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April 11, 2011

Lazy Sundays

Sundays can be the worst day of the week for a lonely American in small-town France. The few shops and bakeries that deign to open on the Day of Rest have all closed their doors by noon, so if you've slept in you're pretty much SOL. The situation can get pretty dire if you were frolicking all day on Saturday only to awake on Sunday and find you have nothing but condiments (and no baguette to put them on).  That is, of course, unless you're lucky enough to be invited to join a French family for their weekly ritual of a gigantic lunch and post-lunch relaxation.

The dedication to family life is one of the things I love most about France. The 35-hour work week and the two-hour lunch breaks might seem to us like evidence of laziness, but their purpose is to allow people more time with their families. And on Sundays, there's literally nothing to do but just enjoy each others' company. I hope you like each other!

The Dude and I spent a wonderful weekend with fellow Broad Abroad Emily and her charming French boyfriend Nicolas at his apartment in Chatillon-sur-Seine. After some strolling and museum-ing and lots and lots of cooking on Saturday, on Sunday we headed to Nicolas' family home in Froidvent. His parents Bruno and Françoise prepared a delightful "French tagine" of chicken, lamb and potatoes, followed by a cheese course (bien sûr) and a tarte tatin.

Our hosts Emily and Nicolas, the latter of whom admitted to washing his mouth out with chocolate after eating peanut butter.

After the meal we decided to "profiter" from the glorious weather and enjoy coffee and chocolates en plein air. No one was in a hurry to check things off their list or run their errands--they couldn't if they wanted to. We were content just to talk, inhale the scent of pear blossom, enjoy the breeze, and listen to the snores of Tao, the Jack Russell terrier.


Tasty Sunday Lunch Recipe

Françoise started out our meal with a delicious and surprising avocado-cucumber-kiwi salad. I'm totally guessing on the proportions here, but I'm sure you can easily add a bit of this or that to get it tasting the way that pleases you.

-1 part cucumbers, diced
-1 part avocado, diced
-1 part kiwi, diced
-Mustard vinaigrette (1/4 cup white-wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 3/4 cup oil... whisk together everything but the oil, then add the oil slowly until it emulsifies)

Combine cucumbers, avocado and kiwi into a bowl. Add enough vinaigrette to coat all ingredients. Toss gently. Refrigerate until served.


  1. FanTAStic! I can't wait to try that recipe.

  2. that's what she said! :) just practicing after your last blog post...

  3. When I first moved to France, I would get all fidgety on Sundays because there was nothing to do. Now, I LOVE Sundays....because there's nothing to do. You're recipe will be on my table tomorrow night! Thanks Neenuh

  4. I gave the recipe a try tonight using one large cucumber, five kiwis and two avocados to serve three people (but it could have served four comfortably as an appetizer). The proportions seemed right, but my taste testers said they would have liked a bit more avocado.

    Party on.