The Saga Continues

Chapter Two

Is it a Sabbatical or is it Exile?

Understand that at home I have this artist husband who was not jumping through hoops with delight that I was taking my whisk and going away for over half of a year.  But he also realized I had more than earned a sabbatical (his term vs. exile, my term) and that my health was in a critical state of needing repair.  Wanting to be supportive but wondering if my mind might dry up from lack of stimulation, he hit upon an idea that has great appeal to me. A description follows of this great, abet long overdue, project.

Sometime in the very distant past, when I was about 18 years old, I was digging through an old chest in the attic of my maternal grandparent’s farm garage.  The chest had belonged to my paternal grandfather, who had immigrated from Denmark via France after a long hitch as an Escoffier trained chef in Paris and in the south of France.  In 1904 he began writing a book of his recipes that I assume he had prepared at the various restaurants he had worked in.  In this old ledger book, yellowed with age, was a treasure trove of recipes, all in French.  At that time I had not come to realize my love of the culinary arts.  But as I sat there in the dusty attic of the garage by a window offering afternoon sunshine illuminating years of dust particles gently fluttering in the sun’s rays, I decided that someday I would translate the book and publish the results. And not only was the book a find but a packet of handwritten letters of recommendation from various French restaurants where my grandfather had worked in the late 1800’s was next to the book in the chest.

Voila! I could visualize a book printed on paper that looked like the ledger with blue lines and red page numbers in a sepia tone. One page would show the beautiful, delicate hand script written with a gold tipped ink pen, (included in the chest of goodies) and the opposite page would offer a modern day interpretation of the old recipe.  His letters of recommendation would be scattered throughout the book along with pictures of his graduation from culinary school and when he was in service to the French Army in Montpelier at the officer’s dining room. Also a few old menus from places he had worked were in the packet of letters and I thought this would be a great addition to the book. As I look back I realize now that I had formed a lasting vision of what I thought the book would eventually look like.

I carried that book almost around the world with me, always hoping the day would come when I could put aside the daily activities of life and concentrate on the translation and development of the book. When John and I met in 1980 I shared the book with him and occasionally spoke to others about my dream over the years. Thus the brain storm that hit John in a blink of an eye was the concept that the sabbatical was the perfect time to finally make the dream a reality and get down to brass tacks translating the book.

He also was quick to point out the concept of a book documenting our many trips to Provence. I had a journal for all of them over the years. Wow, do I see carpel tunnel syndrome in my future!  I choose the cookbook as the brain enriching project and left all but one journal at home.

So what is this book all about?  The cookbook is hard work as I do not read or speak French anywhere fluently.  The three year old down the rue knows more than I do. Not to mention that the French my grandfather wrote is over 100 years old and holds some misspellings, as his first language was Danish.  Nonetheless I embarked upon the book and was lucky to have found a coauthor that does speak fluent French and is a three star chef in a restaurant here in Les Arcs.  Max Calligari has created a haven of fine French cuisine and lodging in his restaurant and hotel,  Logis du Gutterra at the top of the village. We are kind of cut out of the same fabric but he is a genius with food. So we meet each week and plow through the old book and become inspired to develop recipes that will delight the palates of home cooks in the English speaking world.  Without Max I could not make the dream a reality and I am delighted to share the author billing with him.

Ladies, please note here that while the book is difficult, I am blessed with this darling, charming, French man in my kitchen two or three days every week, with the sexiest accent you can possibly imagine.  It makes the project doubly interesting and my heart flutter each time he walks in the door.  But alas, I am old and chubby and actually very happily married.  I think he looks at me like his mom while I have some outside the box fantasies about him.  Enough said!

