10 July 2008

The last meal...

Onion soup ready to go in the oven for melting and browning

... on the old stove. It was onion soup. I had some beef broth that I made a couple of days ago when I was cooking meat to make a Mexican shredded beef dish with tomatoes and hot peppers. So to make soup I bought 1½ lbs. of onions, sliced them up, and cooked them in butter on low heat for about an hour. Then I poured on the broth and voilà, it was soupe à l'oignon.

Soupe à l'oignon gratinée

Gratinée. That is, with what we call "dead bread" and some grated Emmental cheese. We save stale bread to make crumbs, bread pudding, or, in this case, onion soup with bread and melted cheese on top.

Callie trying to figure out what is going on
It was a good meal to cook with the old stove, one last time. We had to eat, after all. We had spent the morning cutting back blackberry brambles that were threatening to pull down our light-weight fence in the far corner of the back yard. My arms are all scratched up.

Looking from the vineyard into our back yard
— now you can see in because the brambles are gone

Take my word for it, the blackberry brambles were up to the top, and growing over, this fence, which you can hardly see in the picture. I cut a lot of them with limb loppers and pruning shears. Then Walt got the big weed-eater working with the heavy-duty blade, not the string thing, attached, and he ran through a lot of blackberries and other weeds in short order.

Resting on the deck after a hard day
whacking blackberry brambles

Anyway, the stove is pulled out, a microwave meal is planned for lunchtime, and the new stove is supposed to be delivered this afternoon. We have bought bottles of butane, the flexible tubing to connect one bottle to the stove, and we are ready. Tomorrow I will cook something in a frying pan on a gas burner, just to try it out.

Eiffel Tower shadows on the living room wall

The weather was great yesterday. Today is supposed to be sunny and even hot, but rain is coming in tonight. Tomorrow, we will see. It will be showery, I expect. The garden can use the water. Walt has to cut the grass today, in advance of the rain. We love summer, but there's a lot of work that has to be done while the weather is good.


  1. Dear Ken and Walt,
    I follow your blog with interest.
    Hope you ar protected against tenanus with those scratched arms.
    Best wishes,

  2. When we bought our house the blackberries were taller than me in our backyard.

  3. PS I agree with C-H and Susan - go back to Word Verification.

  4. Glad to see you relaxing, Ken.

    I read your post at 3 a.m. Hard to get back to normal after weeks in a rehab centre. Staff and I would look at your gorgeous meals and feel so deprived. Well, I was home now and I needed your Onion Soup stat. Had to use Campbell's Beef Broth and Swiss Cheese but it turned out great and the smell was heavenly. I called Night Staff to brag. They clicked on Living the life...We had a good laugh at the title. They hoped it wouldn't be my "last meal". I slept like a log from 4 to 9. Thanks Ken. You're the best remedy for a hungry insomniac across the ocean.

  5. Dang... I knew there was somthing missing on my recent trip to France... soupe a l'oignon. Guess I've got to return soon! And it will be soupe a l'oignon on the new stove. Enjoy!

  6. Funny how I am not so fond of soupe à l'oignon. Maybe it is because I haven't tasted yours ;)
    Am currently in Normandy with buckets of rain :(

  7. Hi Claude, it's pouring rain here in Saint-Aignan as well. Today would have been a good chilly day for onion soup. K.


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