Monday, December 15, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas

The foreshadowing of the last post says it all: "Comforted by the fountain down the street."

I wasn't even consciously aware that I was in need of comfort at that point. In hindsight, the barely perceptible chill on the first day that had my sweet little nose running like that comforting fountain on the second, and had put a drag in my step by the third, had me down for the count for 12 days of Christmas.

I've been sick. Sick enough to have been wearing my flannel baggy pajama pants when I shot that last shot posted on 3 December.

Not even sunset yet. Flannel.Pajama.Pants.

Sick, I'm telling you.

But now, after a full (and disciplined, thank you very much) regimen of kick-ass antibiotics, an expectorant (Too much information? Sorry.), cough syrup and a short run of cortisone to assist with that thing most of us know as "breathing", I must say, I’m feeling much better. Thank you.

And here’s the thing: As I began to stir from what felt like a Rip Van Winkle-type of sleeping pattern during those twelve days, I was a little clearer - on many levels.

I've been hinting at a transition for this blog for weeks now but have been feeling quite caught. A change was called for but nothing was making itself known to me. I'm not easy to discourage but this catch had me paralyzed.

Actually La Fourchette was started as a draft of sorts. A receptacle for the stories in my little French life that had been accumulating. One day the posts would stack up and look like a book in the spirit of Susan Hermann Loomis' On Rue Tatin or Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun. Recipes incorporated into my story just as they are into my life. But really, as I looked around, it's been done.

And done.

And done.

It's still being done. At this point, the genre is so done it’s looking kind of crispy around the edges. So there was that.

Then there’s this public aspect of a blog. I mean really?! Who puts their draft out for the world to see while it's in process?!

I was going to have to rethink this whole thing.

As I made the freefall into the state of transition, I entertained the idea of a more political bent à la Slow Food. Perhaps a comparison of sorts between what's going on in the US and France, with regard to good, clean, fair food. (God knows, we've really got to start paying attention to this one, people.) But did I want to step into that?

No. Too much flannel. (I don’t know what it is with me and flannel.)

During some fevered bout of discouragement, I even considered hanging up a "Gone Fishin' " sign over the oven.

And then, I tell you, there was this clearing as I was returning to a healthy state that just happened. The "up-at-4-in-the-morning-to-draft-a-post" kind of "happened".

I'll roll the plan out a bit at a time and by January a schedule should begin to emerge. I hope to be able to stick to it. We shall see. No promises. There's plenty of other stuff that got clear that needs my attention, too. I'll do my best.

So, welcome to The Transition. (Seems to be the season for such things. I’m in good company, doncha think?!)

For the faithful peeps who have been showing up - n'importe quoi (no matter what) - week after week: Wow! Thank you. I could get all Sally Fields about it but I'll leave it there: Thank you. Not to worry with these changes. You'll still get your recipes, photos, reports from the 'hood. I'm cracking it all open and seeing what's been forming in spite of my intentions.

Join the tribe and, if you feel so inclined, make yourself known with a "Lovely Comment".

I want to know who you are.

I want to know what you eat.

I want to know why you read this blog.

If your interest is piqued, subscribe and follow along. I'm thinking it's going to be kind of fun. I sense there's something cookin' here! We'll figure it out together.



Tamsie said...

Welcome back...I saw my first whopper virgin commercial on Sunday. I thought it was weird. Turned me off completely.
Here you go:
1) I'm your sister
2) I eat mostly home cooked food.
3) see answer to question 1 AND you're a gifted writer who doesn't dress like a lesban (normally) or write I "heart" shit. And, I think one day you'll figure out how to get a book out of yourself.
(edit as you wish and feel free not to post - I'm use to it!)
Love you.

Marianne said...

Leslie--the public nature of the blog, and the pressure one feels to 'publish' even when the writing isn't exactly...well, what you wanted--that's the beast. And while you're right, it has been done, and yes, it's hard to get a book published when it's impossible to make the 'somewhat original' claim, but these pictures, writing, and recipes are a window into your lovely life and home in France. Whatever it ends up being, it always makes me feel like you're not so very far away, and perhaps I can just call you to walk along the Christmas market with me, or sip some hot chocolate on the Cours. Merry Christmas, my friend. I can't wait to see what you come up with next! (Lauren)

Anonymous said...

Madame LER - I for one enjoy your blog, because it helps me keep in touch with your new life, and Bodhi's (although he does not get much air time). I feel like a voyeur, but without guilt, and I rationalize my pleasures here because I am a confessed Francophile. I look forward to the evolution of you and blog, but if you need to reduce your postings, even once ever now and then is better than nothing. BTW, in your old "hood" with are having the storm of the year with heavy winds and substantial rains.

