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.