I gathered friends and neighbors together for our annual holiday fete, one I make easy on myself by asking each guest to bring a favorite dish. It occurred to me as I looked around our very crowded living room, the fire blazing, the tables laden, the mulled wine sending its cinnamon-scented aroma into the air, that the world was present. There was Dalila from Algeria, with her French/Algerian family; there was my brother and my son from the U.S.; there was Lena from Sweden and Therese from Ireland. Louis hails from Spain, Fatima from Algeria, Stanley from kosher Brooklyn. My friend Melahat from Istanbul was a little late, as was Fatma from near Konya, but present they were. And then there was Babette and Jean Lou from Brittany, Jean and Quentin from Normandy beside Betty from England, near Lydia (half Algerian) and Antoine from Paris.
We’ve come from far and near to this small town in this large French region bordered by the sea. We have our lives and our jobs, our traditions and our friends, our cultures and our opinions. And regularly throughout the year we get together as a warm group of friends who taste and celebrate the differences because we all have one thing in common: our sheer appreciation of moments together.
I wish this for everyone in 2017. Happy New Year from us all, à la française.