My family has so very much going on . My Father has health issues that have me VERY, my middle daughter is going through some things ( not allowed to mention) and my youngest has been as well. Also, remember the neighbors whom I ranted about. Well they have been evicted and should be leaving any day now, and I woke this morning to hearing her shout and cuss and mention us...so I am too fearful of a confrontation to leave the apartment. There is no way out without passing her apartment and garage etc. There is a moving truck outside, but I can not tell if they are moving things out or not...as they are not coming out of her door, but out of one of the garages...and have been for a couple hours now...but I am hoping! I am dying for a good cup of coffee and a Skinny Cow ice cream for my throat!
But enough about what is going on here, or not going on. We have a chapter to share. Chapter 5. La Fete
( wish I could put the accent mark..it goes over the first E) All about entertaining of one sort or another. From dinner parties to weddings to holidays. There was not many "Borrowed from" sections, so will fill in using a couple of the other gray boxes that are in the chapter , that are there to expand on the sections. As always I will put my notes of how I relate, or not to what I am reading.
It has been a very long time since I have had to worry about weddings, or attended one, or planned one. I found that section interesting, but of no bearing to me or my life, so it was hard to relate to, So let us get started with what did. I like to leave some of the book for you to read on your own!
Chapter 5 La Fete
Sections in the chapter :
The Dinner Party
The French Girl a' la Fete
Le Mariage * nope did not spell marriage wrong
Celebrations of the Season
Les Fetes des Enfants
The Dinner Party....
A wonderful remembrance of the authors experiences at her first New Year spent in France. I have always thought how wonderful it would be to be celebrating in another place or country when it the New Year hits. We are fuddy duddies and stay in and watch it on tv, and have just enough bubbly to toast , then it is off to bed. We have of course been to parties or thrown small ones from time to time, but it is so dangerous to go out and a hassle to call a cab and get back, then go get your car, etc, well we just choose to stay in. But it was wonderful to read the section about the party.
**( Have you bought your copy of the book yet?? Since I am risking getting in trouble cause as always I did not ask permission to reproduce sections of this book....so hoping to boost sales for the author.)
I did find that I related to how the French throw dinner parties, as often , when times were better, it is exactly as I would do it....well sort of. The small, very few people, and wearing the little black dress part. I was drawn to a section within the description of French dinner parties , and really related to what it had to say....
"The classic French dinner party might exude all the warmth of a Chardonnay commercial but it rarely has the drop in, more-the-merrier backyard hospitality of the typical American party. That's primarily because of the politics of privacy:The smaller the space, the more intimate the experience. Everything in the French girl's world is on a smaller, more human scale, and this intimacy is something the French girl chooses"
I always love smaller parties, where we all can sit at the same table and I can show my guests the attention they deserve as guests in my home. I have always disliked large crowds and so do not conduct get togethers in that fashion. I just find it more enjoyable, less stress, and well I love that I can interact with all my guests , no one gets lost in the crowd.
There was a gray box that was titled " What She Wears to Her Dinner Party" I just had to include it.
" A black dress-her perfect little black dress-or perhaps silk palazzo pants with a silk blouse or a tee. An understated but excellent piece of jewelry. If the gathering is more casual, she might wear jeans with heels and a simple black pullover. Tailored black slacks with croc loafers and a crisp white blouse. For the boheme or excentrique, maybe a vintage Japanese kimono over a tight black skirt. "
*Don't you just love it???
" from guests with clean-up after dinner-no big-group dish-wash-athons for her. The kitchen is her private mess . One wouldn't check out what's going on behind the curtain at the theater, nor should one meddle in the French girl's kitchen at a dinner party"
* OH how I wish I could learn not to care. I clean up as I go, and as the party goes on....Either I am a neat freak or VERY American housewife LOL
The menu sounded wonderful as well...even if I am not a fish fan
***"Le Menu For Dinner Party"
Olives & tapenade
Small toasts with goat cheese, tomato and herbs
Grilled sea bass with white butter sauce and chervil
Puff pastry filled with braised leeks and fennel
Steamed baby artichokes with summer vegetable pate'
Sauternes blanc and/or Pouilly Fuisse'
Lambs lettuce , oak leaf, endive and arugula with a simple vinigrette
Cantal, Brie, and chevre
Black and white chocolate tart with red berry coulis and thin
The smart talk section mentioned there would be "lively, intelligent and often provocative ". Other than mentioning of one's work, that would be left behind at the door, not too many subjects are left out, and they are not afraid of disagreements.
