November 19, 2007

Me, me, me, me, too.

The Julia Hoyt lit like a Chinese lantern.

Four by Four- a magic set of numbers. When Rosa tagged me this week in such good company, I mused over what would be my own questions.

  • Who am I?
  • Where did I come from?
  • What am I doing here in southwest France?

Boring and predictable. Then I had yet another opportunity, more common than not these days, to make e-small talk this time via the famous I’m looking for a stagiare or two, to help me carry my French Kitchen Adventures into the future. Where better than to check out the local talent than nearby Toulouse? I realized as I wrote my listing there were many questions to ask…

What four things do you love most about living at the Relais de Camont?

  • The absolute stillness and quiet of this little world.
  • My gregarious French Kitchen that can hold a squished crowd of 15 people if needed but just as easily seems built for two.
  • The always running springs feeding the frog pond and lavoir hidden in the secret garden wood behind the ruin.
  • Hammocks, lots of hammocks for nap attacks.

Relais de Camont's room with a view.

What four most memorable jobs you have had?

  • Carhop in the rainy cold Seattle winter. (1 cold and wet month in 1969)
  • Puppeteer and roadie for a children’s theatre (1970-76)
  • Yacht cook and first mate (1980-82)
  • Barge captain (1987-present)

What’s the 4 best things about living on a boat?

  • Paradoxically, the stillness. This 65 ton steel hulled tank of a barge barely moves when we are moored on the quiet canal at the bottom of the garden gate.
  • The sounds: of rain on the metal deck, splashes of water against the hull in a storm, the drum vibration of the pumps, whirs and toilets flushing…
  • The light: of water reflected on the wooden ceiling, moonbeams through the portholes, the sunny wheelhouse like a greenhouse…on a chilly winter morning.
  • The wonderful sense of playing hooky all the time. It’s hard to take one self seriously when you see a flotilla of poplar leaves gliding by. I love the pick up and move along sense that you can leave at any time…

my floating office... unusually tidy!

The worst?

  • The aforementioned pumps, which you rely on them for everything- showers, drinking water, toilets…oh, the toilets! (see my blog breaking Toilet Meltdown).
  • Little spots of rust appearing under your nice new paint job. Back to the sandpaper.
  • Finding a good mechanic that won’t mess up the sweet old 120 HP DAF diesel engine.
  • The wonderful sense of playing hooky all the time. It’s hard to take one self seriously when you see a flotilla of poplar leaves gliding by….

And of course, the food questions….

What are your four favorite foods?

  • Calamari
  • Fava beans
  • Soft silky tofu
  • Ricotta cheese

Four recipes you cook all the time?

  • Soup…all kinds, mostly vegetable based.
  • Magret de Canard with a sauce aux vins
  • Clafoutis aux Pruneaux
  • Tartes- savory, sweet, fruit, etc… I love making pie crusts.

Et voila! that wasn’t so hard. So I pass this tag on to a few more e-neighbors and friends: Sweet Lucy of Lyon, Jen de Chez Loulou, Wine making Amy de la Gard in and Betty in the Aveyron.

winter knots... so easily cast off.

P.S. If anyone wants to come and work as an off-season stagiare at Camont for a few weeks over the winter: outside work, inside work, cleaning, cooking, gardening, thinking… just drop me a note with the four things that you want to learn having a French Kitchen Adventure with me in Gascony. Room and board…and a memorable job for your future list.


Mimi said...

You have got it all right, Kate. A flotilla of poplar leaves. Ah, to have the time to notice these things, and appreciate them. The sense of playing hooky all the time. Yes! That's it.

Thank you for that post and all the lovely photos. I look forward to reading what the others have to say.

Betty C. said...

Okay, I'll do this, but maybe not until the weekend. I usually need a little time to think about these longer memes. I'll post the results to Cuisine Quotidienne.

I didn't really understand one thing -- are we supposed to make up our own questions, use yours, or a combination?

Rosa said...

Great meme! Somehow I expected you to list duck among your favorite foods, but maybe it just seems so familiar by now. I have some silky tofu sitting in the fridge and it's not something I cook with very often - any quick suggestions?

Ed Bruske said...

sounds pretty ideal to me

L Vanel said...

Alright Kate, I'm just back from London and for the irst time ever I am going to participate in a meme.

The Passionate Palate said...

Oh Kate, thank you for sharing your lovely world with us. It seems you have created a magical place on that barge and with your maison/ecole. I was reading some SARK books and website today and your enthusiasm for life reminds me of hers. Do you know her?