Monday, June 26, 2006


We were the last to arrive and the first to leave and still we spent nearly ten hours at a family reunion in the Ardennes. It was Frog Father's cousin's 70th birthday and about 30 of the family members had gathered in a small village sports hall for lunch. We were a motley crew, including a snail farmer, two wine-makers and several farmers. Plus a young French girl just back from her agricultural work experience year in Australia, love sick for her long distance boyfriend and desperate to practice her English.

Anyway, I'm not sure when I'll stop listening to Frog who says, "We'll just stop by for lunch and then we'll..." and instead remember the truth which is that this is a day long affair!

So "lunch" yesterday consisted of:

Champagne & Petits Fours
Melon* with Dried Ham
Filet of Pike Perch
Apricot Sorbet
Beef en croute with asparagus, dauphinois potatoes & tomatoes proven├žale
Selection of Cheeses & Salad
Plate of 4 different desserts


Accompanied by three different wines and two different champagnes.

* a whole charentais melon each


A few hours later this was followed by a cold buffet, including a choice of six different homemade desserts.

So. What happened outside of the six hours of eating? Well, I suddenly found myself nursing my coffee, looking up to see everybody around the table waiting to hear my answer. The question that had been posed was from Father Frog and his son who were looking for my back-up . "You really want to watch the football don't you?" and as an aside to the other family guests "Well, England's playing, you know".

So I provided the cover (and yes, I did want to see it but no, my mother brought me up with better manners than that) for the trio of us to head towards a distant cousin's house in the village.

Within twenty minutes, Father Frog was asleep on the sofa and Mother Frog had joined us since she was too embarassed to venture into the village fete with her red wine splattered white trousers.

The English team might have provided us with an extremely boring match but it was a refreshing interlude from the humid foodfest going on a few hundred yards up the road. Additionally, since we hadn't seen Mother and Father Frog for the last week (whilst they were on holiday) it gave us some time to plan Father Frog's dinner schedule for the next five nights whilst Mother Frog is in hospital for a shoulder operation and afterwards when she's recovering at home.

My services duly loaned out, I'll be planning my own dinner menus for the next couple of weeks when the family will have to get used to cooking English style!

No comments: