Julia Child and Jacques Pépin
request the pleasure of your company
for a fall pot-luck dinner party.
Come and join us at l'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes,
Roo de Loo (rue de l'Université), Paris.
Please bring a healthy appetite,
and your favorite recipe
from Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Jacques and Julia.
I will never say it enough: We have wonderful friends.
Most people would at least pause before replying to a similar invitation. Pas nos amis. Not our friends. They R.S.V.P.'d within a couple of days and agreed to play along. Had I thrown in a Julia and Jacques look-alike contest, they would not have missed a beat...
You may remember I have a soft spot for la Grande Julia. She would have turned 100 this Fall. What a special way of honoring her long, prolific career and the great girl she was. Good food. Good wine. Good company. Oui, Julia would have approved.
The only bad news about the party was that I could not invite more people. Space was limited, even in our palatial [by European standards] home, and I wanted all twenty guests to sit in the same room.
The party took a while to plan, but it was worth it.
Le Husband and I decided to prepare one of Julia's specialties, le Boeuf Bourguignon. It took three evenings to make. We had fun and worked side by side; narrowly avoiding disaster while flambé-ing [methinks I just invented a new verb...] the dish with Cognac. We had forgotten to turn off the stove vent, and the bright flames were sucked in; threatening to set the basement on fire. We did not panic (no doubt the Cognac fumes had helped relax Jacques and Julia that night...)
|Call Ze Firemen: Ze Frenchies have set the 'hood on fire!!!|
|Things settled down,|
and le Boeuf Bourguignon went back to simmering quietly...
Meanwhile, our friends researched Julia's career and came up with a selection of scrumptious dishes. Les entrées (appetizers) included gougères au gruyère and champignons farcis. Soupe à l'onion, homard Thermidor and haricots verts sauce Mornay joined our Boeuf Bourguignon as plats du jour (the day's specials.) Finally, dessert: Mousse au chocolat and tarte aux fruits.
Quel festin! What a feast!
Finally, everything was ready for our soirée, and the house quietly awaited guests on a rainy, blustery evening.
|The quiet before the storm...|
|The Frenchified Julia, waiting for her guests...|
It is fair to say a wonderful time was had by all. This was the perfect fall celebration and for the next few hours, guests' laughter and animated conversation prevailed. Folks, it was LOUD in there. Jacques and Julia were the only well-behaved ones, silently working side by side on the flat tv screen, oblivious of le tintamarre (the racket) around them.
In a corner of the room, empty wine bottles started piling up. The stack would get a lot bigger by the time the evening wrapped up, much, much, later.
|Joyeux anniversaire, Julia! Bon Appétit!|
Then, once the quiet had returned, there would be cleaning; pushing furniture around; and for our lucky family, a couple more days enjoying tasty leftovers.
Ah, plaisirs d'automne. Autumn pleasures. Merci, Julia. Merci, les amis.
But who said Fall pleasures all have to be enjoyed indoors? The weather has been hit-and-miss, but a handful of dry days have allowed for some outdoor action.
At the beginning of the week, I visited a lively Seattle neighborhood, Capitol Hill. I took a morning walk in Volunteer Park, home of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and a 100-year old Conservatory.
|Bonjour, Space Needle!|
Later on, I followed Capitol Hill's most exclusive street, Millionaire's Row, and gawked at château after château...
I decided this was likely a conservative neighborhood... but one should never presume.
Suddenly, I saw la maison bleue (the blue house.) Two peaceful angels were guarding the front door. Upon closer inspection, it appeared the angels were carrying signs. The house itself was covered in stickers. I got closer, and I smiled, for one of the angels had a message for me.
Fear not, little angels. Washington State has heard you.
Along the way, I made time for une omelette aux fines herbes (fresh herb omelet) chez Café Presse, a local restaurant.
Meanwhile, not everyone was enjoying a pleasant Fall. The East Coast is still reeling from Sandy's visit. Somewhere along the way, an outspoken Republican governor and a Democratic President gave everyone a much-needed lesson in bi-partisanship when they met stranded populations on the Jersey coast and pooled resources to help others.
Then came the long awaited presidential election day, as everyone sighed with relief all over the country. Enfin. Finally.
In a heartwarming display of democracy at work, Americans voted. In the cold, in the dark, with no power. They voted. It was a beautiful sight.
|Tom Rivers, NJ|
(photo: Mel Evans, AP)
|Staten Island, NY|
(photo: Seth Wenig, AP)
|Everyone voted on November 6, 2012!|
(photo: Sarah Stathas, Reuters)
Junior and his immigrant parents stayed up late on Election night. A Social Studies project had to be completed, and our 7th grader was mesmerized as he kept track of the giant map on the TV screen. Slowly, the map started turning red... and blue. (There was something going on in Florida, but by now, everyone is getting used to it. Florida does not do presidential elections very well... Sorry, Florida!)
|This will come in handy when planning upcoming vacation...|
(kidding, folks, kidding!)
Finally, the president's name was announced. Barack Obama. People cheered. People cried (not always from happiness.) It was a done deal. Battles had been fought. Millions had been spent. A President had been elected.
Le Husband and I were happy to participate in our third American Presidential election. Whomever Americans voted for, I hope they remember that - to quote a friend and neighbor this week - "United we stand. Divided we fall."
And to keep things light (this is just a fun little blog, after all,) we were very happy to hear that President Obama has just honored an immigrant family some of you may recognize...
|"De rien, President Obama!"|
Governor Christie's fundraiser for New Jersey families:
All photos unless otherwise noted, by French Girl in Seattle.
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