"It's not dying I mind. It's giving up life that annoys me. You know what I'll miss most? The little pleasures of life. Lunch. Dinner. Looking out over the old port," says an elderly Panisse at the end of his life in the film Fanny, a love letter to Marseille, the stunning Leslie Caron who reminds me a bit of equally beautiful Diane Lane, Charles Boyer and Maurice Chevalier, and to having an adventure but realizing most of the treasures to be found are all around you where you started.
Isn't he so right? Looking out over the old port. It might not be a port, it might be looking at the rustic palette of autumn leaves, the beauty of the Earth when blanketed in fresh white snow, daffodils bursting through the ground the color of sun on a rainy spring day, the ocean on a summer's day.
Isn't among life's great pleasures food, which to many is a convenience or an afterthought or conjures guilt-ridden thoughts? Julia Child, who in addition to Paris also lived in Marseille, said in a letter to friend Avis DeVoto that people who love to eat always are the best people. I completely agree. Best maybe isn't the word. Satisfied. Nourished.
I adored Fanny, which I watched on a whim from the library after searching for French-themed films. "A great talent for enjoying life." We should all have that talent.
In the spirit of enjoying good food, here are some food memories of a recent French chefs' picnic I attended. My sweetheart is trained in French cooking.
Coffee and pastries to share. Carbs are not my enemy. Moderation.
Since I'm a vegetarian I pass on the seafood salad, pate and charcuterie. Bean salad and tomato salad in a mustard vinaigrette with bread, apples and wine is satisfying picnic fare for me.
No beef with mushrooms for me. I have an extra helping of the communal mixed vegetables. Herbs and onions are vegetables' best good friends.
Salad with brie cheese.
There has to be some games, right? As addictive as mystery bags is tombola, 3 chances for $1. Find a number printed inside, win a a prize. I was a winner! Wine, champagne and Smuckers strawberry preserves.
Like Panisse, my eyes light up thinking about lunch and dinner. I would so miss food, and also scents, like pumpkin in fall and honeysuckle in summer, the comforting touch of people and pets, reading, music, to name a few. What earthly delights would you miss most?