We’ve pretty much eaten ham with almost every meal on this trip. Ham in our homemade signature breakfast sandwiches. Ham on our Parisian salads. Ham in the quiche Lorraine. Ham in the famous Croque Monsieur. It’s always delicious and always present. But then at times there is Jambon.
After a long but well-decided-upon journey to Villa La Favorite (which I will describe in a later post) it is time to eat. Our housekeeper Josette has kindly asked us to eat with her tonight. I’m not sure at this point if she is doing it out of obligation or because she would really like the company. I guess we’ll find out.
I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to food (if you didn’t know). I remake things that are set to go other ways on menus. I adjust my food at Joe’s to my whim of the day. I pretty much cook for myself whatever I want, whenever I want to maintain that control. Tonight I am forced to defer. We ask what time we will eat and Josette says, “Huit heur.” We ask what we can bring and she says nothing. We then promptly go to the store and buy wine, cheese, crackers, and jam just to be sure that I have some “control” of what I will eat if the dinner is not what I am hoping for. Well, let me just tell you: NOT NECESSARY!
When we return from our journey to the store we find the main table set for three. We ask Josette for a wine opener to open a bottle of Provence rosé I just bought. She then indicates that she already had wine. Provence rosé. Epic fail #1. We then ask if we can put the cheese we bought for snacks in the ice box. Yep, you guessed it. She already had cheese. Epic fail #2. We sit on the veranda and have a glass of wine and Josette asks if we would rather eat on the terrace. Well, duh? YES! But since we have already have stepped twice on our host’s toes we tell her that we don’t want to be any trouble. Ten minutes later we are eating on the terrace/veranda/heaven on earth.
Our meal consists of: “potage de legumes” also known as the best vegetable soup on the planet, rolled French ham, salad vert, and a single, precious, delicious baguette with Presidente butter, followed by fresh grapes. We eat in courses over about an hour and a half. This is far from the most complex meal in France but the experience, the moment, and the simplicity are a thing of beauty beyond description.
Ham is becoming jambon to me more each day now. The pace is slowing. The French words are more easy understand. I’m in the moment. By coincidence I’m in a palace in the South of France yet I couldn’t feel a more simple sense of peace if I were on a deserted island.
Without question one of the top ten meals of my life.