Friday, January 1, 2010

First Words

This is the oldest house in Josselin - from 1538! It has wood carvings of wild men, dragons, monkeys, and, possibly, the owners of the house itself (and makes me miss Michael Camille and his work on medieval street signs so much). We discovered it after discovering that there is a Harry Potter series of "fèves" (the little figurines that are found inside this delicious almond tart made to celebrate Epiphany, a.k.a. Three Kings Day - January 3rd this year!). A very good outing indeed. Today was a series of first quotidian events. Each of the kids came forth with their own first French phrase. Oliver, ever celebratory: "joyeux anniversaire" (happy birthday); Eleanor, ever eager: "encore" (more); and Iris, ever ready "au secours" (help). !!! Our language our selves, truly. We made our first discovery of the kids' school (looks terrific, colorful and open), and of the kids' school calendars (_two_ weeks of winter vacation in February, and _two more_ weeks of spring vacation in April - this compared to the one-day spring break in the States - there will be a blog about this for sure!). I made my first purchase at the boucherie/charcuterie (after hearing myself utter the unbelievably quaint phrase "honey, I need money for the butcher" to Mac!). I wanted something special for our New Year Eve's dinner (big deal around here, to cook a fantastic meal that you eat until midnight, and then there's dancing and music, and then French onion soup at dawn - how awesome is _that_?), but this would also be my first cooking of meat from scratch at the house and I didn't want anything too complicated. So I see these lovely white sausages (yes, lovely), and they're called "boudin blanc" - and plain old boudin is usually well, blood sausage - so I asked the middle-aged butcher behind the counter about what is in the boudin blanc. And he smiles at the older butcher, and they both call back to the apprentice butcher to come forward and tell the good lady just exactly what is in a boudin blanc (chicken, bread crumbs, milk, and spices). And I was thus treated to not just the ingredients, but several different ways to prepare it (I went with, in the oven, with apples sprinkled in sugar, and a few drops of Calvados) - it was delicious! Huzzah for the apprentice butcher - he knew his stuff! Mac had a first, too - choosing a holiday dessert at the patisserie: a matter of great importance and consultation. Here was the exquisite result, involving three different kinds of chocolate mousse arranged in a buche (log) decorated with holiday chocolates, much appreciated, as you can see, by the children...

who wish you all a wonderful and truly HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


  1. BONNE ANNEE! et bravo pour le souper au boudin blanc et au delicieux dessert de mousse au chocolat en Buche. Je me regale...en revant!
    Cette maison de 1538 est vraiment interessante. Les decoupures de bois sur les murs me rappellent un peu les colombages en Normandie, a Bayeux.
    Je vous embrasse, maman/mamie

  2. Happy 2010! The Harry Potter references are much appreciated.

  3. Wow, everything looks so wonderful. What is the weather and how far is your house from the middlle of town?


  4. Dear Oliver I miss you very very much

    from Jakob and Simon