Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Year

ventouxsnow4

I am, I think, looking forward to a New Year. We are both a little scared too. I am cutting down my orchestral work; teaching may well be building; we both have book ideas in various stages which could or could not do well; Julian will not paint a painting a day for the rest of his life; we may or may not have a third and hopefully even a fourth member in our family some day.... One thing seems pretty sure, this will not be our last Christmas à deux. ....

Luckily there is a new man in the White House, who seems to think that calm, courage and peace are more important than drama, fear and war....I hope his influence will spread. We will see it all unravel, doubtless, but I have never known so many tremors of hope coursing through so many lives at the brink of a new year. New era even?

We will celebrate with friends on New Year's Day with a walk, or sledge or ski up on the Ventoux, weather permitting, and Julian's special feast. Today we did the shopping at Les Halles in Avignon:

When we told the potato seller that we will be crushing the potatoes with fresh truffles under a chapon, he recommended that we have the big rattes which are more floury, because the Normoitier, though twice the price, tend to become buttery and melt when crushed. Then, the butcher recommends that we spare a hundred euros and get the Red Label 'Fermier' capon instead of the Chapon de Bresse, because it is quite delicious, even though the Bresse has been milk fed and the fat is better distributed. The fishmonger insisted that the best oysters were Utah beach, not Gillardeau (another fifty euro saving). I took a quick break while Julian got some necessaries from the supermarket, and had six fines et claires d'Oleron with a small glass of white in the little stall next to the oyster seller. Then, wanting to support our local businesses rather than stock up in supermarkets, we drove to our favourite wine makers in the region - Mireille and Jean Pierre Cartier at Domaine Les Gouberts. On arrival, I insisted we owed them forty euros for a 'vieux millesime' bottle of Cuvée Florence from our anniversary in July. We considered buying four more bottles for New Year's Day, it was so good..... She said the 2000 Gigondas really was very special, a little less animal, and would perhaps go better with the capon. Luckily it was half the price. When we left, having paid our bill, Mireille gave us a 93 Cuvée Florence as a festive gift. That's my kind of credit crunch shopping!

SHOP LOCALLY! SUPPORT LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES! every pore of my body screamed!!!!!

Meanwhile we are back home, stocks are being made, carcasses prepared and trimmed. 'How does such a huge fellow survive on such a tiny heart?' says Julian, pulling the small organ from the capon carcass. 'And look at the liver! It's huge! Just like mine!'

The New Year's resolution? Goes without saying, I think.

Happy New Year!


ventouxsnow3

12 Comments:

Blogger Katherine Tyrrell said...

I looked up Happy New Year on Google Translate and....guess what? It's "Happy New Year"!

I'm very happy to support your local shops and businesses by reading all your posts about what you buy and where - so long as you also tell us what it tastes like as well after the meal!

How about some photos of the artist at work on the cooking?

Has Julian ever painted any of the local shops and markets? I don't remember ever seeing any......

7:14 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

hey katherine, i have NO doubt everything will taset marvellous, especially in Julian's hands. re pics of him cooking - some things just have to be kept for the private realm. plus, i have a bit of a policy not to post pics of us, but if you go to the flickr link they can often be found if you look hard enough.....happy new year!

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant, in all respects; the photos, the writing, the content! Happy New Year!

12:58 AM  
Blogger Zuleme said...

It looks much more wintery than I imagined Provence in winter. It looks kind of like here in New Hampshire actually.
I think paintings of the markets would be wonderful.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Happy New Year!

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Jenna from MD said...

"Julian will not paint a painting a day for the rest of his life."

Say it isn't so!!!! :-)

2:35 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

hi jenna, you made me laugh! Let's say he will most likely be painting most days for a long time to come, but what none of us can know!

re market paintings....you lot may just have planted a seed!

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Jenna from MD said...

Anytime I make someone laugh it totally makes my day! Thanks. I suppose it's a bit harder to paint in the middle of a busy market, than in the quiet of one's own studio, but of course we would all love it. I am sometimes torn between expressing my own needs, "keep painting, keep blogging, post more photos, post more explanations of the paintings, why didn't you paint that market Ruth mentioned, etc." versus a desire to let you and Julian live your lives without a gaggle of fans bothering you.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Cheryl Pass said...

I would like to suggest a book to you, "State of Fear" by Michael Crichten. This book addresses the environmental issues you express an interest in. You might ask the question, "Who is driving drama and fear and war?" Could it be the environmentalists who tell you doomsday scenarios are about to happen any minute if you don't give them money? I'm sorry to tell you that the newly elected President of the U. S. is not likely to make things better, but very much worse...unless of course you love Socialism, government taxing cow emissions, mandated CFL lightbulbs from China, empty eloquence, and environmental tyranny.
This is from one who loves art as an expression of freedom and who respects and loves the planet. And I admire Julian's paintings very much, too.
All that beautiful snow is telling you something...could it be global cooling????

8:03 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

Hi Cheryl, Taking care of our environment does not come from fear, it comes from love. I personally have high hopes for Obama despite the scare-mongering.
http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/mysteryreviews/fr/stateOfFear.htm

9:51 PM  
Blogger John Hawke said...

I've been meaning to ask if you are familiar with Susan loomis, a chef and writer: French Farmhouse Cookbook , Italian Farmhouse Cookbook , On Rue Tatin and most recently Tarte Tarin . When I read your post about shopping for the New Years dinner, I thought you must be Susan's sister. Please ignor any spelling and grammer mistakes as Spike the cat has been helping me type.
My best wishes for a wonderful New Year to you all.
John Hawke

11:25 PM  
Anonymous darci (and thomas) said...

Thank you for another wonderful year of posting, and to the New Year ahead of us! Here in Portland we are eagerly awaiting January 20th, how great to know the world is watching.

(continued success and happiness to you both!)

8:10 PM  

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