Taking Off Again

by Kay Baumhefner

In Hopes of a Life Without Critical Regrets —

At least that’s our conscious intention. What with work and ongoing life responsibilities, for decades now, we’ve basically managed to take a holiday of any kind about every 4-5 years. No complaints, just the facts. And even back in the day when we were Montessori teachers with a combined income that allowed us only $7/week for groceries, I am happy to report that we feel we’ve always had a rich life.

Olive Tree.
Olive Tree

But when this year showed up with the possibility to play catch-up on our long postponed desire to resume the travel adventures we had earlier reveled in, we lit up to embrace the renewed opportunity with gusto. Besides the classic college age wanderlust fulfillment, when I was still growing up, it was my hardworking parents, who first started saving for and making travel as high a priority as a good education. So thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. Your example lives on. And besides, it’s always wise advise to keep ones bags packed.

So here we are again, gratefully settled into the deep southwest of France. Bags now unpacked, body clocks adjusted, and our gîte pantry well stocked after a critical foray to the abundant Monday morning farmers’ market in Mirepoix. Even if they didn’t have such a fulfilling marché, what attentive cook could possibly resist a town with such an appealing cornerstone name?


Having overslept after a jet-lagged night, we got there later than planned. So I focused more on first finding the biologique vendors and making our selections, than taking photos of the surrounding splendor. But, yes, we definitely made it to groaning bags weight, before we once again came home to cooking. I hope this gushing on of shots below will also whet your own appetite for life, la joie, and the bounty mother nature keeps offering us all.

Mirepoix Marche Piments.
Sooooo many varieties to choose from!
Truite Bio from Mirepoix Marche.
Not only fresh, but still alive at the market
Mirepoix Cafe Llobet.
Time for lunch on the square!
Mirepoix Cafe Llobet Onion Tart.
Onion tart with green salad mustard vinaigrette
Mirepoix Cafe Llobet Duck Confit.
Duck confit with potatoes and ratatouille
Fanjeaux Picnic Allee.
Other folks pausing for a pique-nique lunch
Our local abbey
Abbaye Wall.
Artful abbey wall inside the cloister
Grape Harvest.
It’s grape harvest time in the Corbières region too!
River Reflection.
Now how about a walk along the river?
Garden Morning Glory.
And then down the path by the communal gardens …
Picnic Lunch.
And simple picnic fare
Keep following the wall …
Vineyards and Olive Groves.
… for more vineyard and olive grove views before it’s already time for dinner
Duck Confit and Potatoes.
More duck confit covered with caramelized onions and apples, and served with crispy potatoes, a big green salad, and a bottle of local rosé, of course. Home away from home-cooked, this time.
Duck Dinner Lagrasse Balcony.
Just take it all in. Good heavens, how did it get so late so soon? But I still want to eat out under the stars.

Bon Appétit! — Kay

Originally published October 5, 2016 on Come Home to Cooking.

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