by Gini Rainey
I’m going to Paris! Not Paris, Texas, as many of my smart-mouthed friends have joked about, but the real thing! My husband and I will be celebrating a major anniversary and since we were married on Bastille Day, it just seemed like a fitting place to visit. We will be taking a dinner cruise on the Seine in the evening, and I hear the fireworks display behind the Eifel Tower is spectacular and legendary. This should be an amazing trip with all of the things we are planning to do – the Louvre, the d’Orsay, the Rodin, the Catacombs, The Eifel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and so much more. In fact, I’m so overwhelmed at how much Paris has to offer, I’ve told my husband when asked, that I would be more than happy to sit in a sidewalk café, sipping wine, eating cheese, and people-watching.
So tell me how wrong it would be for us to go all the way to Paris and not visit Giverny and the house where Claude Monet (my favorite artist) spent more than half his life? Terribly wrong! We will be taking a half day tour to the village of Giverny
that is located a hop, skip and a jump from Paris, in Normandy region. I am so looking forward to visiting the place that inspired Monet to paint his water lily series, and perhaps I will return home, filled with so much inspiration that I will get my easel and paint box down out of the attic and get back to being artistic.
Not only was Monet a leader of the Impressionistic Period of art, but he also was a prolific journal keeper, keeping records about meals that were prepared using fresh ingredients from his kitchen-garden (a work of art itself), the farmyard, and the French countryside. One of the results from his journals is beautiful book “Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet,” with text by Claire Jones and absolutely stunning photographs by Jean-Bernard Naudin and was published by Simon and Shuster in 1989. The first half of the book is filled with a wealth of information about Monet’s home, family, and friends, while the second is comprised of recipes of his own and of his friends.
One of the recipes that definitely caught my eye (perhaps because we have a lovely dish of cherries in our refrigerator) is Cherry Bread (Pain de cerises). First, preheat your oven to 375° and then combine 5 tablespoons of flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 5 cups (1 pound) of pitted cherries. Then pour the mixture into a shallow, greased, oven-proof dish and dot with ½ cup of diced butter. Then bake for just under 1 hour or until browned. As much as I would like (because of the name of the recipe) that this would make a loaf of bread, my thought is that this sounds a bit like a cherry cobbler – so I would recommend serving it warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Bon Appetite!