Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bistros of Provence and a Giveaway


I've been feeling very French lately. Perhaps it's because I've just discovered the lovely blog Paris and Beyond and it's brought back wonderful memories for me of our trip to Provence. This lovely watercolor is from the cover of a menu of a French bistro in Maussane-les Alphiles in Provence.  Maussane is a charming village in the south of France near Saint-Remy-De-Provence with a lovely square where several bistros serve meals al fresco around the village’s fountain. As you can see, each bistro is distinguished by a difference set of tables and chairs.




Just a few kilometers down the road from Maussane is the tiny village of Paradou. Paradou is the home of Patricia Well’s favorite bistro – Le Bistrot de Paradou. Perhaps you may remember our lunch when we were there.


Because of Patricia Well’s stamp of approval and the fact that the food is outstanding, Le Bistrot du Paradou is a very busy restaurant. The owner, Jean-Louis Pons, carefully protects his bistro’s reputation by never allowing more people in than he can comfortably seat, so reservations are highly recommended. How I wish more restaurants in the US would follow Jean-Louis’ lead and not jam so many people in as they seem to do too often here at home.

On another day we enjoyed déjeuner under the umbrellas at La Petite France, also in Paradou.


Outside Le Petite France was proudly displayed Maîtres Cuisiners de France, meaning their chef was a member of the prestigious Master Chefs of France.


Seeing that sign about the chef and remembering these bistros and the fabulous meals we enjoyed there made me think that sometimes I wish I had gone to culinary school. Do you ever wish you had gone to culinary school? I’m retired now, so it’s far too late for me to pursue a culinary career, but I do enjoy reading about those who have - which brings me to the giveaway.

I’m giving away to one of you a copy of Under the Table, Saucy Tales from Culinary School by Katherine Darling. The book is a memoir of Katherine’s adventures in the student kitchens of the legendary French Culinary Institute in New York City, flavored with celebrity chefs, eccentric characters, and mouthwatering recipes. To quote part of a review from the Wall Street Journal, “Ever since Anthony Bourdain's best-selling "Kitchen Confidential," celebrity chefs and wannabees have flooded the market with boastfully naughty -- and often downright raunchy -- cook-and-tell confessions. No doubt that explains the publisher's title for "Under the Table: Saucy Tales From Culinary School." But it turns out that author Katherine Darling is a happy exception to the trend.”


It’s super easy to win - all you have to do is leave a comment telling me if you have ever dreamed of going to culinary school. If you are a follower, please leave an additional comment saying so and you’ll get two chances to win.

I’ll be taking a brief intermission to move into our condo and will return next week, when I’ll announce the winner of the book giveaway.

À bientôt mon amis – see you soon my friends. In the meantime, this is a photo of the most outstanding dessert of our trip to Provence, created by the Master Chef presiding over Le Petite France in Paradou.



106 comments:

  1. Sam, we are counting the days until we are in Provence and now you have really gotten me anxious. I can hardly wait....mostly, to enjoy the food! I doubt I would ever be able to put up with the culinary classes. "The Sharper the Knife, the Less you Cry" was a great read. I also can't believe we are entering our 9th week of French classes with 5 to go. That is daunting enough!!

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  2. Aaaahhhh France! I have definitely dreamed of going to culinary schoool in France...but I actually did go to culinary school here =)

    I hope your move goes smoothly, Sam!

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  3. ...and yes, I'm a long-time follower =)

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  4. I have been your follower for some time Sam. I think when I was a teen I dreamed of going to cooking school. I even worked for a short period of time as a cook at a restaurant. When I realized I would have to be married to my job I became a medical office assistamt:D

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  5. I love Patricia Wells cookbooks they have so many easy to make recipes and they taste good too.

    Culinary school, mmmmh, Not sure! Cooking classes here and there are Ok.

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  6. While I was hoping your giveaway would be a trip to Provence, I'd settle for the book. The reviews are excellent and I love the genre!! I, too, thought about culinary school. In fact, our younger son is still thinking about it. Oh, and I will be going to culinary school next week--Johnson and Wales in Providence. More on that later.

    Hope your move goes easily and settling in fast.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  7. I've been a follower for a deliciously long time. Oh, and forgot to mention how much I enjoyed your photos.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  8. I was last in Provence - decades ago and was amazed at how your photos could draw me back there in a heartbeat. There was something about the tree canopies shading the streets... Culinary school? No, not really - although do love cooking classes. I waitressed enough to know the profession is a tough one. (That's why I went into something easy - like theatre.)

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  9. Oh......I have been thinking so much about France this week, because it was a year ago that I was there! I love all of your Bistro pictures.

    I would have loved to gone to culinary school....

