Who knew

That writing about health care and quality of life issues would strike a chord for so many. To all of you who have recently found us, thanks to the cross posting with DailyKos, welcome.

Today is the start of REAL vacation season here in France. With the 14th of July being on Tuesday, it’s not officially a “long weekend,” but I think it’s being treated that way by many. My guess is that traffic leaving the cities will be nightmarish tonight and I have to say I’m delighted to not have to deal with that. One of the things about living in the Possum Kingdom is that we never feel the need to GO somewhere on vacation; we already LIVE in the place where we would want to go!

Chalabre is celebrating the sort of holiday weekend with a bunch of events. I’m kicking things off (in a VERY small way) with a book signing and tasting at our local library tonight. I have made several recipes from my cookbook and I hope that someone shows up to taste them! It will be pretty embarrassing if the only ones there are me, JM and Mom!

Tomorrow there is a used book sale in the morning (along with our usual Saturday market day) and the first Chalabre literary salon kicks off in the afternoon. There will be tables under the covered Halles (market square) where a bunch of regional authors and publishers will be available to sell and sign their books. Other events, including a live story teller will run concurrently.

In the evening prizes for the 4th annual Chalabre short story competition will be given out at the town hall. The top 20 or so stories are collected in a book, and this year the cover was provided by my mother. It’s the first time she has ever had her name or work appear in print, and she is quite thrilled at the idea of it. Following the cocktail party/awards ceremony all the participants are invited to dinner. This year we’re lucky that someone has once again taken over the little restaurant at our local campground. It’s not a fancy spot, but it is quite lovely to sit there in the evening under the shade of the trees and have a nice meal. I’m eager to see what the new person has on offer.

Sunday is the first of the year’s Vide Greniers (village wide yard sale). I am NOT going to take a space this year; I don’t think I’m cut out for the bargaining one has to do in those things. Last year I found it extremely stressful to see people wanting to pay practically nothing for stuff that was already being sold for peanuts. Clearly, this is something I need to leave to others.

On Monday the village has a chance to clean up. Then on Tuesday there are further events, including the Tougnol competition, where anyone interested can enter their homemade  Tougnol (it’s an anise-flavored, regional pastry). I believe there will also be sporting events (as per usual) and fireworks in the evening.

I think we’ll all be ready for a nap after all of that.

Ciao for now.


Introducing: Deep-Fried Possum

I’ve noticed that people really like it when I post about food, and I haven’t done that for a while. So, as with the new Chateau-Shmoo category here, I’m going to start this new one called Deep-Fried Possum which will be about food, cooking and enjoying the two.

Recently, I’ve found a truly wonderful and revolutionary cookbook. It’s called RATIO: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. The author is Michael Ruhlman. I have rarely felt myself as inspired as I am by this book. It is NOT a recipe book, per se, but it is a book that explains the ratios of ingredients that make up the basics of recipes. By knowing these, we can easily create our own recipes for just about every category of cooking without needing a library of cookbooks.

I don’t know when I’ve read a cookbook cover to cover this way, as if it was a novel and not a cookbook at all. Perhaps it speaks to the geek in me who strives to understand why things are the way they are; but for whatever reason it has become my new food bible. Each section makes me want to get into the kitchen and just start creating.

If you’re of a “need to know” mindset, you really need to check this book out. It will open your eyes.