inspired: July brings a month of festivals -- and opportunities to
eat -- throughout France, from the Tour de France and the Festival
d'Avignon to Bastille Day and the Nice Jazz Festival.
Bring on the baguettes, paté and cheeses... A toast to the
intrepid cooks of continental cuisine: à la vôtre!
French food can certainly be high brow and fussy, but contrary
to cooking mythology, not all French food is complicated nor does
it all involve a liberal use of butter and cream. Instead, French
culinary traditions have been developed to use locally available
game or seafood, and whatever seasonal herbs, fruit and vegetables
are on hand.
In other words, keep things fresh and simple (you can always
embellish later). Simplicity gives us the freedom to take small
pleasures in daily gastronomic details.
On Saturday, I sampled one of the best cups of coffee I've had
in years. Where? At an automotive repair shop. One of the employees
is a java aficionado who knows his way around hazelnut and French
roast. I was almost sorry when the work was finished on my car.
That's the power of sharing simple and fabulous food, even a humble
cup of coffee that happens to taste monumental.
The French don't have any mysterious secrets to living well,
they just know how to savor things as they come, festival or
The lesson learned: any time is a good time to break bread. Just
don't hog the whole loaf.