11.04.2009

Dinner Parties- Comme les Français- Madame Bohemienne


You’ve already read about the formal occasions that were Madame Chic’s dinner parties here. Now I will delve into the passionate soirees that took place chez Madame Bohemienne…

Madame Bohemienne loved to throw dinner parties (and like Madame Chic, threw them regularly). But with Madame Bohemienne’s parties there was less formality and more spontaneity. Her varied guests were (naturally) more of the Bohemian variety- artists, writers, philosophers… These were guests who sang for their supper in the form of providing witty conversation and entertainment.

We would always gather before dinner in her bright yellow living room for nibbles and aperitifs. Madame Bohemienne’s signature aperitif was a champagne cocktail that included: champagne, Grand Marnier, lime juice and simple syrup. It was a delightfully sweet concoction that did the trick- whetting the appetite and causing general giddiness all around.

Madame B’s dinner parties were sometimes a little too giddy, however. We would often find ourselves sitting down to dine after 10pm (very late for this Californian!). The dinner parties would start with the most formal of intentions… aperitifs at 8pm, for example, but somehow the laughing, debating and general merrymaking would distract our fabulous host and we wouldn’t sit down to eat for hours afterwards. Madame B would completely forget about the dinner on the stove and would have to be gently reminded…My stomach would grumble tirelessly during these times and I would usually quell my hunger by one too many champagne cocktails (but when in Paris…).

When we did finally make it to the table, however, it was worth the wait. Her fearlessness in serving course after course after course was truly admirable. That woman turned out more Boeuf Bourguignons and Coq au Vins than I could count. She never used a cookbook (come to think of it neither did Madame Chic… hmmm) and was very animated when cooking- when serving and when eating. Madame Bohemienne was someone who operated on all levels- sense wise. She would close her eyes when she ate, she would smell her wine before the first goût , she would savor the last bite of chocolate tart (and her chocolate tart was beyond divine)... She ate in the moment and completely surrendered to her senses.

In fact, she was my ultimate role model for passionate eating- for eating Comme les Français. I suppose the multitasking, clock worshipping American in me learned a few things from this marvelous woman who got carried away with conversation, laughter and champagne cocktails. In the end, dinner was always served (even if it was practically midnight!) and our bellies were full of the joy that inevitably comes with good food, good company and passion...


Cafe by Tsuguharu Foujita is pictured above.

11 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

This is too good... and bittersweet. I can just imagine it, and my own experience with this sort of soirée was always so rich, so multi-layered, and filled with sensory pleasures - volupté.

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour. Really enjoyed this post! You have a great writing syle. I too am amazed at how many of my French friends are able to give a dinner party with such ease. I guess the key is to stop worrying and simply enjoy it!

Rebecca said...

Wow! What wonderful experiences. I love the fact that time was not an issue. I can't imagine eating dinner so late, but would love to do so...in Paris!

lunasa said...

It sounds like you had such a wonderful time in Paris - but how can you not! I too have fond memories of my visits there and can't wait to return. Also, that apperetif sounds fantastic!

ELS said...

What a fantastic and affectionate description and what fun those dinner parties sound!
Lovely blog. Bon weekend!
ELS

Alan Burnett said...

I have been to a few such parties myself where too much drink forces the dinner lower and lower down the agenda. You write about it so well. Most enjoyable.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Big Little Wolf- Thank you. Yes it is bittersweet isn't it? It always is when you remember a time in your life that you know- no matter how hard you try- can't be recreated again...

Bonjour Romance- Thank you so much. Stop worrying and enjoy it- so the key! But easier said than done if it is not in your nature (like me;)

Rebecca- yes! It was ok that we ate so late in Paris but in L.A. I probably would have been annoyed- lol!

Lunasa- that aperitif was sooooo good. I have made it a few times since I've returned. It is just so effervescent and yummy!

ELS- Thank you so much...

Alan- Every now and then- these are the best dinner parties to attend. As long as the host doesn't completely forget about the dinner and let's it burn on the stove! xo

Tom Bailey said...

When I read your blog it seems so rich that there are calories in it. Some of the things here I am ignorant of what they are but there is just something classy that I like about the French language.

Great post as always.

Gigi said...

great post. really enjoyed all the details!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Tom - that is the most creative compliment I've ever received! Thank you :)

and thank you Gigi! xo

Dining on Deals said...

Mmm, I'll bring the champagne next time so we can make that little bit of deliciousness. Although - where you and I are concerned, I don't think there are enough cocktails in the world to make us forget about food!

 
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