A Year To Be Thankful

Hello Friends, Campers, and lovers of the Culinary Arts!

Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire River Valley, France.

Fall has passed and winter is upon us here in North-West France. The skies are gray with intermittent sunshine, weak as it is, and the leaves have fallen from the trees. Nature is beginning its’ long sleep, and we humans are shuttered into our homes with the fireplaces and wood stoves blazing away.

This California girl, who lived with forced air heating that was only necessary for about two months of the year, is cold! In the countryside where I live, there is no gas line that runs to your house from the street. There is only bottled gas to run your stove and paraffin heaters or wood burning stoves for room heat. There are oil-fueled boilers that run cast iron, water-filled radiators in many homes, and someday I hope to have a system like that. But in the meantime, I wear my Petzle head-lamp to go outside to get more wood and to find my way upstairs to bed each night.  I feel very much like I am camping. And in many ways I am! Except I have a roof over my head and not a tent. Here is a picture of that roof, my house, from the park and lake across the street that I took today on my daily walk around the lake:

This Thursday as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, I will be at my American friend Jonathan’s house cooking up a French version of Thanksgiving dinner for friends. There will be turkey, dressing, a salad of arugula from my garden which, after tonight will be no more as the temperature will drop below freezing, Butternut squash soup, and my specialty pear tart for dessert. I am so very grateful for the friends I have made here in the past year. Even though some of us may not be able to be with our families for the holidays, we can always be with our friends and enjoy the gifts of the season. Here is a pic of my dear friend Sheila and I during a recent visit:

Tonight as I lit the fireplace in the dining room I remembered many nights in Big Sur or Pescadero when I was hovering fireside dressed in my North Face parka, (I am wearing it now as I write this) preparing my dinner over an open flame. I was cold and I didn’t have the comforts of home, yet I learned that being comfortable isn’t necessarily the most important thing in life. It’s more important to feel the elements and be a part of the natural world. Sometimes it’s colder than we might like it to be and sometimes too hot. But it’s all transitory. The only constant is change, and every day is different than the one before, if only you will walk outside and observe the natural world. Camping is a great way to do this and one that, if you don’t already live in the country as I do, is a wonderful respite from the workaday world. There is so much to see and experience and to be thankful for! For the winter sky, the loons on the lake, the crisp air on our cheeks and of course, good friends and family to enjoy it all with, and We Gourmet Girls wish you all a season of gratitude and giving and send our love and support to all of the victims of the recent fires throughout our beloved California.

Go outside! Even if it’s cold! And breathe!

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

P.S. from Lindsey: As avid campers we love REI‘s #optoutside for Black Friday. Of course, as small business owners we also love Small Business Saturday! Sales on Amazon are going well, but all small business owners do much better from direct orders. So in celebration of Small Business Saturday here’s a free shipping code: SHIP4FREE  Good for use anytime on our website, www.gourmetgirlsonfire.com! Bon Appétit!

The Riverolle in Mouliherne across the road from Le Petit Saint Barnabé.

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