Thursday, November 02, 2006


A saucisse à cuire from the hills of the Beaujolais.

The harvest wanes, and the last few bright spurts of color are seen.
Root vegetables are beginning to find their place in the basket near the kitchen. The colors there are naturally beginning to settle into warm muted soothing shades. We'll be turning on the heat this week, and pulling out the blankets. Adjusting to the drop in temperature, the fitted floor creaks in a different way when we walk through the house. We warm local wine with cinnamon, cloves, and juniper berries. The sound of autumn leaves blowing through the square adds an acoustical crunch to the city's bumping rhythms. The city of Lyon churns and turns - inside.

Things bubble and steam. The sausage is an institution here in Lyon. Everywhere we look, the preserved meats at various stages of maturity seem to call to us. At Les Halles, there is a brisk rise in sale of the truffled or pistachio laced Beaujolais saucisson-a-cuire, which will be simmered to a plump perfection before being sliced with steaming potatoes at family tables. The meat sellers coming down from the mountains call out to us to notice their fresh Diots de Savoie, a perfect addition to hearty soups. Dried and peppered sausages from the Auvergne and local rosettes sliced thin as paper are passed around at the city cafes during aperetif hour. Indeed Lyon's love of sausage seems present almost everywhere, as is the product of the hunt from the hills and plains stretching from Lyon into Burgundy. They are fattening complacent birds for festivals to come, but they are also bringing tales from the wilderness to the table. This month many sausage and hunting stories linger, just waiting to be plucked from the air as the season unfolds.

We have a few long awaited visitors coming this month. I'm taking every opportunity I can to squirrel away bits and pieces of goodies here and there to prepare for the various receptions that will take place from here on out this year. Having homemade apéro snacks assembled with puff pastry, nut mixes seasoned with a special house recipe, carefully prepared in advance and ready to pop into the oven will allow me to concentrate. I can receive family and friends well prepared to tune in to the central courses of the meals I will serve while they're here, creating a rich backdrop to the amity we share.

Thanksgiving preparations, never simple here in France, will begin to take place as early as next week. Talking to my suppliers well in advance ensures that my special holiday is noted in their schedule. My French family has embraced the opportunity to gather together in Lyon a week after the Beaujolais Nouveau arrives. Over the years they have realized the significance and emphasis on family that this imported holiday allows, and they have adopted it readily. With Loic's siblings growing into their adult responsibilities and setting patterns and traditions of their own, we are growing to appreciate the opportunity to for this happy yearly windfall, a time to get together and enjoy each other.

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Blogger wheresmymind said...

That sausage looks 100% incredible! My mouth is watering here :D

4:45 PM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger David said...

what day did you say you wanted us guests to arrive for your Thanksgiving? It sure looks more promising then the scrawny turkey I'm likely to find...

11:54 AM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger Katie said...

The second best part about having a house full of family and friends it all of the delectable treats one gets to buy that normally one wouldn't...or shouldn't because we eat it all ourselves. (The first best is obvious)

5:54 PM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger Christine said...

What a beautiful tribute to the season, bounty of your region and family gatherings.

3:52 AM, November 04, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Jeff, that sausage did taste 100% incredible. Some people just make better sausage than others. We have squirreled away this supplier's information.

David, send me an e-mail and we'll find a couch for you to sleep on. We do the same desserts every year, which is pretty lame. We could use a pastry chef to help liven things up for the last course.

Katie, you are so right. One of the great reasons I love to schedule guests to come, in addition to giving me some inspiration to clean the house!

Christine, thanks for your comment!

5:40 PM, November 04, 2006  

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