She’ll make you live her crazy life ….
After a drought, let there be a flood. Well actually not. In reality neither is an appealing option but I use the metaphor to witness the fact that I seem to be pedalling a rather large volume of twaddle this week. Two days on the trot after a post last Tuesday AND another on Saturday is unheard of chez Half Baked.
I have decided that Tuesdays for the foreseeable will be devoted to Taste. This will mostly be something edible, but some weeks it might be something beautiful. Always with the caveat that taste is entirely subjective. I do love cooking, I do love tinkering with interiors. I have had a food shop in my chaotically careening life and I have had a house-rescuing business for the desperate to sell and needing a budget savvy person to help them turn their sows ear into a silk purse. And right now, as seems to be a constant theme in my life, we are renovating our home. Actually strictly speaking two houses – the one in France which will again take centre stage when I resume the Coup de Coeur series and the one we live in, here in Massachusetts. Positively the potential for a frisson-making wave of excitement, no?
Whatever it is you can be sure it will eventually form an eclectic whole because I do not have a set taste either in food or in surroundings. I am influenced by many cultures and by many experiences. But there is one absolute. Life forced me to be frugal for a very long time and I am fortunate for it. The habits are ingrained and I am the better for it. So the food we make is not extravagant. I say we, because some of the delights I intend to entice you with are the work of HB² himself.
I have long expounded the good sense in eating food that is reared or grown as close to the ground I walk on as possible. I recently discovered when strolling back to my husband’s office after lunch with a table full of boffins and mentioned my theory to one of them, that I am defined as a locavore. I had no idea. I guess everything has a label in this hashtag day and age. Perfect I am not and here and now I do my best to adhere to my principles but I must admit that I do buy things that have been flown or trucked a pretty substantial distance to tickle my palate. When we eventually settle into retirement and a forever home, we intend to grow as much as we can, raise chickens and ducks and geese for their eggs and possibly sheep and goats for their milk so we can make cheese. HB² will have some vines and we will make some wine. For this reason we have to survive several years …. vines are not viable for a minimum of three years and most wine-makers will tell you that white varieties need five years and the reds seven. And a pig. The Brains thinks I am joking but there will be a pig. And that pig will never be eaten. Actually, when he was newly courting me and met my eldest daughter for the first time, she said to him ‘if you want to win mummy, forget diamonds and flowers. Get her a pig’. She was deadly serious. That’s the dream. For the moment we are here and after a rather faltering start I am ready to embrace all that this place offers. Which is much.
So there you have it. Let the feast commence. Next week … for now I need a lie down after this flurry of activity. And tomorrow, there’s even more!!
PS, the essential PS: The title is from Ricky Martin’s 1999 hit ‘Livin’ The Vida Loca’ which is an appalling attempt to link to my discovery that I identify as a locavore. Dreadful, no?
Here’s the man himself enthusiastically recanting the story of the devil-red lipped temptress who who forcibly enticed him to ‘live the crazy life’ which is the correct translation of the title. Absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the script. Poetic licence, please.
sounds all very good to me. Regarding the pig(s) you should read James Breakwell’s blog – he has FOUR DAUGHTERS (all under 10) and TWO PIGS….. and he writes crazy kids’ books too…. You’d feel right at home!
He does sound exactly my sort of chap! I can match him on the daughters – the pigs are yet to come. I’ll take a stroll to his site and immerse in his brilliance.
I’m with you with the pig. What lovely creatures they are!
Another thing to love about you, Pete! Pigs are brilliant creatures and not at all as they are stereotyped. Very smart and very clean (with the caveat that the need to rootle and they need to wallow in mud to avoid sunburn). There will be the biggest whoop of happy when my piggy comes home!
…and they smell lovely too!
Ahhhh the chickens, the geese, the pig (I love your daughter’s instructions!) the homegrown veg …. this is my husband and I to an absolute tea! Bliss! How long have you been in Massachusetts now? Are you feeling settled? It does take a while doesn’t it … You’re such a talent, with so many strings to your bow. You will create a wonderful home(s)! Katie xx
One day we will both get there, Katie …. The unfortunate thing about my daughter’s comment to The Brains was that it may be at the root of the reason he never bought me an engagement ring and stubbornly refuses to contemplate getting me anything sparkly now. However, this does mean that when the time comes he will have to honour the pig!
I have been here two years. I previously spent the whole of 2016 here and then in 2017 we were in Grenoble whilst Hubby did a tranche of work there. I stayed on to finish a teaching qualification and wait out my Green Card approval and moved across in April 2018. So I suppose it’s been three years now although the first year I knew we would be going back to France so it felt more like an extended posting than actually being embedded. It really does take a long time. The same daughter, when I was bemoaning the fact that I found it so foreign and not at all easy which I couldn’t get my head round, given how easily I had found moving to France in 2013 said ‘what do you expect Mummy, it’s a whole different continent’ and that helped me a lot. My mental health derailment at the start of being here didn’t help matters, of course, but I just think it really takes a huge adjustment and I would not say I’m home and dry just finding it a bit easier now that the positive mojo is reset and working overtime. xx
Yup, you’re owed a pig! Or maybe two as I believe they’re quite sociable creatures. I love them … although I was a bit frightened of coming across the wild sanglier in France. Fortunately I only actually saw one and it was dead … sad that it was dead of course, but my God, it was enormous!
