Hope you had a great week.
Wow – where did August go?! Is it just me or did it seem to whizz by? Here in France we’re all gearing up for la rentrée – the return to work and school after the long summer holidays.
You might think everyone would be a bit fed up about la rentrée – but actually it isn’t like that at all, it feels more celebratory than anything. As much as country life revolves around the seasons, life in France also revolves around the rhythms of the year – Christmas, New Year and la Chandeleur (like pancake day) for instance.
So, while la rentrée is about the return to normality, school and work, it’s also about the autumn season being heralded in with its harvest bounty, and about feeling refreshed after a summer break. Museums put on new exhibitions. Restaurants change their menus. It’s time to catch up with friends.
It’s also centred around seasonal food and recipes. This time of the year mushroom picking is all the rage, my neighbours head off into the woods with their baskets to find ceps and mushrooms. You can take them to the pharmacy and they will consult their mushroom books and tell you if it’s safe to eat your earthy treasures or not.
One year I went mushroom picking with some friends, one of whom, an ancient Frenchman, assured everyone he was an expert on fungi and was adamant that the lovely big yellow top mushroom we found was perfectly safe. My British friend and I thought we’d better just check before we cooked them. The pharmacist confirmed they wouldn’t kill anyone but we’d “have the squits for a week”…
Wishing you a very bon weekend and a happy la rentrée wherever you are.
Bisous from France
Photo: My local cake shop, where I can often be found, staring through the window, drooling. This is a Saint Honoré cake, an irresistible classic…
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