01 January 2008

Christmas 2007 in the Touraine

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays…

French Cuisine

They tell me Lyon is the capital of French cuisine, but I have a hard time believing it gets any better than the dining room chez Marrec, the grandparents.

I would just like to take this moment to recount how I have been spoiled and indulged in the last several days. Good cookin’ bar none:

Welcome dinner

Aperitif: munchies (pistachios, chips, cashews) and kir, a drink made of a dab of fruit liqueur (often cassis, blackcurrant) and white wine or champagne

Appetizer: tomato and egg dish

Main dish: rabbit in a red wine sauce


Always bread

Cheese: goat cheese, tome, camembert, gruyere…

Ice cream cake

Tisane: tea specifically to aid digestion or sleeping.

Christmas Eve lunch

Aperitif: munchies, kir

Appetizer: oysters

Main dish: chicken on rice

Eggs and vegetables with homemade mayonnaise


Apple tart


Christmas Eve dinner

Start time: 8:30pm

Aperitif: octopi, eggplants and sun-dried tomatoes wrapped around goat cheese and pepper sauce, kir

Appetizer: clam

Second appetizer: foie gras (fattened duck liver)

Main dish: salmon with red wine sauce


Ice cream

End time: 12:30!

Varieties of wine served: four! Champagne, a late-harvest (sweet) white wine, dry white wine, and red wine.

Christmas Day meal

Aperitif: munchies, kir

Appetizer: oysters, shrimp, snails, crabs

Main dish: chicken, rib roast, again with red wine sauce


Chocolate and coffee

My modest contribution to all this? Mom’s cinnamon rolls, which of course never turn out quite like Mom’s. The family was thrilled. I took a picture of them all taking a picture of the rolls, but since they’re all in pajamas, I decided for their sake not to post it. I was glad to give a little, after all I’d devoured and digested and delighted in!

Needless to say, it was exhausting. ;-)

The rest of the vacation I recuperated at the Noë’s home near Orléans, with no less excellent meals (though smaller portions, to be sure), still in the excellent company of Isabelle, Frédéric, Lucie (11), Louis (8), and Charlotte (3). I dug into the seventh Harry Potter book and didn’t venture too far from the fireplace. Even in the “Garden of France,” the weather was terribly gray and rainy, so we were all content to stay put, except for a day trip to the two nearby chateaux of Cheverny and Chambord. I slept a good deal…really accomplished nothing of importance…just enjoyed family and movies and a good book…a successful break, I’d say.

I entered 2008 before you did!

I made it back to Strasbourg without too much trouble (then again, I can’t think of anything to rival my previous experience), and Leslie and I rang in the New Year at her apartment in the city. There were plenty of fireworks to watch right out the window, and we had our bottle of Crémant d’Alsace (because Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France), and our comedic abilities are highly-prized: so we got along alright. Cheers to all of you, wherever you were when the second, the minute, the hour, the day, the month, and the year changed!

2008 is a year I haven’t ever given much thought to: 2005 was graduation, the big change from high school to college; 2006 was the supposedly-uneventful-but-ever-so-eventful year; 2007 revolved around leaving for France and, along the way, discovering a garden. 2008 I suppose will include returning from France, and all that that entails; starting a last year at Manchester, but not finishing it until 2009, so that’s next year’s thought…Could 2008 be the year of improved posture, the one resolution I made? What does 2008 hold for you? What are you expecting, in the sense of both hoping and waiting for?

General Announcements:

I’ve booked my return flight for 29 June.

And enough with the peanut butter! I’m swimming in it! I think I now have enough to return to the States with at least a jar. It was a very good thought…but then all of you had it! Please see below my current collection (which does not include the jar already sitting in my cupboard). So much for moderation in all things:

1 comment:

Hilary said...

6 more months! I am sure it will get here before we all know it in some aspects! I am glad to hear your holiday was good! I missed your presence while opening presents though :) I will see you soon!!! Love and Miss You Much!!!