    Please enter me in your giveaway!
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  10. I am also a follower - enjoy your move back into your condo!

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  11. I'm afraid I don't have the stamina to be a culinary student. All those Chef's yelling at you....couldn't take it. That looks like a lovely book.

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  12. I have been a follower since before I met you. Love your blog.

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  13. Have a great move..I bet it looks lovely..
    Sam..this is one place we want to go to..watched a DVD yesterday and it featured an artist there..that redoes Gypsy caravans..

    it was a food DVD..so cooking was involved also..a gorgeous soupe au pistou..

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  14. I've never really thought about culinary school, but I wish I had more friends in it so they could make me delicious things!

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  15. I enjoy reading your blog and this post brought back wonderful memories. I had always wanted to go to culinary school and my path took me in a far different direction, nursing. In the mid 1990's I explored the possibilities and found an intense one week program in the fundamentals of French cooking. I was able to squeeze vacation time and spend 8 days in the most intense and exhausing experience of culinary school. I loved it and it was worth every minute and every penny. I have the memory of days gone when I had the energy spend in that kind of kitchen environment.

    Carol

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  16. I loved your post today! Beautiful photos and descriptions...I so want to see all of that for myself someday soon. I think about Culinary School all the time now days. Not sure if I would have been happy doing that when I was first starting out though. I've come to appreciate good food and dining as the years went by. In another life perhaps! Thanks for the chance....a great giveaway!

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  17. Sam, You have included two of my dreams in this post; spending time in Provence and going to culinary school. I know I would love the book.

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  18. I am also a follower. Good luck with the move. I know your condo must be great with your additions.

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  19. Dreaming of winning a contest that would send me to the bistros of Provence -- to eat, not cook! I enjoy cooking but am not a serious cook.

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  20. yet another brilliant photo-collection..love it

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  21. yet another brilliant photo-collection..love it

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  22. I just love looking at these photos, and wish I was there in one of them. I like to do different regional recipes, and asked my daughter which one I should do next...French! So I've been looking into French cuisine lately. Yes, I have always wanted to go to culinary school.

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  23. I am another happy follower here!

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  24. Oopsie, sorry,
    I almost fell into that fabulous dessert! ;-)

    I never dreamed of Culinary School, even though I do love good food and cooking.

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  25. What great post; you brought back memories of our time in Provence. We were there for 3 weeks and it was the Best time. The Food, art, nature, the bistros, the ambiance, the poeple, the language.
    Je n'oublierai jamais.
    Un gros MERCI.
    Rita

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  26. Yes I am a follower and yes I often dreamed of going to Culinary School, but it was not to be. But, my son is a chef he then spent 18months in Zurich training.

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  27. What lovely pictures Sam and what nice books, I love food cook, Im your follower of course! Love your blog, huggs gloria

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  28. Love the watercolor menu cover! Beautiful photos. So colorful and sunny.

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  29. In my mid-twenties, I toyed with the idea of culinary school but wound up in a PhD program in accounting instead. As much as I love to cook, I am fairly certain I made the right decision.

    Who says that because you've retired your past the point when you could go to cooking school? Seems to me that might be a great time to start!

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  30. Hi Sam, I dreamed of doing a stage de cuisine in France and I did it twice at a three star restaurant in Burgandy.
    Thanks for bringing back the lovely memories of life and dining in the south of France, ah, La Nostalgie;-)

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  31. I would love to go to culinary school, but school in general stresses me... I am a follower.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  32. I've been reading your blog for at least two years. I truly enjoy your recipes and they are always a success at our dinner table. As for attending culinary school, I would love the challenge, but I don't think my lower back would cooperate. Pleas keep blogging and I promise to keep enjoying your site. All the best, laurelrogers@msn.com

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  33. I've never thought about going to culinary school, but only because I know I could never get through it in one piece. It's so demanding and so high stress...I like to 'pudder' around my kitchen in bare feet listening to cheesy 80s music. I have the deepest admiration for folks who DO decide to give it a go tho! Awesome giveway, thanks so much :)

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  34. Beautiful photos of Provence - those cafes are home of the original "street food!" I dreamed of going to culinary school, and I went to the FCI - but only on Saturdays, which perhaps was not quite as saucy.

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  35. Funny I dreamed I went back to culinary school in France, with my son!

    I would love to read this book, but some other lucky person may want it too...you make me want to visit. I had hoped we could go deeper in when we went to Spain last year, but another time...hope you are doing well foodie friend!

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  36. It's nice to remember great trips - and it only a plane ride away.

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  37. Sam,
    For our Sept. trip we are finally going to Provence along with Paris!
    First time in the South. These photos get me excited!