So back to the question, exactly what is this book about? It is about this remarkable experience of picking up my computer and heading off to France for a life change.  It’s about the rugged beauty of Provence; the intense blue sky and the tropical style of heavy rains, it’s about exceptional people and their kindness to a crazy American lady living in the Parage all alone. It’s about food, the heart and soul of this country and it’s about experiences that could only happen here in Southern France. It’s a little humorous, a little historical and a little hysterical!  Maybe it is a way to record these months so I can revisit them when I am really old and pushing the walker across the rest home floor in my snap front house coat. But in any case it’s a story unique to me that I want to share with others.  It’s a crazy and scary move to just up and get out of Dodge, leaving behind a husband and a business and many dear friends like Ned who begged me not to go, but supported the decision anyway. (As a side bar, Ned was just thinking about his stomach as he dotes on my cooking. He and my dear friend Pat, his devoted wife and nearly a saint, have traveled with us to France on two separate occasions. It is from Ned that I learned the term “It’s wine o’clock”)

Now, between the cookbook and this endeavor I have certainly found plenty to keep the brain alive and learning.  Daily life in the village, without benefit of a car has proven to be very interesting and far different from the rat race in America. I really think American doctors should prescribe this sort of treatment for patients with hypertension.  As a side business docs can have small travel agency offices in their main offices to fill the prescriptions of “Provence Treatment”.  They could also fit their patients with good walking shoes and prescribe a walk of at least 3 kilometers per day.  There are all sorts of profit centers for American docs in this school of treatment.

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The Source of my French Addiction

When reviving my blog I considered how I might communicate the main source of my addiction to France and specifically Provence and most certainly Les Arcs sur Argens, my adopted village. Scrolling through some old files I came across ten chapters of a book I had begun in 2012-13.  These chapters tell the story of how it mostly began for me and how it became my “other country”.  While these chapters are certainly to much copy for one post I have decided to post a chapter once per week between other more current information, recipes, your ideas, and new happenings both here and abroad.  So here we begin with chapter ONE.

Chapter 1

Do I sound Stressed?

In the medieval portion of the village of Les Arcs sur Argens, in southern France, there are probably fifty cats of every description. Now I am a dedicated cat lover but when the most homely cat in the village adopted me I was just a bit insulted. “Mooch”, as I call him showed up the first day I moved in and returns daily for his self established entitlement of sustenance.  This is a cat that was definitely at the end of the litter when looks were being distributed, and he simply got leftovers:  basically a white cat that has a splotch of grey here, a dab of tan there and some washed out yellow in the cracks and crevices.  Nothing symmetrical and certainly nothing that would bring a soft heart to exclaim “how darling”!  Just butt ugly with a very tenacious personality.  But hey, when you are by yourself, with no TV and no Internet, even a butt ugly cat is better than nothing. “Tenacious” can become company, at worse, and even begin to grow on you after awhile, driving you to actually purchase cat food to assure his daily return.

The one thing I am absolutely sure of about this cat is that he is far and away less stressful than 18 employees in a Bistro, Winery, Patisserie and B&B. That’s what I am running away from and what drove me to this charming southern French village in the Var.

Back in Missouri USA, in the small river town of Louisiana, just north of St. Louis I owned and ran a mini destination business that caused me to gain in the neighborhood of 80 pounds over 11 years and to maintain a stroke mode blood pressure level for about 10 of those 11 years.  The message I want to impart here is no good deed goes unpunished.  The second, and as critical, message is do not go into business with relatives.  I will avoid the gory details because no one wants to hear me groan and moan  Just suffice it to say that I woke up on opening day as the sole manager, chef and bottle washer for the business, knowing that I had to make it work or lose our home.

Employing the Indiana Jones method of management I quickly fell into making it up as I go. Somehow eleven years later I was still opening the doors daily to a nice clientele and serving delicious fare, maintaining a class act B&B, offering our six award winning wines in the winery and opening a patisserie creating superb pastries daily. The obstacles were huge and numerous from dealing with the Justice Department, the ADA division, who felt a toilet needed moved three fourths of an inch to the right and the double front doors needed to be opened 3 inches wider to accommodate at least five wheel chairs abreast in a mass exit. The historical folks were just waiting for me to choose the wrong tint of paint or add a non approved light to deny me any tax credits. The bank always wanted the mortgage payment and the electric company was pretty insistent on getting their chunk of flesh each month and the list of taxes, licenses and permits constantly due is a book unto itself.   And then of course there were the daily issues. If some piece of equipment didn’t go on the blitz each and every day I knew the restaurant demon had fallen asleep on the job.  He seldom fell asleep. If the demon was asleep then the employees would step in and do his job for him, finding a way to break something or cause an upheaval in the day’s occupation. You would think in a country with almost 8% unemployment most people would treasure a job and actually show up prepared to work as scheduled. I only regret I did not keep a log of excuses why staff couldn’t make it in to work.  It would have been a tome to rival the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Do I sound stressed? I love it when the doctor says “you have to get out of that business, it’s killing you”.  I asked for a prescription for a buyer but our local pharmacy was completely out of that drug. As the blood pressure and the weight climbed (eating was my personal drug when stressed) I could feel myself slipping down a very dark hole, and my doctors became firm about an immediate exit plan.

