Take seven artists, ask them to come for a potluck lunch on the terrace and you are in for a treat for eyes as well as mouthes.
Yesterday, most of my printmaking class was able to come to my house for an end of year celebration.
I am not very social in the class. I don't pick up on the general conversation around me very well. And if I didn't really focus on the printmaking work I wouldn't get anything done, either.
So for one day, I wanted the people I see every week to know other sides of me. And it was such a fine day .....and there is the garden....... and of course....... I wanted to show off my studio . I think every artist secretly wants you to see how and where they work.....
(As Joelle said, Do you know how spoiled you are? And the answer is yes, Joelle, yes.)
|Gratin Aubergines produced by Agnes|
The potluck meal is a great favorite amongst many of my friends because it means that one isn't responsible for the whole thing. It's also a wonderful way to get spirited conversation going. Each dish is discussed and that leads to other subjects. That is the French way...food leads to everything!
And I notice that when others are bringing the food the meal takes on a pace of its own. I can't succumb to my tendency to rush the meal anymore. And that's a good thing.
I am afraid that Americans tend to "bolt" their food and expect one plate to come to the table right after the other. Its as if the table was not a comfortable place to be and you have to leave it as soon as possible. Maybe we are all racing to the finish line in a life long eating contest.
I suppose some of this comes from the American work ethic: "time is money"... but how sad is that?. And it doesn't help that restaurants want to "turn the table" and chase you out for the same reason: more dollars. The irony being that with the extra dollars you earn you want to spend on having meals with your friends!
Our meal yesterday took four hours! Now that's what I call dining.
The first course was the hors d'oeuvres ...
Mary Dominique (Mary Do) brought humous made with lentils and cardamon and a courgette loaf , (more like a frittata than a bread). I had a slice of the loaf for breakfast.
Agnes brought a gratin d'aubergines . Its good warm or cold. Jaques brought a tapenade made from black olives and a whole meal bread to serve with it.
Jocelyn made a whole fois gras and served it on fresh, fig/nut bread.
And of course Monsieur gave us some good summer wines that he loves to search for.. out there in the various markets.
Joelle, Jacques, Sylvie.....
Sylvie, Jocelyn and Mary Do .....
Agnes, Kaloon, and Joelle......
That would have been enough but there was also a main course. After an interval, we heated up and served Kaloon's Thai fish and shrimp stew with its rich coconut milk sauce. When Monsieur asked him where he learned to cook , he said that for him it was instinctive. In other words, he learned as a child , as a part of life. Kaloon, don't forget your promise to show us how to prepare that dish.
Then came the cheese plate. Joelle produced a green Pistou novelty cheese , three chevres : one rolled in cranberries, one in black pepper and one with chives and herbs. a gorgonzola and a lovely Reblochons with two fat, round loaves of grainy bread.
Sylvie cut up and served a succulent plate of ripe pineapple and sweet strawberries.
For dessert Agnes and Jocelyne each made an apricot tart, one complimenting the other with texture and flavor.
Even thought the class is breaking up, we all promised to stay connected..... and we will.