16 June 2009

Another indoor barbecue

We woke up to gray skies and showers yesterday, and during the morning it rained pretty hard off and on. That was because we had planned to have a barbecue with some friends from Belgium, Martine (Ladybird) and Christian. We were able to sit out on the deck to have our apéritifs, but it was too damp and windy for us to be able to eat outdoors.

So we were forced to move our barbecue indoors once again. We're getting used to that necessity. For lunch, I made some champignons à la grecque. I'll post a recipe later. Walt made a big grated carrot salad and a pear-amandine tart. We also had pasta with our radish-greens pesto. Martine and Christian brought some steaks, which we cooked in a pan on the stove instead of over the wood fire we had envisioned.

We had a really good time. Martine's native language is Flemish, but she is perfectly fluent in French and in English. Christian's native language is French — he's a native of Brussels. He speaks some Flemish and English too. We spoke French at lunch, which started at noon and ended with dessert, coffee, and digestifs at 4:30 or so.

We talked a lot about the political and linguistic situation in Belgium, which seems more and more to be a country divided along language lines. There are a lot of hard-core Flemish activists who want to ban French from their part of the country, which is the west and north. A lot of the Wallons, the French speaking Belgians in the south and east, say when polled that they wouldn't mind being part of France. Brussels is a world apart. It's more or less a French speaking enclave that is now surrounded by Flemish-speaking suburbs.

Anyway, that's probably a pretty superficial view of the situation. I've been to Belgium a few times, but years ago, and I'm certainly no expert.

Christian, especially, really liked our neighbors the Guerriers' red wine made with the local Côt grapes. That's Malbec outside the Loire Valley, except in the Cahors area where it's called Auxerrois. It's all the same grape. Christian and Martine plan to come back to Saint-Aignan on Thursday so we can go talk to Jean-Noël and Chantal Guerrier, taste some more wines, and buy some.

OK, this morning it's off to get a haircut at Mme Barbier's salon de coiffure. No time to dilly-dally. The pictures in this post are some more I took at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe on Saturday.


  1. Great photos. Sorry you had to move your grilling inside! I'll bet that pear amandine tart was deeeelissshhh! And everything else!

  2. I only know of Belgium through films (2 nights ago I watched "In Bruges") but all the Belgium natives I have met are very, very nice. It is too bad they have those problems. It must be intense for Jacques Brel to have written and sang a song about it.
    Yet I doubt Jacques Brel would like the idea of having Belgium going to France, unless they could do something like Luxembourg or Andorra, Monaco.

  3. Hi Nadège, I read Maureen Dowd's column in last Sunday's NYT explaining the effect of the transition to digital TV on the make-up business. I had no idea, and now I understand your earlier comment.


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