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My friends who blog tell me I just need to start, even if it’s is no longer the beginning of a process. So I will start with Chapter Two. Over time, I’ll fill in how I got here, how I came to be in France, and why what I eat and how I manage meals matters to me, and I hope, also to you.

I spent two weeks in St. Cirq Lapopie in southwest France along the white limestone cliffs of the River Lot. This is a region rich in history and culture. We walked up the steep streets of the village daily, hiked the sentiers de grande randonnee  and regional trails for 25 miles, and ate! I am inspired by the abundant salads, black walnuts, foie gras, duck (in all forms), cassoulet and clafoutis.

All this inspiration does not motivate me to invent recipes, however. It inspires me to buy cookbooks!  I’m a cookbook user and food manager: managing for a busy family of ONE. I’m committed to healthy eating, following the principles of healthy spa cooking, which I learned at Rancho la Puerta spa when I spent a life-changing week there in December 2011.  But that is the subject of Chapter One, which has not been written!

For now, I’m busy bringing Lapopie back to my home in the form of food. First steps: locally sourcing the cheeses and wines we enjoyed in France. My local Market of Choice carries Comte (pardon for the lack of French accent marks). I also sampled a French Morbier, a semi-soft cheese known for a thin thread of vegetable ash running through the middle. We found small rounds of goat cheese, about an inch and a half in diameter and a quarter to a half-inch thick, served frequently with salads. I have not found this size and shape, although Eugene has many locally made goat cheeses. The most memorable presentation of the small rounds was heated on toast with a drizzle of warmed honey. This can probably be recreated with slices from a goat cheese roll and some of the recipe suggestions online.

A visit to Sundance Wine Cellars yielded a selection of six dark Cahors reds, but none of the Rose’s local to the Lot Valley. I’m still looking, and enjoying several Oregon rose’s and other southern France rose’s. (again, sorry for the lack of proper French accent marks).

So as summer in Eugene, Oregon, finally arrives with a week of sunshine and heat, and the baseball season heads into the All-Star Break, I am enjoying cooking and dining French! Bon apetit!

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