One of the major differences ‘living a simple life’ in the
South of France is the amount of time spent on food
preparation. Seasonal fare, if it is to be relished, must
be fresh and utilised in its prime. It is not enough to just
take pleasure in picking up chestnuts or finding mushrooms,
a great deal of time is dedicated to their culinary uses and
the menu revolves around ‘daily offerings from nature’.
It is not unusual to spend hours (as I am today) peeling
chestnuts (after boiling them to loosen their shell and skin)
to make a puree (which will accompany duck confit) and then
grinding and drying a ‘powder’ to make a gateau. Anything
harvested has to be quickly converted into a delicious meal
before its essence is lost; this is what money can’t buy
– a combination of local knowledge or experience, access to
the ‘secret places’ and then the dedication and willingness
to sit patiently for hours instead of the convenience of buying
‘off the shelf’.
Nothing can replace the satisfaction of meeting one of life’s
basic needs without the need to ‘work for money in order to
exchange it’. This is direct contact with ‘source’ – all that
nature provides is cherished.