Warmest regards even if that means in flannels,

Bubba's Person

Anonymous said...

Who am I? I am a 67 year old Francophile who works in the library of a lovely art school in Kansas City Missouri. I was attracted to your blog because it brings back memories of the glorious 9 months I lived in Paris (in an apartment in Montmartre) and of my 25th brithday which was celebrated in Aix-en-Province. What do I eat? French food whenever possible. Also, I frequently eat at a little Swiss restaurant nearby called Andre's.

Charlie and Ira said...

Change is always interesting and sometimes hard but I've never known it not to be good! Good luck in figuring out what's ahead. We love you, Charlie and Ira

CityMinx said...

Hi there

I'm an enthusiastic amateur cook in NYC, who reads way too many food blogs and has more recipes bookmarked than I can ever hope to cook. However, I keep reading more, and love doing so.

I started reading your blog because of the recipes, and the tales of cooking, and while I love love love your photography, I really do hope you'll swing back over to that vein.

As for what I eat? Name it. As long as it is good, and not mediocre-just-to-fill-me-up, I'm all for it. That doesn't mean that I never have warm filling comfort food, I just think that with all the amazing food and flavors, why settle? If at all possible, that is :)

Best of luck, can't wait to see what you come up with!

la fourchette said...

Tamsie: What's not to post?! I'm lookin' for "real" here! No rules yet. Now's the time to say it out loud. (I love you, too.)

Lauren: What a lovely surprise! And what an astute observation on the contradiction of the blog...for contradictions such as this, you need a poet...thank you. I've thought of you each time I've headed past this year's Christmas Marche. A chocolat chaud and a bit of catching up...that would be nice.

Bubba's Person: I'll pass along your best to Bodhi. I know well what it's like to be a Francophile from far away. (By the way, I've been meaning to ask you for your recipe for Chai Tea. Will you share?)

Anonymous: Thanks for speaking up! What a nice connection to have with you - a 25th birthday in Aix. This place really can get under your skin, huh?! And there you are, stuck eating French food from your 20's on! (Pas mal.)

Charlie and Ira: yup! That sounds like the change I've come to know, too! My introverted soul just needs to tuck into itself sometimes to roll with it. Love back to you.

CityMinx: Thanks for the kind words and gentle nudge. I'll be getting right on that - today, in fact. Me, I had to back away from the foodblogs, making a deal with myself that a wander in my own collection would be the ticket back into Other People's Kitchens. "It's all about balance, Grasshopper." (Well, that and time management.)

Anonymous said...


Your blog is like a little vacation. You do such a lovely job describing your experiences and the flavors of the food you make. Your recipe for Gratin Dauphinois has become one of my favorites.

Here in Oregon we are very fortunate to have access to fresh local produce year round. We also have a local market that specializes in high quality foods, so it's very easy to eat well. I feel for people in parts of the country who only have Safeway or Albertsons. But things are changing, thank goodness!

Looking forward to seeing what you do next...thank you for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Leslie, here is the standard Yogi Tea recipe (which can be altered to your preferences):
2 quarts water
15 whole cloves
20 black peppercorns
3 sticks of cinnamon
20 whole cardmon pods (split the pods first)
8 fresh ginger slices (1/4" thick, no need to peel)
after all the aboved is cooked, add 1/2 teaspoon regular or decaf black tea leaves (approximately 1 tea bag)
Dairy or soy milk and honey or maple syrup or succanat to taste
Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add cloves and boil one minute. Add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for two to three hours. Remove from heat, add black tea, and let cool. Strain and store in the refrigerator. Reheat when you want a cup and add milk and honey or succanat to taste. Personally, I like a lot more ginger.

Anonymous said...

I adore reading your blog Leslie! Whenever you post and whatever you post! Pictures--always beautiful and inspirationl, recipes--whether I would try them or not, Bodhi--cutie pie . . . You will do what you will do and I look forward to the ride! ;o)
Joyeux Noel and Happy 2009!
AnnMarie ;o)

la fourchette said...

Sally: I believe we've had a brief exchange previously as you called out a 'petit bonjour' from Oregon, haven't we? So glad you enjoy les petites diversions! And that the Gratin Dauphinois has found another fan. Hard to resist, non?

And here's to eating well and good, clean, fair food for all!

Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation!

Bubba's Person: yippppeeee! Thank you! A note to the rest of you: this is delicious stuff! A pot of it will be simmering chez moi this afternoon to warm the soul, inside and out...wish you could all stop in for a cuppa chai and a best thing: put a pot on for you and yours.

AnnMarie: Thanks! yeah, I can get a little wrapped around self-imposed 'rules' and in the process, forget that it's *my* blog and I can do what I want, when I want. Nice to have you along for the ride! Wishing you lovely holidays!


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