"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gather then give (with a giveaway)

"True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by." ~ E.S. Bouton

I've been gathering lately. I've never realized how much of a collector I truly am. But then again, I realize we all are. By the photos we keep, the collection of music we listen to, the books on our shelves, the stories we tell (or the bad jokes), the recipes in our boxes, the people we surround ourselves with, or have programmed into our phones, the art on our walls, the teas in our cupboard, the food we make, the trinkets we scavenge, the blogs on our blogroll... We are all gatherers---curators perhaps, of our own life's museum.

Roasted red,yellow and orange peppers, peeled and dressed with
garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt...
"Gathering is peculiar because you see nothing but what you're looking for." ~ Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

As I add new chapters to my own collection, I surprise myself. It's been 2 1/2 weeks since we've been back from France, and I find myself looking for her in different corners of my days. In the French plates I've brought home, in the meals I make and eat, at the grocery stores that I shop in, I seek to gather whatever pieces of France I can find. And in this vein, I had decided a few days after we returned, to host a French dinner party. I wanted so much to relive and give what I had experienced. I believe the imprints of what we've collected last longer this way.

On July 4th, we had gathered a few of our new friends and neighbors to share a little piece of France with us. I spent three days hunting recipes and foods that I had loved. I even met a French man (from Orléans no less) at Whole Foods working behind the charcuterie counter! Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so. Anyway, he helped me find the closest things to French jambon, pâté, and saucisson. And of course there was wine, cheeses, French bread, fig and olive tapenade on goat cheese, saumon fumé, rice salad niçoise, olives, roasted red peppers, roasted pork loin served cold with dijon moutarde.

The bird plate, a thrift find at the Orléans flea market, served saumon fumé.
And I had every intention of taking more pictures, but as the guests arrived, the camera was soon forgotten in the midst of the kitchen. But I will tell you it was all that I had imagined it to be. The last thing I served was this cake recipe called Strawberry Savarin. A light, flaky, and buttery cake, that was more like a larger bundt version of a croissant. I made the strawberry-rhubarb syrup and served it with strawberries and blueberries. Inhaling the fragrance of this cake was like walking into a patisserie, of which every moment I enjoyed.

And so yesterday, as I wrote and collected my thoughts, I sat down to the Montagne de Jade tea and one last piece of this cake (which disappeared in a day:), and thought of you...

A piece of France intended for you...

Marie Antoinette Thé from Ladureé in Paris, France. This giveaway is for black tea drinkers, taste collectors, collectors of anything French, or gatherers of any kind...

To enter just leave me a comment about something that you love to collect or gather, tangible or not... I will select a winner at random next Friday...

Cheers to all of you this weekend...



  1. what a tasty spread! i have a collection of shells and sand from every beach i've ever visited and every letter my oldest friend has ever written me (we still correspond by snail mail), and books, lots and lots of books.

  2. I have a couple of friends visiting Paris right now and I want to cry every day - both with joy for them and a little jealousy for me.

    Oh collections...I have more than I realize. More than anything I collect books, lots of em. And wool. And vintage pyrex, plates, mugs, dishes...My husband is not a collector, but he is very understanding.

  3. How sweet and exciting of you MJ to share more of France with us, thank you!
    I am a collector, a collector not only of stuff, but of family history which I think is most important. I am the sister, wife, daughter, and now grandmother who knows all the family history and shares it. I have always thought it was important, not only to those who are here now, but also for those yet to come.

  4. Since we've moved a lot, my tangible collections always dwindle instead of grow...but I suppose I also collect family stories. I have some whoppers and love to hear the retelling from different family members' various views; it's fascinating!

    Your french dinner party sounded so lovely and such fun! Oooooh that cake; I could almost taste the strawberries. Thanks for thinking of us; I am certainly a tea collector too!

  5. As a child, I had a bag collection. It wasn't anything spectacular, mostly bags from stores... and a few from Europe where my friends had traveled. My favorite, the one and only I still have, was from brazil. a simple brown paper bag with some herbs held on by a red wax envelope seal. It was from my best friend, Julia. We have been friends for 33 years now.

    While I was on the hunt for the perfect rooster for my kitchen, other people thought I collected roosters and finally had to part with them at a yard sale a few years ago.

    Today, I collect memories, words, moments shot through my camera.

    btw, now that it's july, it's time for us to get together!
    best, Jules

  6. Images, yes - I am an avid collector! Shells, stones, feathers too.

    I love the bird plate - so sweet! What an amazing French feast you laid out!


  7. I must admit, I'm more of purger than a collector. The cake looks delightful! Yum yum!

  8. Yes I collect and haul and I try to purge-oh well. What a feast! It all looks so wonderful. I put your beautiful post card in my studio. Thanks for the sweet inspiration.

  9. Oh my what a beautiful feast. I collect and schlep and I try to purge-oh well. I put your beautiful post card up in my studio. Thanks for the sweet inspiration!

  10. I love collecting teapots and photos of good memories (except im terrible at getting them off the camera and developing them)
    mermont84 at yahoo.com

  11. Gathering, such a wonderful word, such a wonderful act. Your food looks amazing! What a fun gathering to attend. We are kinda in our own gathering mode lately finding and displaying special treasures. It is so fun

  12. Oh, your feast looks so lovely. France (and its food) has a way of settling permanently into your soul, doesn't it?

    I collect miniatures; as a child, I was always fascinated by tiny details. My Wee Forest Folk collection is very special to me.

    What a generous giveaway. Have a beautiful week!

  13. Well....I'm not a tea drinker.
    BUT...I had to chime in and say I really love love love love your photos! And I am SO impressed at the beautiful plates of deliciousness that you created!
    Now if you had been giving away that bird plate, I would have passed out from excitement. ; )

  14. I collect journals, among other things. But they're a constant reminder of writing everything down and not forgetting anything. I sometimes will pore through them at a later date and wonder - what was I thinking?! And laugh.


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw