Advent -18

More holiday adventures in Paris and where ever you may live. Because this next idea is to prepare the unexpected at a place well known.

Mr French and I run the Luxembourg gardens at least once a week, so the park, while beautiful, does not hold many surprises for me. Mr French loves the gardens. His dream is to some day lave in flat over looking the tree tops and I have to say that I didn’t really feel the same until last year on a winter’s Sunday, when he told me to bundle up.

We’d already been out running and it was Sunday, which we usually spend visiting museums or on quality time with our (pretty much adult) children. When you have five offspring, that can take up a lot of Sundays. Complying, I put on some long underwear, my ski jacket and Swiss après ski boots. Mr French grabbed a plaid wool blanket he’d bought to stave off frost bite while watching a rugby match in Scotland, and we headed out the door, a mystery canvas bag under his arm. A short stroll later we stopped at a fish monger’s. He handed me his bag and grabbed a seafood platter that had already been prepared and walked purposefully into the gardens. It was cold out and the sky looked menacing.

Mr French continued through the park, me lagging behind thinking he’d lost his mind, as he walked on. Then he veered up some stairs and marched right up the steps of the gazebo. Spreading out the blanket, setting up the platter and taking a bottle of champagne from the mystery bag. It was perfect. An early winter’s picnic, safe from the wind and rain, bringing magic to a familar place.

Not everyone lives a short walk from a gazebo, or a fish monger, for that matter, but our lunch that day reminded me of the winter picnics my Mom would prepare each year. And despite having eaten in some world famous restaurants, these meals are still among the best I’ve had in my life. Throwing an old blanket across the living room floor, my Mom would bring out two huge Corningware bowls as my brother and I would get down on the floor with our Dad. The mustard yellow bowl would be filled with iceberg lettuce enrobed in Good Seasons Italian dressing. The other bowl would contain a jumble of the smashed legs and crushed bodies of dungeness crabs. Simple foods, from your region, no matter where on earth you are celebrating can make the most delicious, memorable meals.

What foods scream CELEBRATE to you???


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10 thoughts on “Advent -18

  1. Ah, he is such a romantic. What a lovely thought. Did he know it would bring back memories? I can just imagine the solitude of a winter picnic. You him and the whole Luxembourg gardens. In some ways much more intimate than the crowded summer scene… and of course you HAVE to cuddle up to keep warm.

    Not sure which foods scream celebrate to me. Of course Turkey with all the trimmings is a standard British Christmas thing and I rarely eat it at any other time…. and I love the black peas, cooked for hours and served with vinegar, we have at Bonfire night. November 5th. At family parties, Michaels children’s stepfather, who sadly died two years ago, used to make a Lancashire Meat and potato pie with a delicious pastry crust and mushy peas. The tradition has been carried on by his wife.

    Love Denise

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