The Anglophones who live full-time or most of the year in Daglan are feeling pretty chuffed today. And well we might. Yesterday’s lunch for the Club de l’Amitié (Friendship Club) was a major success, and it was all planned, prepared and served by those of us whose first language is English. We even cleaned up the Salle des Fêtes afterward.
Initially, the event had its doubters — such as, well, me. As I wrote in my previous posting:
I confess that I had my doubts from the start. I figured that the French members of the club (the majority, of course) would be less than thrilled by the thought of being served English food. (Eggs and chips? Over-cooked cabbage?) But I stand corrected — apparently, this is going to be quite an event.
As it turned out, everything went swimmingly, the result of several planning meetings, lots of phone calls and visits, careful shopping, lots of preparation, and those familiar Anglophone characteristics, joie de vivre and savoir faire.
On both Saturday and yesterday, lots of work was involved. Some of the cooking was done in the homes of various members, and some was done at the Salles des Fêtes itself. Everyone chipped in, including yours truly, who peeled potatoes and carrots for two hours on Saturday. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the some of the prep and cooking:
My wife Jan was one of two club members charged with making a total of 64 individual portions of English trifle, complete with Cointreau-soaked sponge on the bottom. Here’s Jan’s contribution on our kitchen counter on Sunday morning:
A lot of work went into the set-up of the tables, chairs, place settings and decorations for the dining hall. There was lots of red, white and blue, with bunting hanging from the rafters and various flags — including Canada’s, we’re happy to say — located around the room, like this:
All the tables were decorated in red, white and blue; menus were rolled and wrapped in ribbon, and the menus and small vases of flowers were placed on the tables. It looked impressive:
And then came the food. We began with bubbly wine with a frozen raspberry in each glass; then came carrot soup; smoked mackerel pâté; beef and carrot stew cooked with Guinness, and served with a square of puff pastry and a heap of mashed potatoes; then the individual portions of trifle; then a selection of three English cheeses served with English biscuits; and then coffee served with After Eight mints. Oh yes, and lots of red wine from Bordeaux throughout the meal, plus J & B scotch served with the coffee, for those who wanted. (Yes, I did.)
After several hours, the hall began to clear. And as you can tell from the smiling faces, people were leaving happy:
A full day later, I think we’ve all recovered. And so now, in the late afternoon of Monday, it’s time to drive up to Castelnaud, have a coffee at La Plage, and catch some rays. Yes, the sun is shining on the Greater Daglan Area.