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  38. I've thought about going to culinary school, but really, the chef's hours do not appeal to me at all! ;-)

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  39. What a fun post - I feel like I went to France on my mid afternoon break from work. I hope we get entered into the contest if we answer that "no" we haven't seriously considered culinary school. I would love to win that book, it looks like so much fun. And I'd take the trip to Provence too... did someone mention a trip to Provence? :)

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  40. And yes, I am one of your newer followers!

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  41. Of COURSE I am a follower! Isn't everyone from Hope Town/Lubbers?

    And I dreamed and dreamed of culinary school. Cooked and baked, cooked and baked, and had a second baby girl who would stand next to me and help... and SHE graduated from culinary school a few years ago. My baby. The chef.

    Not a pastry chef though. Darn! I'd love to be a pastry chef!

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  42. What a lovely post! I feel like I've just strolled through France. I have often thought that culinary school would be fun but then I wake from my little dream and remember how much work it is and how I'm already settled in a career, and well... you know. :) Thanks for sharing the Paris blog - it looks like a good one. Good luck with the move.

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  43. Oh, and I am of course a follower. :)

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  44. I am off to France next week...the Alsace area and The Wine Road,and your blog has me super excited. As for cooking school...no, but I do like to cook for people so maybe I should rethink.

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  45. French cooking is in everybody's secret wish list. Oh yes! I slip in the Le Cruiset Shop and handle something to feed my dream, now and then actually taking the item home with me.

    Somewhere in my youth I dreamed of traveling to Provence, Paris, Nice. Oui! In my dreams, je suis fraincais.

    Perhaps, a cookbook would teach me how.

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  46. Of course, I've dreamed of it. My "If I win the lottery...." daydream includes 2 specific things. First, culinary school, second, a custom built kitchen.

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  47. A lovely post, Sam. Thanks for whisking me away to Provence! Of course I have dreamed of going to cooking school. But at my age, I realize changing careers (again), especially into the restaurant world, would be neither wise nor practical. Instead, I experience the cooking-school world vicariously by reading a lot of these memoirs (although I haven’t read Under the Table). And I hope to someday combine vacation with cooking classes in some charming locale – a wee bit more realistic for me, I think :)

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  48. Never been to France so your pictures are so precious to me. Science has always been my interest and so culinary school was out of the question but now that I'm more mature I realize being in culinary school not only teaches you the art of cooking but the science behind it as well. If I could change my career at this point, culinary arts is a tempting option...

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  49. Sam,

    My, my, how many posts you're getting when there's a give away!! Yes, enter me also. Have always loved to go to cooking schools. Actually did a one-day event in southern France at a hotel that boasted a 5-star chef. He only spoke French, but I was frantically taking notes from the translator. One of these days, my friends and I are going to the Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, MS. Arangos, Gonsalves, and we attended a fun cooking school for an evening's dinner at Baker's Bay on Guana Cay.

    Good luck with the move in to your condo!!

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  50. Yes, Culinary school would be a dream come true for me. However, I have two kids and there is no where to take classes around here. Maybe one day when the kids and grown and gone.

    Great question though. I loved reading through everyone's answers.

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  51. I am lost in your pictures!

    YES, I still (in my mid 30's) dream of going to culinary school!

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  52. Yes I am...and have been a follower. :)

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  53. Given the choice, I'd rather go to Provence than culinary school. Are you giving away any travel packages?? ;)

    I was in Provence (Nime) to be exact on September 11. As you can imagine, the news from the U.S. blurred the remainder of the trip -- and I've longed to go back ever since.

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  54. These pictures are dangerous! It makes me want to schedule another trip out to Provence. The last one makes me want to raid the freezer for ice cream.

    This looks like a really interesting read. I've heard lots of great things about the FCI, and since it is so close to where I live, the book is even more interesting.

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  55. This looks like a great book! I've often thought of going to culinary school, but then think could I handle it?

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  56. Pastry school was my dream. Love, love, love me some cake! Yes I am a a follower

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  57. I was just talking about going to culinary school in Ireland if we ever get there for vacation!

    When you have a moment please check out Ballymaloe Cokery School. I think you'll enjoy it!

    http://www.cookingisfun.ie/index.php

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  58. I've been a follower for a while now and I really enjoy your posts.

    The photos in this post are wonderful!

    Enjoy your move!

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  59. Bonjour Sam - I love the painting at the top just so... very Provence.
    I've loved your blog for ages and yes! I dream of going to a cooking school in Paris or Provence using local products and using those beautiful little French pots and pans - and saying oh la la! when I turn out something half good. xx

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  60. I always think of France this time of year because it's when I visited while my daughter lived there. It's so lovely in the spring.
    And yes, Sam, I've always wished I had gone to culinary school, not for a career, but to learn skills.
    Happy moving!

