Saturday, 7 July 2012

Uno Angleso en Prouvènço

Thanks to a happy coming-together of circumstances, I have spent the last 3 years in Provence, living first in the centre of Marseille, then in a rural town of around 40,000 occupants caught somewhere between the rocky bays of the Mediterranean coastline, the salt marshes of the Camargue and the sweeping hills of the Alpilles. I work in Provence, own property, buy my groceries at the local markets, and devote an unreasonably large portion of my day to lunch.

Provence’s location on the Western Mediterranean means that it has always been a melting pot of cultures and nationalities; this only adds to its uniqueness. But, as Peter Mayle observes in Encore Provence:

“The French, it seems to me, strike a happy balance between intimacy and reserve.”

Whilst the Provencal are amongst the most welcoming of people, throwing their doors open to near strangers and insisting that they come in for a glass of wine or a home-cooked meal, a certain degree of distance is always maintained with anyone from outside of the region.

This attitude has its advantages, though. I love the fact that, sometimes, I can sit back in my chair after a meal and simply listen and observe, and no one minds. And whenever I want, I can choose to be a tourist, and take photos of things that are otherwise part of my routine. For many people here, I am, and always will be la petite Anglaise (“the little English girl”). 

This blog is about sharing some of those dinner table observations, and the beauty of Provence, with you. It’s also about sharing recipes, as the Provencal cuisine is unique, healthy, and delicious. Food is a way of life here - something sacred to be respected and worshipped, at least five or six times a day.

You may be only a few miles away, or you may be on the other side of the world; we may know each other well, or you may be a complete estràni (a stranger). Perhaps you’ve been to Provence already, perhaps not. Perhaps you are reading this because you, too, dream of a life where you are awoken by the call of cicadas drifting up into a sky scorched blue-white by the sun.

Whatever your reasons for visiting this blog, please feel free to leave me comments or ask me questions. I love it here, and I want you to love it too.  

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