Then the chapter moved on to "The French Girl a la Fete" , where it covered the the French girl never "dials" her parties in. She puts out the best of everything , she dresses to the nines, and is a very hands on hostess. She only has "quality at mind" .The sign that the Fete is successful is " nobody leaves".
"Borrow A Page From the French Girl's Book: Entertianing
Think of the party you are planning as painting. You pick the scene, you pick the subjects, you pick the colors. Take the time to fill in all the details that bring sensual pleasure to your guests and yourself. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Do only what you can do extremely well and with enough ease that you get to enjoy yourself. Make time to relax and put yourself together before your guests arrive. Wear what makes you feel good and makes your body happy. Tap into the chemistry of all your guests. Flirt. Do dishes tomorrow"
** Words to live by for sure! This is wonderful advice and the next time I have a party, I shall try myself , very hard to follow these guidelines.
In the section titled COCKTAIL, it is more about a cocktail party than it is about a singular drink. It is written " There's music, there's ambiance, there's conversation , there's chemistry- The French girl loves a cocktail party."
Now on to the marriage section...well as I said I could not really relate at this time in my life...but again I URGE you to buy the book and read the section, well of course read the whole book, but if into weddings, this small section offered a lot of incite.
CELEBRATIONS OF THE SEASON....Now this is for me. I love the holidays....ok wait, not 100% true, I LOVED the holidays, I have some baggage I need to work on where they are concerned and well since moving to an apartment , I can not even really decorate as I did, between complex rules, and lack of space and storage, and then our girls all having other families they need to divide their time with....holidays no longer have the same joy and meaning for me. BUT down deep, I still love the holiday season.
Not surprising to me, was that Christmas was once again all about the food. As in many ways it is here for us, only we use our Thanksgiving for the "all about food" , then for our family Christmas is about sweet rolls and hot cider in the morning and that is about it. But I truly think this is another section you will all devour ...just reading about the feast makes your mouth water!
"Buche de Noel"
"if your inner French girl yearns for a taste of a traditional Christmas in France and a holiday alternative and a holiday flight to Paris is out of the question, there's a delicious alternative. Make your own dessert masterpiece for dinner on Christmas Eve. A buche de Noel is a decadent chocolate cake roll, covered in dark chocolate frosting to resemble bark and decorated with berries, holly, and meringue or marzipan mushrooms. Buche de Noel means "yule log" in French, hearkening back to the old tradition of hauling huge logs from the woods to burn fir twelve days, beginning on Christmas Eve. Perhaps if you eat buche de Noel this Christmas , your luck will turn French. Look for these holiday cakes in most high quality bakeries in December , or try one of the many good recipes in cookbooks from Julia Child to Joy of Cooking"
LES FETES DES ENFANTS....Again , been too many years and will be many more years before I shall have much interest in the subject of baby showers and or needing to plan one....but it was interesting to read their traditions.
"Borrow A Page From the French Girl's Book: Traditions and Celebrations
Spend time, not money, on holiday traditions. As well with all things French girl, less is more. Cook, eat, drink, and gather to create memories and community . Create rituals of celebration. Pass them on."
** I fail at this a lot....well only some areas. I have tried over the years to build traditions, and they would fall by the wayside due to health, money problems, stress, the girls aging and so many other little things. But in recent times we have made the holidays and celebrations in our family more and more simple and more about spending time together, than anything else, and I think we are better for it.
There is a section about the French Halloween ( my fav holiday) loved it! But far too long to sit here and type through coughing fits...I do apologize.
In the section fin...one thing really stood out to quote especially with how life has been for over two years now....
" ....life can be both good and bad, has its ups and downs, its highs and low- and that each upswing must be celebrated. Perhaps it's just for the hell of it - a natural human inclination.....keeps us just a little bit more civilized than, say the orangutan. "
"....Celebrate life, the French girl might implore us, or it will pass you by"
** Again, wonderful words to live by!!!
***All quoted material is from Entre Nous, A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl" By Debra Ollivier , published by St. Martain's Griffin, New York. A Lark Production 2003...cover price 13.95
Next week, all about the home!