by little red pen
A few weeks ago, we decided to institute French night. Ian and I get to hankering for Paris every now and then, and the boys like any event that involves planning, participatory preparation, and eating.
We started by getting out recipe books and my old French course books. The boys wrote out French food words and stuck them to the kitchen wall where — I now realise — they remain. We scoured fridge and pantry to work out what we could cook with what we had, and we thought about what we could watch as after-dinner entertainment.*
I took on potato galette, cauliflower in olive oil and lemon juice, and a lamb, olive and preserved lemon stew. Ian made apple tarte tatin and put out bread and olives for starters. The boys made a salad and the Cat picked flowers.
When it all got too much, the Cat ran a soccer academy in the hallway for the Rabbit. In the middle of everything, we shifted firewood from the driveway to the side of the house, and I think we cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed, although God only knows when or why.
Predictably, it was all both more wonderful and less relaxed than the event I had in mind when I first broached the idea. My vision of us talking quietly with each other while slowly eating our way through a well-paced and elegant little feast was tempered by a few scraps, a bit of mess, some ratbaggery, and the usual appalling table manners, but it was a celebration of our own making — a wordy, colourful, mayhem-adjacent, not-too-fancy, delicious little party.
* We ended up with a Top Gear episode set in France, which culminated with a bridge that set off my vertigo big time. One day, we’ll be classy.