20 January 2010

christmas with m

chezm09my only wish for christmas came true. to be with a family. but it was way more than i wished for – they were so warm. so friendly. so welcoming. like i was truly one of them, even though i was a stranger from the other side of the atlantic.

chezm02first, my friend M took me to her neighbor in an attempt to buy some goat cheese. however, in the winter it’s too cold for the goats to produce milk, so there was no cheese to be bought. there are ways of “faking it” to force the goats to produce cheese in the winter, but this little farm puts the happiness and health of the goats before anything else. and for that, i’ll happily wait until spring to taste good goat cheese!

chezm03in m’s own backyard she has her own little goat as well as a rooster and some hens. aren’t they adorable?

chezm05for the appetizer, a yummy tapenade (pureed olives and olive oil) and oeufs de lompe (nicknamed the poorman’s caviar).

chezm06for dinner, escargot! no need to explain that one. and honestly, i have seen much stranger things in taiwan. multicultural heritage, one point!

and a salmon tourte (a savory meat pie made with puff pastry.)

chezm07cheese course! the thing i always look forward to after the end of the meal. yes. end of meal. bread and cheese is an after dinner thing here.

chezm08ok, there are actually two things i look forward to. can’t forget dessert. macarons and a rich hazelnut chocolate bûche de noel.

end of christmas eve. the next day…

chezm19christmas! it’s the same feeling regardless of what country you’re in: the excitement of everybody gathering around the tree. each person ooohing and aaahing over their gift. the doorbell ringing as guests arrive. the kisses. the hugs. just being around people you love.

chezm12as usual, i like to hang out in the kitchen. apricot and walnut sauce for the turkey. and a salmon apple millefeuille.

chezm13how nice my photos come out always depends on how i am feeling. thus, i usually don’t like making photos of strangers, because i just don’t know them and am not comfortable. but with m’s family, everybody made me feel at home so i had no “i’m the awkward stranger with the camera” moments. and the results? lovely photos!

and for that, i’m not sure i could ever just be paid to take photos of someone or something. i always want to genuinely know the subject, or else, what’s the point? photography can’t be about the money for me, because my photos will always fail if so. the photos are just a side thing – the thing i like most is meeting people and talking to them. or food. i want to taste it, to learn how it’s made, to find the story behind it – the photo is a very small part. although, sometimes i feel people mistake it as being the most important.

chezm14in english, we call the turkey a turkey because originally we believed it to come from, well, turkey.

but in french, it’s called dinde. a contracted version of de inde. which means, from india.

but it all doesn’t matter because the europeans were confused when they came here and started naming stuff. the turkey is actually native to north america. voila! little bit of random information for you.

chezm17hello hello dessert! chocolate cake. candied oranges dipped in chocolate. lemon cream.

chezm20once you’re stuffed, then you sit around and play board games. being an only child, it’s definitely one thing i didn’t get to do too much when i was younger. so i’m happily catching up now!

chezm23i love how much you can learn about a person with a quick glance at their bedroom walls. usually i prefer bookcases, but M has all her books packed up because she’s moving.

chezm24the day after christmas. aka “recovery period from everything you ate the previous two days before.”

chezm25i also adore how it’s quite normal for people to eat the eggs that come from the hens they raise. the eggs are never perfectly shaped or spotless, which just makes them so much more special. new goal: raise my own hens one day. or at least live next to someone who does.

chezm26i’ve also yet to visit a french home where the jam isn’t homemade.

chezm27fontainebleau. even in winter, it was still a beautiful visit.

chezm29it’s a shame i won’t be here in the summer, only because i love summer so much. but i’m going to be so happy in the texas heat…! the day i don’t have to wear socks, i absolutely can’t wait.

chezm30i also can’t wait for the day when i have my own place – a house or an apartment, somewhere in the world – where i can welcome someone as nicely as i’ve been welcomed here in france!

chezm32i know goat cheese and fruit filled macarons doesn’t really go together taste wise… only in terms of visual delight. actually, who knows, they might taste delicious together! one just has to try.

chezm33more cheese. and a rare horizontal photo from me! i’ve definitely taken a liking to vertical photos recently.

that was how i spent my christmas 2009. and it was perfect. i indeed received the best present ever that money can’t buy. it’s a clichéd saying but it’s so true.


x said...

again, jealous. drooling at my desk. glad you had a lovely christmas =)

Kinzie said...

These pictures, as always, are stunning. Nice work, Cathy!

cathy said...

thank you both so much! i hope you guys also had a wonderful christmas :)