Where to go, what to do? It was a real problem deciding to stay and shortly kick the bucket or get out of Dodge and try to reverse the physical damage. Gee, what choices; hot fudge sundae or moldy bread pudding?  I chose the hot fudge sundae!

This sundae came in the form of turning the daily management of the business over to a here-to-fore part time office assistant (who, by the way, had the credentials to run the business from a management position, not a culinary perspective), a young but accomplished chef, a long time reliable day cook and some loyal and dedicated staff managers. As I write they have been stepping up to the plate for about six weeks and as far as I know the doors are still open.  Once I left the rule is no communication of issues or problems. Don’t even write and ask where I left the stapler. Just make it work daily until I return in six or seven months.  (And they really believe I am coming back!)

Now to the French part of the story.  For about 14 years my husband John and I have taken two or three weeks off in April to travel to Provence France.  We have rented various vacation houses across southern France from the Languedoc to Menton. We love the wine, the region, the wine, the people, the intense blue sky, and the wine and food. Did I mention the wine? (To be perfectly honest I am the wino and John just likes to sip a semi sweet gag-you-in-the-throat wine.)  I love the markets and I love to cook meals in my rented kitchens using the wonderful fresh produce available in the region. John, a professional artist, loves to paint when visiting here and has created a complete body of work we fondly refer to as “The Provence Collection”.  Thus we have discovered our Shangri La in southern France.

Somewhere here I failed to mention I do have a culinary background and spent a chunk of my life working as the Culinary Consultant for Le Creuset and Cousance, the famously heavy cast iron and enameled French cookware.   I have written food columns for a number of publications and taught cooking from Bloomingdales Main Course in NYC to Macys basement in LA. I even did a few food shows in Florida in the 70’s before food shows were hip. I studied cooking in Italy, France, Asia and in the good old USA. And eleven years in the kitchen at The Eagle’s Nest hasn’t detracted from my culinary ability.  So I kinda know my way around the whisk.

Back to the French story.  About 5 or 6 years ago one of the places we rented was here in les Arcs sur Argens.  Les Arcs is just west of Nice by about 70 miles, just off the A8 motorway.  At the very top of this village on the Argens river is the Parage or the Medieval portion of the village, dating to the 11th century. My house is a small castle in the medieval portion of the village.  Small as in four floors accessed by a very old wooden spiral stair case with one room on each floor and an attached WC/ laundry room/shower.  A lovely terrace on the ground level has old stone steps up to another smaller terrace off the guest room on the second floor. The third floor is the master bedroom with a full bathroom next to a separate water closet (toilet room) and the fourth floor is the salon or living room with a balcony offering a stellar view of the village and the countryside. The kitchen is conveniently located on the ground level off the terrace.

About the kitchen.  It is a long and well equipped room offering a big trussle table with benches on each side.  The sink is a chiseled stone contraption with hot and cold running water. The granite counter top extends over to the fireplace hearth situated above a fireplace bread oven.  The almost full sized fridge is concealed behind a door in a niche that looks like the broom closet and which in fact is also the pantry. The fact that one has to be a contortionist to reach supplies is irrelevant. The cook top is wonderful state of the art five burner gas (Propane) stove with an exhaust hood and the oven, installed perpendicular to the counter, is relatively modern albeit totally inaccessible to the average woman of average height (5’4”).  Burn scars on my right arm can attest to this poor design.  Yet as I access the situation I see no where else a wall stove could possibly be installed unless the dishwasher, concealed behind a wooden door under the cook top, were sacrificed. I’ve never been into sacrifice as a first choice.

On the far side of the kitchen is a charming window with a stone flower pot on a stone ledge. (From here on out just assume everything is stone unless otherwise indicated.) Leaded glass window doors open in and allow a nice breeze to enter. Next to the window is a floor to ceiling wooden cabinet that houses the CD player, the microwave, the wine, linens and the shopping bags. (You have to take your own bags or pay for their bags at the super markets.) I share this detail of the kitchen so you, dear reader, can mentally visualize kitchen activities when they pop up in this book, which I suspect will be frequently.

