Celebrating Bastille Day is de rigeur in our family, my mother is French. Bastille Day lunch started at 2pm stretching out to over an eight and a half hours stomach swelling, thigh expanding sitting later. The celebration officially ended after the last guest tripped over the threshold, some time after eleven o’clock in the evening. Perhaps I may not be the the only person nursing 50 shades of hangover grey. Though not quite on the scale of ‘Babette’s Feast,’ we did, however, dine extremely well. Anorexics make dreadful dining companions, so it is with eternal gratitude that my friends are not only discerning cooks, but discerning of palate, and hearty of appetite. We were all artists at the table. It is good to be amongst one’s tribe. An appreciation and respect for all things culinary, is part of our biology. My mother reads recipes from morning till night, and is keen and forever curious to concoct something new; creativity is inherent in our family. Creativity is like an mountain range, with peaks and troughs, hence meringues are are highly symbolic and thus merited a well deserved place on the dessert menu. A second batch of meringues were made after the first lot collapsed on me, as I said earlier, creativity is like an…. Table turret embellishments, sketched after Daumier’s “La République” sketch of 1848 (Oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France) decorated the dinning table, together with jugs stuffed with garden weeds both blue, white, and red, and French flags sticky taped on blue drinking straws. In the final scene of ‘Babette’s Feast’ (a film based on Karen Blixen’s novel about a woman who cooks a superlative meal paid for by a lottery win), Babette reveals the life affirming dinner cost her her entire lottery winnings. Penniless again, Martina tells Babette:
Martina: Now you’ll be poor for the rest of your life.
Babette: An artist is never poor.
Well, I’ll drink to that. ‘An artist is never poor.’ Happy Bastille Day.