Today is my last day in France. I took my parents in law (“belles parents” in French, which I think sounds nicer 😀) out to lunch to say a huge “Thank You” for allowing me to camp out in their spare bedroom for 3 weeks (considering that my Mum used to say “visitors are like fish, after 3 days, they go off”!).
The talk of the town has been a new restaurant, L’or Q’idee, which is owned and run by a female chef, Naoelle d’Hainaut, who won France’s Top Chef (like Master Chef) TV show a few years ago. She also has many years of cooking at Le Bristol in Paris under her belt, and it showed. The food was top notch, though my father in law felt that the service was a little slow. This may or may not have had something to do with the fact that he sprung a surprise art auction on us shortly after we sat down, and was therefore in a hurry to get away to buy a painting he had his eye on. He was like a cat on a hot tin roof throughout lunch. When Naoelle walked the room to greet her diners, guess who told her that her food was deserving of a Michelin star, but that the service was too slow??!! 😂😂
My in laws are children of the war, and therefore, nothing is wasted. They especially don’t like to see food wasted (my father in law in particular). Thankfully, Hubby had regaled me with many, many stories of his Dad’s bargain food purchases over the years (for example, trays of fruit that are on life support!)….sell by and use by dates are considered to be interesting information, but not a consideration! When my father in law saw me put some leftover food (which had already been reheated once) into the compost tray, he pounced on it and put it back in the fridge! I had to have a lie down to recover 😂😂 …..and, 3 days later, I removed it from the fridge and snuck it back into the bin 😱😱 My mother in law explained the war time psychology to me, and now I know how to handle leftovers 😉
That said, they still have the occasional “words” about using up stale bread. My father in law takes great pride in using up a baguette, even if it’s so stale, you could hammer in nails with it 😂 This usually ends with my mother in law taking it off him, after he has negotiated for just one slice 😂😂
Both belles parents continue to contribute to their community through volunteer work (at their church, and, teaching French to new arrivals in France), and are very interested in, and support, the arts.
After 60 years of marriage, it is so lovely to see them be playful with each other, laugh together, share interests and comfort each other. Their energy and enthusiasm for life is remarkable, and no doubt, a key factor in their good health.
To wrap up, I am very grateful to my belle maman for the new Hubby handling strategies that I’ve learned by observing her interactions with my belle pere! 😀👍