So how did I end up here for my exile from the stress of The Eagle’s Nest in Louisiana, Missouri?

Having made friends in this village over the years of visits, we had returned a number of times, especially to visit our British friends Jacqui and Tony and my special friend Tina at the Tourism Office. When I was looking for a suitable location to run away to I remembered that the house might still be vacant and contacted the owner.  He was in the process of moving from Tampa Florida to Malaysia. He was delighted to latch onto a tenant for the winter months.  Location set, I proceeded to fill in the other necessary details to relocate here for six or seven months.

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If I have whetted your interest, come back next week for chapter two. Looking forward to your comments and also your travel experiences to Provence.

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Market

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Thursdays in Les Arcs sur Argens is market day. Hot sun shine, drenching rain or chilling low temperatures doesn’t matter, it’s still market day in the village square. While it is not the biggest market in the region, it has lots of goodies and varied merchandise, good conversation and wonderful people watching opportunities.

In late September of 2012 I set up temporary housekeeping for 7 months to write my book, “A Culinary Legacy, From Escoffier to Today”.  One of the first people I met in the market was the vegetable lady.  Her son worked right along side of her, weighing and bagging the produce and making change.  She was a hard working gal who knew when to mark down product if it was getting past its buy sell date.  As her son bagged the purchases of regular customers he always had something under the counter to tuck in the bag such as a bunch of basil or parsley or thyme. I felt very honored when after just three weeks I became the recipient of his aromatic treats.  As the months passed from fall into winter mother and son began to remember what my regular purchases were and always had a few choice items set aside for me.  Now when I return to Les Arcs each spring I am greeted with a big smile and “Bonjour”.

Just across from the veggie lady was a very sweet older woman who sold a few potatoes, some onions, windfall apples and always big brown eggs.  I quickly learned to save all my egg cartons from the HyperU* and gift them to her prior to selecting my veggies.  As soon as I finished with the veggies she would have a six pack of eggs all boxed and ready to go for me. She was so cheerful and so sweet and her little table was so meager of product I always wondered how she could even afford the booth fee.  But there she was every week in all kinds of weather with her welcoming smile.

This past spring I went to the market the first Thursday I was there and as usual went to the veggie booth first. After hugs and cheek kisses I turned to my sweet egg lady only to discover her little table was not there. As I turned back to my veggie lady a small tear rolled down her cheek and she came around the table to hug me and let me know our dear friend has passed during the winter.  I will never forget her and yet I do not even know her full name.  She welcomed me to the village and always treated me so nice.  Her gentile manner was charming and I often wondered about her age and if she had spent a young childhood during the occupation of WWII gathering windfall apples and wild onions. She was one of the old souls of Provence and I only wish I could have visited for hours with her and listen to her stories of the region from days gone by.  A smile, a gentle hand and a happy attitude; a great way to make someone feel welcomed.

Below is a picture from the market, but it does not show all the other types of items available. Just down from the veggie lady is the local olive oil mills’ products, and then the fellow with the goats cheese from Taradau, next town over.  The table with the socks made from bamboo fibers follows and across from him is the assorted olives and dried fruits, The rotisserie chicken booth is next to the olive lady with delicious smells emanating from his booth.  Sometimes in the spring there is a big booth with just asparagus begging to go home and land on my dinner table with just a drizzle of lemon juice and melted butter drizzled over the steamed stalks. Around the corner is the purse lady with many many styles and prices of purses; some leather and some vinyl.  Going on down  the row there are sundry booths of clothing for ladies and children.  The fresh flower ladies with their big, friendly collie dog display buckets of beautiful flowers and plants.  The wallet and change purse fellow is just across from the scarf and hat booth and further on is the big shoe display for all members of the family.  Occasionally there is a truck with an open side door holding everything a seamstress needs for your alterations on the spot.  Often the mattress display offers specials on all types of mattresses and beds, as well as bedding and duvets. A patisserie offers numerous types of fresh breads and sweets and the fish monger, at the far end, has a bounty of items from the local rivers and the nearby sea. The standard watch vendor with the 5 euro watches including two batteries, also offers assorted jewelry.

