In our first six months in the Vendee, we lived near a beautiful abbey called the Prieurie de Grammont. Sitting like a romantic cube in a vast stretch of farmland, the abbey is built of stacked golden sandstone and oozes an air of mystery in the off-season. There are few windows and the sun-bleached doors are firmly shut for most of the year. Several times a week we took our dogs to run around in the garden, and to walk the dirt roads slicing through surrounding fields for some thorough exercise. We loved it, savoring the wind in our faces and snoots, and relishing the changing colors of farm life.

Let’s get one thing straight. The difference in French and US culture and cuisine between the two ways of making this delicious soup is so severe, it ought to be two different things, with two different names. When my friend Kelley and I went to Paris a few years ago, she was thrilled to find it on the menu and horrified by it not being at all what she had expected.

So today I’d like to invite you to my kitchen for a bit of show and tell. I’ll show you how to make French Onion Soup, and tell you why it’s so very different from the kind served up in the States. Ready?

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Life and the people who live it –that’s any and all of us– consists of ups and downs. I first started to grasp this through reading books by authors like Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, and others whose novels I adored. Any time I read their novels, I never wanted them to end. I was curious about the characters they’d created, finding myself thinking about them long after the last page was devoured. In truth, I wanted the stories to keep going, or to be revisited some time later for another glimpse of what had been happening since ‘the end’. And I vowed to, someday, write such a story and invent a village of my own.

This is a super simple dish to make, especially when you are a busy writer who still wants to eat well! There is no measuring anything. Use herbs to your discretion and taste. I like this dish mildly spicy. It takes less than 30 minutes prep to table.

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It’s been a while since my last post and in fact, it’s long whiles between posts now. The reason for this is that I prefer to be too busy writing, than to write blog posts. Is that wrong? To be completely honest, I’m exhausted powering through all that needs to be learned and all that is required for the launch of my novel and actually, given the choice, I’d prefer to grab my notebooks and sit under a tree somewhere, or find a quiet beach. Or maybe just sleep. For two months.

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