Yes, another continent rather puts it into perspective. Despite speaking the same language, there’s still a totally different culture to learn, a different way of thinking. I think it’s taken me six months; six months of ups and downs, meeting new people, getting frustrated with systems I didn’t understand, getting lost, feeling every emotion in the book and of course we take it out of those nearest and dearest which is wrong, but inevitable. It was only when I started making some proper friends and having a purpose that I settled. I think half the problem was that every day my husband would head off to work, happy to have an instant group surrounding him and a team of people to support him. And I didn’t. (Woe is me!). I had a couple of melt-downs and the stress triggered some on-going health issues. I’m so glad that your positive mojo has been reset … what do you think helped? Was there anything specific or more just a slow and steady adjustment? Please, please email me if you’re having a bad moment … I need to give you my email address as my gmail one doesn’t seem to work, I’ll dig out your email address from your blog and send it over just in case you want to email me. Sending much love xx
Looking forward to sharing the crazy journey from the comfort of my den.
Thank you, Ray
Your retirement sounds like the next life T and I have been promising ourselves for a while. But I suspect it will be too much like hard work to call retirement. No vines though — too much of a cliche in NZ. T’s current plan is to distill gin, but I suspect it will become the next cliche and he may have to hurry up.
We don’t really consider it retirement, just another phase of life. I’m glad it strikes a chord with your plans too. Yes, I guess vines are a cliche in France too but we don’t intend to sell anything so we can just quietly tinker. The Gin, though – get to it! That will be amazing!
Hehe. His plan is that I grow the botanicals and he distills. We got offered a still by a friend in the business — great excitement until we realised how big it is. Let’s just say we’d have to shop for either a warehouse or a small cathedral to house it in.
One of the churches in our town is for sale … I love the irony of distilling in a cathedral! My brother-in-law has a still but it fits in his garden shed. You’ve just made our day with your comment …. HB2 was walking past and wanted to know why I was giggling. But the Gin from your botanicals is a must-do. Really.
Churches come up for sale here too, and we’ve looked at a couple. No joy yet though. I had thought of buying us a (small) still for Christmas but we seemed to have so many other projects on then. Sigh! I can’t help thinking that we might have been on to something with the “Lockdown Special” 🙂
I do know the feeling …. The time will present itself when it is ready. Meanwhile, as Churchill said ‘keep buggering on’. Lockdown Special, though …. 🙂
Bring on the flood—and the pig.
I cannot wait for the pig …. you’ll hear the squeals of glee from Oz when I finally get it!
I’ll admit to having to Google the meaning of locavore – the first result was a cafe and food delivery outfit in Glasgow which uses it both as a name and a USP. I’ll also admit to a degree of cognitive dissonance in matching ‘taste’ to Ricky Martin but hey, each to their own 😂 xx
It’s clearly a known expression but I had no clue.
I don’t think many, if any would use Ricky Martin in a post about taste. It tickled me to be so contrary! xx
Nor did I! If I’m honest, I don’t think many would use Ricky Martin in a post about anything. Your contrariness is duly noted 😉 xx
I’m bloody sure most wouldn’t. It’s a constant wordplay thing with me which can be irritating. Including to self!! xx
Twaddle maybe – but entertaining twaddle. Two pigs? 🙂
I’ll keep twaddling on. And two pigs will do nicely!
I love cooking as well. Our dishes are simple but tasty. We also have been influenced by our travels and we often have “mutlicuisine” meal where we can have Lebanese food mixed with Indian or Mexican. It is fun to mix and match the various flavours. We also try to buy as local as possible but it is a bit more difficult in the winter when not much grows in our fields… (Suzanne)
Oh, I know I would love to eat at your table! You two are so well travelled and decidedly people of great taste and style. It is such fun to experiment with flavours and not limit oneself to a single cuisine for a dish. We are somewhat the same, here in terms of what is available in winter. When I lived in the Cantal, I was absolutely rigid and only bought local. This meant several months when virtually the only veg on offer were pumpkin and leeks and the only fruit to be had was an apple. But I managed. Had my husband been with me all the time, it might have been a different matter … I don’t think he can live without bananas and they definitely don’t grow in the Massif Central!!!
I don’t think I could do what you did; I do my best to buy local but I must admit that in winter I still want variety. And even in summer, oranges, mangoes and a other exotic stuff don’t grow in Canada so we do have to buy a few things that come from afar but we try to select the ones that have traveled less… By the Cyprus and Crete grow bananas…so it is almost local!
It wasn’t easy but I like a challenge. Here in Massachusetts I buy bananas from Costa Rica which is less local than Cyprus and Crete to Cantal!!
Welcome back.dear Osyth..i miss your long and.lovely narrarives of.your daily life..and that song, oh reminds.me of when we were young dancing to living la vida loca..