I know I have forgotten something but I am trying to give a peek at the diversity of the French weekly market that even the smallest of towns hold each week. Some of these markets have been held in the same place, same day for over a hundred years. If you travel to southern France be sure to visit the San Raphael market on Sunday. It is right along the promenade by the sea.  Plan at least two or three hours to see everything, including the wonderful Provincial linen booths.  If you go inland further the Lourges market on Tuesday is wonderful.  Farther west in Aix en Provence the market sprawls down the Cours Maribeau and offers wonderful foods as well as fashions of the season and all other types of merchandise.  Just a bit farther west is one of my favorite markets that weaves throughout the town center of San Remy.  The market is held on Wednesday and Saturday.  Any tourism office can give you a complete schedule of the regional markets, as well as lots of information of regional attractions, historical landmarks, nearby wineries, sporting events and activities musical and art shows as well as dining venues.

In Les Arcs, if we finish our shopping early enough we just might grab a patio chair at Cafe de la Tour or Cafe de Paris on the opposite side of the street . Great location for people watching and meeting up with friends and neighbors for coffee or maybe a Patis or glass of wine.

Bon Marche!

*HyperU…..a large super market shopping center…pronounced “eiperU”…leave off the H !

 

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Join Us In Provence, France

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Entering the Medieval village of Les Arcs sur Argens

Join Us in Provence!

Each Spring John & Karen move to a charming home in southern France, for 2 months. The Provence Collection of John’s art has been created from these annual visits.

Additionally Karen teaches Provencal cooking for couples from America.  While some guests like to cook, others want to paint plein aire with John and friends.

These week long adventures take guests to the French markets, wineries, the sea shore, historical sites and delicious meals in Bistros and cafes.

Living in a medieval village home offers guests the opportunity to experience life in a real French environment and discover delicious recipes to be recreated back home for friends and family.

Just three couples assures plenty of private attention without the typical tour hassle.  All ground transportation, lodging, meals, tours and classes are included in this offer. Weeks for next spring are now available.

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My Favorite Rustic Pie & Other Recipes

I found this manner of making a pie in a small bake shop in Southern France; maybe I was in Cogniac but I am no longer sure where. None the less it is quick and easy and very old fashioned. Later I discovered that American pioneer women used this method when they were without a pie plate. It works well with about any fruit and it also is great for a savory tart.

Just last night I used this method to make two Yellow Chantrelle tarts for son Denton and dear friends Pat & Ned. Denton found the Chantrelles in our woods just behind the house and we were thrilled, as we never knew they were growing there in all of 30 years living here . Enough remains to make two or three tarts or a delicious cream of mushroom soup or possibly freeze some to enjoy in the dead of winter.

 

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Pastry Crust

  1.      1/2 cup of ice water
  2.       1 egg
  3.       2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  4.       3/4 cup very cold unsalted butter cut into small chunks
  5.       1/2 cup shortening
  6.       1 tsp. salt
  7.       1 1/2 TBS> sugar
  • In a small bowl mix very well the egg and ice water.  Set aside.
  • In a food processor place the flour, butter and shortening
  • Pulse for 2  minutes until fully blended.
  • Add the salt and sugar and pulse until a crumb texture forms, 30 sec.
  • Add the egg and ice water in a steady stream with processor running.
  • When a ball forms  after 30 to 45 sec. scrape out dough into 2 balls and flatten, wrap in plastic wrap  and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
  •   Roll out on lightly floured board to bout 15 ” in diameter. Place on flat baking sheet.
  • Fill with your favorite filling in the center leaving about 3 inches all around the edge.
  • Simply fold the edges over the filling in a pleated manner, leaving the center opened about 4 inches.
  • Brush pastry with one egg beaten in one TBS of ice water . Sprinkle with one TBS sugar..
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until top is golden.
  • Cover with foil and bake another 20 minutes

A Favorite Filling

  • 4 good crisp baking apples. cored, peeled and cut into small chunks about 1/2 inch.
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  1. Pre heat oven to 375*
  2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and toss to coat with the spices and flour
  3. Arrange in the center of your pre rolled crust as directed above.
  4. Bake as directed above for 50 minutes total.

