Saturday, February 17, 2007

Arrival at Kate Hill's Kitchen in Gascony

The train left Lyon at a quarter to three on Friday afternoon. As the sun was setting, the pink sky pulled with it the silhouettes of trees black on the landscape, and they flowed by like paper cut-outs along the horizon. I sat mesmerized by the view of the splendor through the window. I slipped by TGV into Southwest France from the brisk streets and hustle bustle of Lyon with one thing in mind - to see Kate, and Pim. They met me at the station. I was a bit afraid and tried to pin my hair back and thought of lipstick when I stepped down on the platform. I paused and stood still as the wave of travelers went on their way. Pim hit me first, with a wide smile and open arms. Her gorgeous elocution pierced through my shell in a whisper as she gave me a warm hug and said, 'So great to meet you'. A burst of joy. Kate then enveloped me in her arms and they swept me out to the white country car and into the night.

I was sitting in the back seat and wisps of bacon smells were tickling my nose. I said - Your car smells like bacon! Kate threw her head back in a wide open laugh as Pim giggled and the car barreled between trees lit by the headlights in the country night. You see, Kate has a new puppy she has christened - Bacon. My eyes, having adjusted to the dark, saw that the back seat was lined with a blanket. But it didn't smell of dog. Bacon is just a new puppy and hasn't been in the car much since he arrived to live with Kate.

They each took one of my bags and I was led into the house. The first thing that struck me was the fire. A huge chimney along one side had a well seasoned log fire burning, the smells and sounds of crackling, radiating stories of grilled meats.

Kate scored the magrets and Pim poured me a glass of local wine. Where to begin. Where to start. Bundling bustling about. Duck cracklings in fat and hearty potatoes.

My eyes were drawn to the stoves. Burners galore, enough to really do some cooking, and then up swept my gaze, to the walls and the space, cavernous and cozy at once.

But then the magrets were placed on the fire where they sizzled and spit. Simply sliced and served with potatoes and a winter salad, it was enough.

Sitting in Kate's kitchen, we ate and drank by the fire. I wanted to know more and felt that hard yearning to encapsulate them both which was not possible in an evening. But we had given it a good start.

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Blogger Lori in PA said...

An intriguing start to what I suspect is a very good story. More, please!

12:20 PM, February 18, 2007  
Anonymous bea at La tartine gourmande said...

It is like the start of a good novel or short story! This is a real treat Lucy!

3:23 PM, February 18, 2007  
Blogger franchini said...

I couldn't agree more with Lori and Bea.....I'm really looking forward to the next instalment and the photos.

6:52 PM, February 18, 2007  
Blogger misschrisc said...

Oh wow I felt like I was right there! Photos !?!

9:05 PM, February 19, 2007  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

mmm...the smell of bacon is my favorite!

2:47 AM, February 20, 2007  
Blogger Jann said...

What a perfect vision you created in my head-would enjoy seeing photos of this adventure! i know we will all be amazed!

6:27 PM, February 20, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

I finally got some photos up, and will finish posting about our weekend at Kate's during the week!

9:54 PM, February 20, 2007  
Blogger Italian Chef said...

I just love "Magret"! I like to render down the fat trimmings and use the "Cracklings" to garnish a frisee salad with.

4:56 PM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Italian Chef said...

Lucy, I woke up this morning reminded of once watching the late Chef Jean louis Palladin cook magret in the fireplace at his home in Mclean virginia. So, seeing the photos of Kate's kitchen must have brought this to mind. I remember, While I worked at "Pesce" a Washington,D.C seafood bistro, The Owner Regine Palladin would regale us with very funny stories of her and Jean Louis in France. She was from Gascony. Even though we were a seafood Bistro we would make duck,veal,chicken stocks as well.Whenever we got in the ducks we would feast on the small bits pulled from the roasted carcasses and listen to Madam Regine's stories. Those were great day's.

6:37 PM, February 25, 2007  
Blogger Mimi said...

How did I miss this post! What fun to be in a real French kitchen with fellow food lovers!

4:59 PM, March 02, 2007  

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