with crudités. Even Bear ate up all his vegetables – a miracle.

This was followed by guinea fowl with roast potatoes and green beans, then a selection of cheeses and the meal was rounded off with Marie’s homemade applecake, a wonderfully light concoction like an egg custard.

Coffee and digestifs were served in the comfort of the armchairs and Bear was soon snoring loudly.

The rest of us chatted for a while and then Bear woke up and claimed he hadn’t been asleep. Michel gave him a copy of a CD which was of particular local interest. The music was by Louis and Ernest Letrange. Louis had taught piano to Arthur Rimbaud (a poet associated with Charlevillle) and his son Ernest had been Michel’s organ teacher. Michel had been given lots of their compositions for piano which he donated  to the Conservatoire in Charleville where one of the teachers arranged certain pieces for trumpet and organ and then they were recorded.

We came home about half past five feeling wellfed and ‘watered’.

On Tuesday it’s the Repas des Anciens – another huge meal to look forward to.


14 Responses to “Out for Lunch”

  1. Little old me Says:

    Nice new look site, and easer to get on to.

  2. sablonneuse Says:

    Thank you Little Old Me – and thanks to Keith for putting in the photos.

  3. Pat Says:

    Culture and a delicious meal- how very French. My bed-side book at the moment is ‘Almost French’ by an Australian journalist who lives in Paris with her, now, French husband. It points up beautifully la difference twixt the French and the rest.
    How the hell Keith does it when you are in different countries I shall never understand:)

  4. Keith Says:

    Aw…shucks, it was nothin’.

    I’ve just eaten the last chocolate. They were very nice, thanks!

  5. sablonneuse Says:

    Pat, I think I’d feel quite strange if I were to move back to England now. The whole pace of life is so different here. Isn’t it amazing what you can do with computers nowadays?

    Keith, you were good to make them last so long.

  6. Sophie Says:

    hahaha well done Bear!
    Maybe in some foreign culture falling asleep at your host’s after a meal is a mark of politessness or a

  7. Sophie Says:

    way to show you enjoyed the meal???
    hahaha brilliant bear!

  8. sablonneuse Says:

    We know each other well and Michel has been known to doze after a meal here so no-one was offended.

  9. Keith Says:

    Well I suppose it’s better than falling asleep during the meal and falling face down into “le diplomate” !

  10. sablonneuse Says:

    Actually, Keith, he did once fall asleep in a restaurant, on a hard upright chair!

  11. Pat Says:

    I think as long as one doesn’t let one’s head fall in the soup toutes est bien.

  12. sablonneuse Says:

    How right you are, Pat!

  13. Z Says:

    Some years ago, our friend Peter dozed off after dinner and leaned so far forward that he broke the table. A nice antique glass went too – but we were absolutely charming about it…

  14. sablonneuse Says:

    Oh dear, but I bet the glass was irreplaceable.

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