You may use any combination of fruits with some spice and a bit of flour to thicken the natural juices of the fruit. The picture is with fresh raspberries and 1/3 cup shredded apple for pectin to thicken & a little sugar.  Try fresh peaches and blueberries together!

A savory filling of mushrooms and a bechamel sauce, and shallots, or pesto and tomatoes and onion, or diced cooked potatoes and left over roast with a bit of gravy, are a few ideas you might like. Use your imagination and what ever is on hand and fresh from your garden or the framers market

 

 

 

 

 

All those tomatoes need a home!

Home gardeners may be experiencing a bountiful harvest of  tomatoes right about now. While there are numerous recipes for canning and freezing tomatoes, few people know about Tomato Preserves.

This delicious spread can easily become your families favorite. I like to use it for small hostess gifts in gift bags with homemade English muffins and maybe a small package of Danish butter. After a dinner party your hostess may appreciate a simple breakfast the next morning.  As a gift on Christmas Eve it is a nice way to begin Christmas day morning with some fresh coffee or tea.  However you may find it difficult to give away, so make extra for home.

If I ever spend July in Les Arcs sur Argens, France I will spend a day with my dear friend Pauline North making Tomato Preserves. Her husband Jim has been known to plant up to 100 tomato plants each spring and by July Pauline has become overwhelmed with tomatoes. But since the heat there in July is breathtaking I really doubt I will ever jump the pond in mid summer. We have enough heat here in Missouri to struggle through and our own garden to tend.

Tomato Preserves

  • 2 1/2 LBS. ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • thin strips of rind from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. each cinnamon & allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 box sure jell
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 -6 whole cloves (optional)
  1. Scald and peel tomatoes, chop into small pieces
  2. Simmer the tomatoes with strips of rind over medium low heat for 10 minutes
  3. Measure out 3 cups of tomatoes into another saucepan
  4. Add the spices, zest and a few whole cloves if desired and lemon juice
  5. Continue to follow directions for “cooked Jam and Jelly” in the Sure-Jell box, using the quantity of ingredients listed here.
  6. ENJOY!!!!!

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My new French son has arrived!

Benjamin has arrived from Toulouse, late but here none the less!  Ben flew from Toulouse to London to Charlotte NC to St. Louis.  The flight from London arrived 3 hours late and, of course, he missed the flight to St. Louis, not even mentioning he had to go thru customs in Charlotte.  If you have flown internationally lately you know that is often a very time consuming process.  Always plan ahead for that possibility when booking flights.

Ben is the younger brother of Marie, a former Rotary Exchange student that we hosted 6 years ago.  We keep up with Marie with her yearly visits to us in Les Arcs sur Argens when we are there each spring.  This year she came here to our home in Louisiana, Mo for a nice 2 week visit. Ben has joined us for 2 months this summer with the intention of improving his English and my French. In just 24 hours he is winning this arrangement!

Ben will accomply John to various art shows throughout the mid west on the weekends, giving him a chance to see more of the USA than Pike County and a chance to meet many people and be involved in conversations in English.

Hosting a foreign student is a delight, even to us “oldesters”. We have hosted a number of Rotary Exchange Students , from numerous countries over the years, and these have become lasting friendships.  Often we have become friends with their parents and visits back and forth between homes have been interesting and fun.

Consider these opportunities to become a host family and help create better understand between countries and their peoples.  Contact your local rotary club to see if they participate in the exchange program. Additionally if you have a young high school student at home consider the great opportunity for them to go abroad. Many years ago our middle son , Denton, spent a very successful year in Leon, Mexico on this program.

Bon Jour for today….more to come soon with a few tasty recipes from my Fabulous Fruits cookbook utilizing the summer bounty.

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I’m pushing this cart AGAIN!!!

A few years ago I began a blog about our trips to Provence.  Somewhere along the line I got busy and failed to keep up on my postings.  I am now recommited to presenting  comprehensive and interesting posts about travel to Southern France, Cooking and recipes, painting Plein Aire and in general information that you the reader will enjoy.

I am hoping we can share experiences and interests over the years. I would like to hear about your recipes, travels, art and books you have enjoyed pertaining to France and cooking and painting.  Stick with me and check this site weekly and we can have fun together. Flower_Cart

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