Saturday, August 7, 2010

Figments of Imagining

There is a planet in the universe they call Earth. Earth has many continents, and one of them is Europe. In Europe is a little patch of hexagonal earth they call France. France has a North and it has a South. The South, sunken and purple with infinity in lavender, has a countryside and a sun that produces all of the glories of a fertile earth. In Summer it is Alive. Chirping, buzzing, churning with life. There is a little town, with a bridge, called Avignon. There is a little villa near that little town. It has a countryside pool in blinding azure, an indoor kitchen, an outdoor kitchen, a massive spa, a shimmering summer sky, a view of fields that merge into a mountainous horizon- and not much else.

And this is the VeryPolishButReallyAussie Hela, Legal Wunderkind and Recent Mushroom in a pink poncho - FishAndChips fan, OtherHalfOfHowie, beautiful, brilliant and more direct than a bullet train to Tokyo. When she kindly invites you to Summer with her very cool dad, her tres stylish mum, her silently SharpKind sister and her husband and their tattooed dolphin of a son, the proper response is: oui.

With daily trips to nearby provencial markets and nothing to do in a stultifying summer heat but eat (salami and fromage) and drink (white wine and vodka), it was stunning in silence - with the occasional patter of Polish parlance.

People tell you they went to China and walked the Great Wall. Or they saw NY and the Empire State. Well, the best thing to do in Provence is to eat. LunchBrunchBreakfastDinner - just keep eating and nodding. This is lunch. Dejeuner. Simple. So simple. But so, so complex!

The Anatomy of the perfect salad starts with a beguiling buffalo mozzarella. Jesus christ. Delicate and almost buttery in its softness, the creaminess is bloody transcendent. White like snow under a hot, thick sun. Cooling and very slightly salty, it takes you away from senses and then promptly delivers you back into them. Normal buffalo Mozzarella is pretty good. Can you even imagine what this one tastes like? Paradise on a Plate.

Paradise with perfect prosciutto, layered and curled and twirled and weaved inside and out, shiny and salty in DeepRichMeat, wrapped around glorious globs of voluptuary as fig. Intricate. Bejeweled. Colourful. Rustic. God. Go, go salivary glands.

Heavy figs. Dizzy Figs. RichSingBurn figs. Figs like little globes of sweetened glory. Bountiful in green-black skin with luminous swathes of gentle ruby pulp - glistening under the cut, refracting light, dancing with it, catching it and throwing it back again. God. As someone with Middle Eastern genealogy, I never had a choice about whether to love figs or not. These were ridiculously sumptuous. Fragrant and soft and willing. So juicy and so delicate, so wonderfully ensconed between flesh and pith. Wonderful, wonderful fig. Tasting like it stole the life of so many vibrant suns. Edenic.

If I look into that image for just long enough I feel like I could fall deeply into it - and get lost there...

When you add to this glorious confusion a random spattering of the sharpest provencial basil I have ever laid lips on. You have simplicity as agony - in hues of pale pink and milky white and glorious green. And Hela arranged it all so perfectly.

Salty meets creamy shakes hands with sweet dances with sharp and then bows to fragrant and goes home with verdant spikes of agile, pungent herb. I've had this salad so many times but never so well. The produce in France is amazing, don't tell them, I don't want to give them an even bigger head. But Glory be to God. This plate will make you a believer.

Perfect ingredients in simple combinations don't need much to make Amazing. Figdumentally figtastical. Enchanting beauty. Love.

I can't believe it's still summer over there. I can't believe i've been reduced to toast and a medical law class to get to. Looking back now, it seems like so long ago. Like a sublime dream that was vivid in memory but could not possibly have ever happened.

Hela! I love you and your ships and sheeps. Thank you to the Family G for taking in the hungry and showing them how the Polish do Bliss.

J'ai Faim and Do Widzenia*

* = courtesy of google, don't be too proud.


Anonymous said...


amanda said...

merci beaucoup, mon amour.