Aw! How lovely to ‘see’ you here! I’m back and writing so I can promise it’s business as usual in my Half Baked world! I was not strictly speaking young, not in my first flush at least, when that song came out but I LOVED dancing to it! How are things with you? I know it has been pretty tough over there. Stay safe and well and I wish you and your family great strength and warmth from over here.
Thank you Osyth..its been really tough..we are on a lockdown for almost a month now..
Keep safe and stay healthy as well
That is a long time. This is the most testing of times. I send you all love and strength from over the world. And a plea that you stay safe and stay well. Yours is such a beautiful voice. The world needs such voices.
Oh thank you Osyth.
Actually you can only read him in his newsletters. I’ll send you the link by mail later.
You’ve got 4 girls too???? How about that. All yours or inherited with your man/men 😍? atta girl!
Ooh, that would be lovely! Thank you Kiki. The girls are all made by me – aged 33, 29, 27 and 24. Our son was made by HB2 without my help. He is also 33. I raised the girls on my own and I used to say that on good days it was like flying without wings and on bad days like free falling without a parachute!!
Pigs can be just like humans. Playful and endearing, then crass and belligerent all in the same day!
But smarter than humans, I believe 😉
Maybe some, but not all. 🐖
I too had a pssion for a pig when I was younger. The passion wasn’t requited until I was much older and farming in the yorkshire dales. They are lovely creatures, intelligent and as companionable as a dog…altho’ they do have their own distinctive eau de cologne. Love it that you’re back…you’ve encouraged me to pick up my pen again in the next few weeks.
Oh please do! I love your words. I do hope you are keeping well. And safe, of course. What I wouldn’t give to be in that forever home now except that it will be in France and I know France is not an easy place to be right now. But then again, where is?
oh, I’m thinking Tuesdays will be glorious from here on out!
As for the pig, I feel the same way about goats. One look into their eyes and we are simpatico. 🐐
Sweet! I understand your affinity with goats. My husband is a Capricorn 😉
I remember your love for pigs very well. 😉 And also our shared dream of having our own little farms one day to live of the land. 😄 Living the Vida loca it is!! 😉
And so we shall … I thought of you when I was writing that bit. I remember so well our shared delight in the notion of a little farm. We will get there. Each in our own and swapping notes about shaggy sheep and gregarious goats, chuckling chickens, dazzling ducks (Indian Runners, please) and all the other companions we collect along the way. And the pigs! X
Can’t wait for it! 😄 My latest dreamed of addition is a beehive or two by the way. 😉 xxx
Oooh! One of the ladies in my book club has bees …. she is the most delightful, calm, balanced soul and I can’t help thinking the bees play into that. I also have a great friend in England who is the chief bee person for three English counties. He is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. So bees! Yes please xxx 🐝
Looking forward to Taste on Tuesdays Osyth.
I can’t believe it has been 3 years since France!
I’m glad to be on this journey with you. Xx
I’l try not to let you down. When the world opens up again, the places we will see, yes? Xx
Absolutely. And that day will come. Xx
Locavore, eh? I had no idea there was such a term until this moment. Nevertheless, I am mildly envious of such an appellation and I must proceed to find one of my own… 😉
It does sound rather grrrr doesn’t it? 🐅
I, too, have had a time in my life when I had to be frugal. It’s stood me in rather good stead during lockdown, when forgotten foods emerge from the fastnesses of the freezer or the depths of the store cupboard, and I have to find some way of using them up. I hope you get your pig!
It’s definitely an advantage to be able to create out of little. My mother said to me that before the lock-down she was in the local shop and a young woman was staring in despair at the meat and fish shelves entirely empty. Mother said to her ‘the trick is not to come out with a fixed idea of what you want but rather to take what you can find and enjoy the fun of working out what to do with it’. That, I guess is the wartime attitude and it is definitely the right approach at the moment. The pig shall be mine! Or rather it seems one needs to have two because they are sociable. Poor Two Brains …. he has no idea what’s ahead!!!
Your mother has the right idea. I rather enjoy improvising. The OH is a good cook but has to follow a recipe and feels a bit lost if an ingredient is missing!
We’ve definitely become locavores since moving to France. However there is a ‘downside’. At this time of year we seem to eat nothing but raspberries and courgettes/zucchini. Our two courgette plants are currently producing at least 5 a day! I would kill for some broccol (which we can’t get to grow in our soil).
Send some of those courgettes my way – ours are being decimated by voracious bunnies (we think it’s bunnies though it could be a variety of rodents including our resident ground-hog). Last year I became obsessed with various courgette bakes as the mountain got higher and higher and I seem to remember cursing them – be careful what you wish for 😉 It’s lovely to hear from you and I do hope things are well in your lovely coin de Paradis. I shall now trip the light fantastic over to your site and engross myself a while
Hello!!! I didnt realize you were back blogging. I need to catch up. Hope your well.
I did send you an email back in March – perhaps I have your address wrong?
Judi@judicastille.com and firstname.lastname@example.org xx
Cheers. I’ll resend the mail
Hi. I feel like a stalker….did you send email as cannot see? Xx
Nope. But I will xx