Sunday, February 19, 2012

French Food, Friends and An Accordion Concert

Back in August we went wine tasting and picnicking with some friends.  Over lunch our Haitian friend, Ed, told us a hilarious tale of how he became a musician and how (among the many instruments he plays) he learned to play the accordion.

The story goes something like this:  Ed was in high school in Haiti and his father wanted to inspire him to do better in school.  So, he told Ed that if he raised his grades to a certain point he could have whatever he wanted.  So, he brought his dad a catalog and said, "I want this."  He pointed AK47.

His father agreed.  Ed worked hard in school and achieved his father's academic goals.  One day Ed comes home from school and his father gives him a box.  He opens it and finds, not his gun, but an accordion.  His father had decided that an assault weapon was not a good prize and got him an accordion instead.

Quite disappointed, Ed pushed the accordion under his bed and ignored its presence entirely.  After some time he had the following thought: "I'm the only one losing on this deal.  Now I don't have a gun and I don't have an accordion."  So, he pulled it out, got a teacher and learned to play the accordion.

Hearing this story over our picnic, I told him how much I had enjoyed the accordion music in Paris and how no French meal is quite complete without accordion in the background.  I told Ed how much I would love to hear him play.  He said that there was one problem: he didn't have an accordion.  I said that I had access to two!  We have Gana's dad's instrument and my mother has a beautiful accordion.  Unfortunately, none of us play.  He said, "Well, you make me a real French dinner and I'll come play the accordion."

Seizing the moment, I said, "Deal!"  We shook on it, in the presence of our friends as witnesses.  The only stipulation was that those who witnessed the deal also had to be present for the meal.

So, this past Friday we both made good on our promises.

Bouquet Garni for the bouef
My friend KayLee came over early in the day.  We were like two school girls preparing for a tea party!  We rearranged the furniture, set the table properly, cooked up a storm in the kitchen and generally played house.


Champagne with hibiscus flowers

Provencal Tart
Chicken Liver Pate with cornichons 
Red Wine

Le Plat Principal 
Boeuf Bourguignon
Endive salad with roasted beets and goat cheese
More baguettes
Red Wine

Le Fromage
Feta Cheese Puffs
Various Cheeses 
with dried apricots and slivered almonds
More baguettes
White Wine

Le Dessert 
Red Wine Sorbet

Le Café 
Coffee creme 
Chocolate truffles

Le Digestif 

Thank you to Robert and KayLee for the almond champagne
and thank you, Jordan and Kristina for the wild hibiscus flowers in syrup

Provencal Tart, thanks to Kristina
Tomato, olives, roasted peppers, anchovies

Pate and Cornichons
(My first time making pate.  I don't know that I'll ever buy it again.)

Ed, playing his first song of the evening,
between  L'Entrée  and Le Plat Principal 

It just so happened to be a Russian song.
Jordan and I couldn't help it.  We had to dance.

Boeuf Bourguignon
I'm so glad he got an accordion and not a gun.

This was our Valentine's Day celebration a few days late.
What could be more romantic than French food and an accordion serenade.

Even River got a special song!

The rest of the children of the party had a French peasant's picnic upstairs. Homemade French bread, cheese, a little pot of jam, pastries and iced tea. When they had feasted they went downstairs for a movie and popcorn!

Cheese course.  Thank you, Nina for the delicious cheese puffs!
We laughed and told stories.  Dinner lasted about five hours.

Ed and Nina
Robert and River

As if the weather somehow understood our romantic and nostalgic mood, Saturday morning was gorgeous. We sat on the back porch sipping coffee, eating leftover bread and cheese, cuddling the baby and counting our blessings--namely our wonderful friends who know how to have fun!

Special thank you to my mom, whose accordion made it all possible.


Robert said...

Thank you all for the wonderful dinner and entertainment! If someone knows how to play the ukelele, we'll make a Hawaiian dinner!

Gombojav Tribe said...

I bet Jordan or Ed could! Between the two of them they play just about everything! Luau at your house! :-)

Gombojav Tribe said...

I bet Jordan or Ed could! Between the two of them they play just about everything! Luau at your house! :-)