HAPPY NEW YEAR – Bonne Année

Bonjour My Friends! As 2019 comes to a close I sit here, writing in the sun of an early winter morning, somewhat astounded at the turns life has taken in the last year, all of them positive. I moved out of On Rue Tatin a few days ago, in a whirlwind of packing, organizing, cleaning, striking things off of lists only to add many more. But it is done and for now, I’m living full-time in Paris. My home is rented out for a year, to a lovely family who are, at this moment, no doubt enjoying breakfast in the kitchen,in front of the fire. I hadn’t planned to rent out the house, but the opportunity literally fell in my lap. I took it. Simultaneously was the deadline for the manuscript of Plat du Jour, a book of luscious recipes and photographs that will be out in a year. As I lived through these two major projects I asked myself, “Why did I plan things this way?” I didn’t. Sometimes, no matter how in control we are, things just happen. And these two were a happy confluence, most likely exactly what was necessary to get them both done. For as I worked around the clock to meet both deadlines, I was distracted from most of the deep emotions that moving out of a home of 27 years implies. Though don’t ask me about the light that streams into my kitchen illuminating its gorgeous island where so many meals have been prepared, nor the moment I gave Fiona’s art supplies (with her permission) to a local school. My heart still hurts. The emotions of moving have swirled around because 1 rue Tatin isn’t just a beautiful home with a world-class-ly wonderful kitchen, but my home, where I raised my two children, where I welcomed so many strangers who, over the course of days and weeks turned into friends, in the kitchen and at the table. It’s the place I settled into a French life, not the only American in town, but the one who ended up coopting its culinary soul. Goodbyes were in order, of course, because while I will visit – it’s an hour from Paris – I won’t make the every Saturday early morning coffee with my darling Baptiste and our group of chefs who remake the culinary world; I’ll miss my neighbor the butcher who, when I went to say goodbye literally got moist eyes, thus proving my theory that his gruff exterior hides a heart of marshmallow. Someday I’ll write about the going away dinner where dishes from Plat du Jour, frozen, were carefully defrosted to make a visual and gustatory banquet, enjoyed by the group of people I’ve lived around for all this time. I had thought to give one of my speeches but when I looked at everyone, their glasses raised, all I could say was, “Je vous adore tous,” I love you all. Nothing more was needed, and a lively time was had by all. I will continue teaching in Paris, to groups who want to assemble there for cooking and instruction. Louviers classes are on sabbatical as I attend to projects here in the city and beyond. After a nearly two-month break in blog posts, I’ll pick them back up and communicate regularly to share thoughts, musings, recipes, and other delights – culinary and otherwise – with you, my faithful friends. Meanwhile, Happy New Year. May 2020 bring you love, tolerance, the ability to put things into perspective and the occasion for many meals with family, friends, and the occasional stranger. I know these are my goals for 2020, and they’re lofty. We’re living in a difficult moment but together we’ll make it. Vive la vie! Fondly, Susan

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