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Luncheon in Provençe at Blackberry Cottage

A table in "Provençe"

A table in "Provençe"

We said farewell to friends with a picnic at Blackberry Cottage on Sunday afternoon.  We’ll miss these dear people during our five-month stay in Seattle.  Since we had been extremely busy preparing for the trip, we knew our menu for the picnic would have to be simple.  Mike thought a French country theme might suit a menu of tomato soup, bread, cheese, and fruit.

Since last year’s changes at the cottage, I have no idea where the picnic supplies, such as table cloths, have been stored, and there is little temptation to search for them in the over-stuffed garage.  At home, though, I found a striped blue and white sheet and laundered it to make a cover for the venerable picnic table.  Over that I placed blue-and-white tea towels as “place mats.”  The picnic china was culled from the cupboards at Bullion Street: light blue Italian soup bowls with a sort of peasant look to them, and some substantial old plates acquired in thrift shops.  Grape leaves from the trellis and plates of fruit were the table decorations. If you squinted as you looked at the table, you might see a French Impressionist still life there.

While I set the table Mike was at Bullion Street warming up the soup (see “Recipes” category).  He carried it over in a “straw box,”  actually a wicker basket insulated with an old blanket.  The swaddled soup stayed nicely warm.  One of our friends surprised us with a fantastic coconut dessert, an ice “cream” made of coconut milk, an ambrosia of purest essence of coconut.

We stayed at table for more than two hours.  Our friends enjoyed the soup and we raved over the coconut dessert.  I don’t know if anybody saw Paul Cezanne in the table decorations, but I know that Mike and I savored this get-together with dear friends in “Provençe.”

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