With each gust of drafty air from the front door, the candles shimmer, and the flickering light scintillates off blood-red wine glasses and the golden gilt rimming them. Your mouth rounds in an “O” as you see the table for the first time. The sight never fails to cast its spell as, for a brief moment, the magic sweeps through you. All these small moments add up to the persistent memories looming over every Christmas Future. Yes, you might have kicked your brother’s foot under the table or stuck out your tongue at your sister. You might have rolled your eyes as Aunt Mimi told the same story over and over. And you might have knocked over the bottle of red wine on Mother’s pristine damask tablecloth, its purity forever blemished by your clumsiness. But no matter what you did at the Christmas table as a child, you will still remember the English china that belonged to Grandmother and the thrill of eating real butter instead of margarine. You will still remember the beauty.
Gathering around the table, such a powerful, almost primeval, image.
The other day, Ronelle of MyFrenchKitchen, posted the most stunning photographs of Christmas dinner tables that I have ever seen. And so she got me to thinking about two of the marvelous French blogs* I read. It took a while to find these, let me tell you, so this morning I thought, “Why not share them?’
So here we go, a few of the jewels, odes to the creative (and philosophical) human spirit:
“So welcome here in my French kitchen in Touraine, on the banks of the river Loire. Join me in a cup of coffee and let’s accept that which isn’t always a success in the kitchen OR in life. But mostly, let’s share our passion for all that’s good in life…great food, crazy family life, great friendships, great experiences.”
As for Ronelle’s hand-drawn recipes — fabulous seems like such an overused word, just like “awesome,” but there’s no other way to put it. Take a look.
“We celebrate Epiphany every year here in France with galletes des rois, a custom that involves a lovely mix of rituals that embellish the Christian holiday, coming from all kinds of sources – the cake for the poor, stemming back to the middle ages, the “feve“, symbolizing renewal according to some, the crown symbolizing the French monarchy, but it all centers around the idea that giving creates life and giving can elevate anyone from pauper to king. Generosity of spirit is the little red pill that gets you out of the Matrix. The epiphany that frees us.”
Regarding Lucy’s photographs — no words can describe them, none. See for yourself.
*Both written in English.
© 2010 C. Bertelsen