Saturday, February 9, 2013

A French Country Weekend

        
          Finishing up a couple of simple bouquets, all the wood is arranged next to the fireplace and now I'm heading out to pick up dessert and cheese. We're having four friends for dinner tonight. As we explained with the invitation, "simple, family-like fare, we just want to see you."

          That releases me from trying to pull off something complicated in the kitchen and also gives me time to talk with you.

          On the menu (remember, nothing fussy):

     1.) Entree, a salad of mache et betterave with my simple vinaigrette.

          
                             2.) Plat, the standby endives au jambon (I will give you the recipe next week -- embarrassingly simple.).
                           3.) Brie de Meaux, no cheese platter, one cheese. Who doesn't like Brie?


          4.) Individual tartelettes aux abricots, not made by me, but by our brilliant patissier in the town near ours. As I've mentioned, he once produced his magic at the Ritz and also Lenôtre before he decided he wanted the country life.

         Et voila.

Look and learn. You are now observing one of the greatest etiquette errors that exists.
         While we're here I thought I would mention one of the grossest faux pas one can make at table in France. I know I've mentioned this before, but it so shocks the French, and well it should, that I thought I would give us a quick review.  One must never, never, never ever cut the point off of a morsel of cheese. The point is the best part and it is there to be savored by everyone. Therefore, a slice of cheese is to be made along the side from back to point.

          A demain mes darling amis. I must quickly swab down the front door where Charlotte left some muddy paw prints this morning: it's mucky and cold, but the sun is shining (!)

19 comments:

webb said...

What a lovely menu. And, a good etiquette lesson.. who knew?

Katie Clooney said...

Thanks for the "tip" on the tip of the cheese. Love your blog.

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

It all sounds delicious Tish. Have a great evening with your friends. XXXX

Barbara Lilian said...

Friendly evenings sharing simple food what could be better. when I first saw the photo of the cheese with the point cut off, I thought Oh NO !! then I scrolled further down & read the etiquette tip you were giving. have a lovely evening with your friends. My hubby & I enjoyed a nice piece of Brie after our lunch helped along with a glass of matured Bordeaux, while watching the snow fall yet again. You are lucky it hasn't come your way.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I did not know that about the cheese...I will behave from now on!! Seriously, please share the recipe next week and have a lovely dinner with your friends.

Diane said...

My friends and I call it "nosing the cheese" and never ever do it.

Deborah Flanagan said...

Have fun and now so looking forward to the endives au jambon recipe.

Splenderosa said...

So happy for the "cheese" lesson. I didn't know this. My learning for the day has now been completed, so I'm going shopping...

Katherine said...

We learn something new each day. I did not know this very important fact about cheese and the correct way to slice it.

Marsha said...

So interesting! I happily anticipate your sharing of the recipe. But I am somewhat concerned that after many decades of cheerful brie eating, I have never noticed that the point tasted better than any other part. (Also, the piece on the cracker in the photo doesn't seem to be the point - did someone else take it?) Have I missed an important pleasure, or is this possibly one of those etiquette points (pardonnez-moi) that exists more as a custom than as a practical matter of politeness? I must hasten to obtain some brie and experiment for myself. Thank you for presenting this agreeable obligation.

vicki archer said...

Delish... They are probably about to ring the bell and sit down to a delightful evening.... Bon Appetit... xv

Amelia said...

The piece of cheese does look awkward left in a weird shape after the tip is cut. Have a wonderful evening with your friends.

xx

Lily Lemontree said...

What a scrumptious sounding menu!! Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend!!

susan overland said...

I like reading you.... Having lived in lovely France myself.
Yes, the cutting off th "NOSE" as it is called is a no no in England also...Silly really.
Take care.
Susan

Francine Gardner said...

Delicious! J'adore les endives...

BigLittleWolf said...

All you have to do is say the word "bettrave" and I think of France. Je l'adore, and I only seem to eat it on the other side of the ocean!

Gorgeous roses... I admit to a few roses showing up in my life (early and unexpectedly), yesterday, in the most lovely way.

Heaven.

Enjoy your weekend!

M-T said...

I just had to comment on this wonderful post. While on honeymoon in France (many, many years ago), we were having dinner with my favorite aunt, tante Jeanette, in Alençon, when the cheese course was served and my American husband grabbed the knife and immediately cut off the "nez" (the nose) of the cheese before I could stop him. Gasps all around.

We then explained to him what he had done, and he has been teased about it ever since.

BTW, when a round cheese, such as a camembert is served, the hostes cuts a small, triangular piece and sets it on top, so her guests can continue to cut the cheese, like a cake, maintaining the shape and integrity of the cheese.

JEANNE-AELIA DESPARMET-HART said...

You are right, the bad-cheese-cutting syndrome drives me crazy!! great menu, j'adore.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your endive recipe. I made endives about a month ago and wasn't crazy about the particular recipe I used.

xoxoxo --
Marsi

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