This Summer I have been preparing myself to leave Paris and take a new expatriate job.
One important part of this preparation was to see close friends and share some time with them before I left. I sent out invitations to all my Parisian friends. Despite the Summer holidays, a good number could come on different dates so I had many opportunities to cook different recipes with seasonal produce and host my friends at home for several three-course meals.
Likewise for office colleagues. It is traditional in the French civil service for officers leaving their duty station to host their colleagues for a treat. Usually it is champagne, canapés and pastries. During my two-and-a-half years at the Centre for Studies and Strategic Foresight of the French Ministry of agriculture I had been used to offer tea to colleagues during meetings. I would even bake a cake sometimes. So for my departure treat, I decided to serve tea and home-baked cakes to my colleagues. I chose a few of my best teas from my collection and spent two evenings baking before each one of the two parties I organized at two different dates and in two different locations of the Ministry. This enabled colleagues to attend my tea parties depending on their office location, and work and holiday commitments. It also allowed me to organize myself and manage to bake a sufficient number of cakes, tarts and biscuits for the number of guests expected. Because I knew some colleagues would prefer a savoury snack for their afternoon tea, I had also purchased pâtés and red wine from my home region of Landes in the Southwest of France to go with freshly baked baguette from the local bakery.
All in all, I seem to have spent quite a lot of my time in the kitchen this Summer, but I enjoy that anyway. My Summer finished on a grand note with a concert of baroque music with Les Métaboles given in Rouen as part of one of the many Summer musical festivals in France. Cooking and singing: what a fitting conclusion to this Parisian chapter of my blog on food and music.
I can cook too
Original soundtrack of the musical On the town, Warner Bros