Meals are our garden… & a Boursin, pea & ham clafoutis

I was having this conversation recently with a friend, we
were talking about moods. Indeed with the unpredictability of life, the
overload of “priorities”, the exhaustion, I have found it challenging to find
the time and focus for the self-care required to feel level and in harmony with
myself.  In short, I get moody. I feel
up, I feel down, the sea inside seems to constantly be rocking the boat, and I
often long for more smooth sailing.
Then I realized I do have one safe harbor, a place and time
where I am (mostly) able to leave the moodiness at the door, and be at peace,
for the duration of a meal: our table. 
As I was trying to describe it to my friend and to myself, it
occurred to me that our meals are a kind of peaceful garden we enter two or
three times a day. Away from the chaos of the world and modern lives, as we sit
down together, we open a thick wooden gate and step into a haven, an oasis, a lovely
garden, made only for our enjoyment of each other, of ourselves, of the senses,
of the present moment.  In this sense,
our meals nourish much more than our bodies.  There’s definitely something of a sacred
ritual about it.
When I’m down, I must remember to feel gratitude for this
garden in our lives. It sure helps to know I always come back to it, no matter
what storms I’m facing elsewhere. When all is said and done, these will be the
moments I value the most.
Through the blog, I encounter more and more people, and moms
in particular, who do not just want their family to “eat healthy”, but are
seeking something more profound than that, something they often sense or perceive in the French or
European food culture. A positive association to food, a way of life even. And
I think what they want is that vision of the family meal.
But for it to work, there has to be a sort of unwritten, tacit “contract”
between family members, a common family vision
and understanding of the meal as a special place and time.
Sometimes in families, everyone is not on the same page.
Real life gets in the way, and depending on their relationship to food growing
up, some might view the meal as something to get over with, an obligation of
sorts, a waste of time even.
And perhaps a way to change that, is to start a family conversation,
and share a vision of the meal as something different, as something more than just eating, as that – and get
ready for some MAJOR corniness here and a potential spike in blood sugar 😉
–  “magical garden of togetherness” (I am
laughing as I write this, it sounds so corny!! I couldn’t resist!)
But seriously, however you word it, whatever metaphor works
for your family, what I’m saying is: meals are an opportunity for connection,
and those can be hard to come by in our busy lives. If everyone in the family starts
to think of meals as such, you may just… have yourself a garden.
I brought back from France this lovely little cookbook of “Mini-Cocottes” recipes, from which I’ll be sharing a lot more very soon. This one was so easy and tasty, makes for a lovely lunch. And it’s also one a toddler or child can help make, by rinsing the peas, whisking the boursin and eggs/cream/milk together, washing the endives, cutting up the ham with hands or child-safe knife.
Wishing you a wonderful, flavorful week 🙂




4 thoughts on “Meals are our garden… & a Boursin, pea & ham clafoutis

  1. I just received 4 mini-cocottes for Christmas this year. I look forward to more recipes I can use them for! Unfortunately this one won't work (sigh), no eggs for Jacob! Too bad as it looks delicious.

  2. Beautiful! I can't wait to try this one! Would it be possible to make in one dish rather than several ramekins?

    1. Hi Sarika, yes, I don't see why not, but you'll have to experiment with cooking time depending on the size of your baking dish. Thanks for coming by 🙂

  3. What a great recipe!!! I have many mini-cocottes, and I can't wait to see more recipes from your blog.

    Btw, I am so glad I met you at Leela & Aran's workshop because it led me to your lovely blog here. 🙂

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