Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Were you one of those kids that just loved to do their homework? Did your children come home from school and ask if they could get rigth to their homework ? No prompting. No whining. Funny, the thoughts that are going through your mind right now are the same as those of studetns and parents all over France. Homework is a pain.
Families in France have the same homework dilemas as their counterparts in the States. No need to tell you, you know all of the issues and buttons.
Twice a week our little village offers an after school homework club. Students come directly from school to the community hall for an hour and a half to work with a group of volunteers. The hope is to take a little pressure off this exercise for at least these two days and to establish a rhythm to the work time; snack, homework, play.
Snack will be two long baguettes slathered with butter, accompanied by blocks of chocolate or jam. Yes, a buttered slice of bread with chocolate. In winter the kids are good about eating an amazing amount of clementines. At this time of year they settle for applesauce.
After snack it's time to get down to business. Procrastination suddenly sets in. It takes a good five miutes to get out the homework notebooks. Then they have to find something to write with and of course getting their bottoms into a chair is pert near impossible.
Even without the distractions of home it can take a moment to buckle down to conjuations, multiplication tables, poetry memorization, and spelling list. A five minute exercise can take a good 15 to 25 minutes, longer, depending on the obstinancy of the child.
Ah, but once it is done it's play time. Dodge ball, tag, paper airplane competitions, games as universal as the afterschool homework.
I know you can picture the emotions of homework, but I wonder if you can picture yourself giving a child bread and butter with a slab of chocolate to get them going. It just wouldn’t do if there wasn’t at least one big difference between here and there.
Try the bread, butter, chocolate - you'll thank me!
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Wisteria Dessert Treat
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Mix 75 g of flour
4 soup spoons of sugar
10 cl of milk
then blend in 4 egg whites whipped into snow whites
Add 100 g of wisteria flowers equeutees - "to remove the stalks from". Often my recipe includes a French English dictionary.
Cook in ramekins for 15 minutes - be sure not to open the oven during this time
I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the soufflé´looked. But, Tom and I both agreed that there was really not much flavor. For some reason we thought of the story of The Emperor's New Clothes. The notion of wisteria flavor being so exotic it seems it would be easy to persuade you to test your culinary sensitivity to this amazingly sublime taste - but, is there really any taste....?
Friday, April 24, 2015
Monday, April 20, 2015
Cheese, simple and complicated at the same time. From one source, the goat, one can create a variety of products. Soft cheese, hard cheese, feta, ricotta, tome, fromage blanc, caprice de diable, and milk. The recipes do not vary much. The differences are controlled by time, temperature, the method selected to strain the curds and whey, and even the mood of the goats and the maker. These variations have a dramatic effect on the texture and taste of the straight from the goat warm, opalescent liquid milk. And after many years of enjoying Louise’s cheeses, I can say that her mood is of a sunny disposition.
For one week I followed most of the daily routine of Louise, affectionately called Cheese Louise. Louise is the shepherdess of a herd of 50 or so goats. The number of goats in the herd, like everything else in this process, fluctuates with the seasons and the whims of nature. During this one week I learned that the outward appearance of a shepherdess is calm and collected, but within that composure there is a doctor’s evaluating eye, a chemist’s calculating mind, an artist’s unthinking hand, and a juggler of so many plates that one gasps each time a new one is tossed up and added to the swirling calamity.
My days started in the washroom where strict hygiene is the rule. Shoes off, no jewelry, don a white jacket and a hair net. Once in the cheese room Louise is transformed from rugged farm hand to cheese maker supreme. A magician that waves her wand over a jug of raw milk and creates the taste of earth.
Nothing I say will replace the true experience. Here is a link to Louise’s website - https://www.vidados.com/cheese-making-holiday/6273/location Come on over and spend a week with her. I promise it is not all work and there is lots of play.
There’s no need to preach, but come visit us, bite into these delicious, simple circles that Louise and her goats have created and know what real food is. Thank goodness for the small farmers everywhere that are willing to work so hard.
Thank you Cheese Louise! An experience that changed my perspective on a lot of things!!