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  61. I've never wished I had gone to culinary school until recently. My son-in-law went to culinary school and he's an amazing cook!

    What beautiful photos of France! I love the menu cover and that cafe with the yellow chairs and red umbrellas.

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  62. Sam,
    This looks like a great book. In my dreams I would love to travel to France.

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  63. Sam, French and all things French must be on ours and a lot of other people's minds lately! I'd so love to go to these bistros that you've featured!

    yes, not only have I wanted to go to culinary school, but I have also gone so far as applying once and then changed to get a doctorate instead!

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  64. Second comment, Sam. I already follow you and hope you have a swift move into your condo. Did you know that there are now direct flights to Fort Walton/Destin from Greenville and soon from Asheville on Vision airlines?

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  65. Those photos are so wonderful - such great memories! That dessert plate looks amazing. I never thought of culinary training, I'm far from that good - but I love to eat, so I learned to cook a bit.

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  66. You are such a sweetheart to link to my blog... I'm glad that we found each other's blogs and love for France and food and ...

    Culinary school? First time I thought about it was in Napa Valley and the second was in Tuscany. The third was in Paris... hahaha!

    Let's meet for lunch at La Petite France!

    Oh, I am a follower, too!

    Bisous,
    G

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  67. my first visit here. your blog is lovely :)
    glad to have found you.

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  68. You bet I've dreamed of going to culinary school. Thanks for the little French tour. Lovely photos.

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  69. I was brought up in Provence and always loved it. I am pleased you feel French sometimes. I feel French all the time and wished that I did not have such a heavy French accent, often. I have never wished to go to culinary school though because I have seen many chefs and thought their work was too hard. My parents had a restaurant and hired many chefs – looking at them close, I did not think I would like their work – but I like their product, the end result!

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  70. I loved visiting Provence as well! Good luck with your move!

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  71. Never actually dreamed of going to culinary school. Thanks for the giveaway!


    Chris M.

    zekks at yahoo dot com

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  72. I always feel very French!! Love your pics!!

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  73. Hello.
    I started to write blog in English.
    I will write about everythinkg, will be a lot of pictures, reviews of books, films, songs etc.
    So it would be nice if you visit my blog sometimes :)
    (Sorry for mistakes, I'm still learning English)
    http://bianchii.blogspot.com

    P.S.
    I love normal photos of streets and buildings !
    I add to follow you :)

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  74. That first picture of a print is beautiful. Love all of your pictures.

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  75. Gorgeous photos, Sam! Your post has left ME feeling French!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    xx,
    Tammy

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  76. I've only kind of, sort of, dreamed of culinary school. I imagine that they yell at you alot, and I hate being yelled at.

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  77. beautiful photos! want to visit myself!

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  78. ah yes....culinary school. Not that I'd want to ever be professional chef...I'd just do it for the knowledge :)

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  79. I am a long time follower! Good luck with the move in :)

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  80. The closest I may get to culinary school until retirement will be by learning from all of my food friends on line. Thank go I finally found a constructive use for he world wide web!

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  81. That looks like such a wonderful trip. Southern France is truly beautiful, there's really no other place like it. And the food really is fantastic.

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  82. I am also a follower of your blog :)

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  83. Yep, I wish I would have gone to culinary school - and even though I worked in restaurants when I was in my teens and 20's, I was such a picky eater.

    Now I feel lost if I don't have baby spinach in the house! Awesome giveaway, so please pick me :D

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  84. After I finished high school in France I went to live in Aix en Provence for six months presumably to study political sciences at the Institut there: what a bore that was! (for me!). So I spent the entire 6 months eating. Came back with an extra 20 pounds never dreaming that I could be doing something truly exciting like attending culinary school. Well I still wish to do this, in France, and hopefully soon!
    Love your blog, by the way, and the international flavor you bring to it.

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  85. Your photos are wonderful, Sam. I think all of us who love to cook have flirted with the idea of culinary school. I know I have, but stop short of enrolling because I fear what is a passion would become work. I hope you have a smooth move. Blessings...Mary

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  86. Going to culinary school in Provence would be one of my ultimate dreams. I'm looking forward to seeing you in June and hope your move is hassle free!

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  87. Yes, I follow you...take to culinary school in Provenace!

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  88. Sam,

    These restaurants look absolutely wonderful! Oh, to eat in France!

    As to your question, I have never dreamed of culinary school, but I have dreamed of having a chef move in with me! Yeah, Baby, Yeah! ;-)

    You know I am not the world's best cook (though I'm an avid cookbook reader), but I do so enjoy your blog. I live vicariously through your cooking and Mary's and Cathy's as well as Pat's when she cooks.

    Since I won a cookbook from you, I want to be sure and give others a chance, so please don't count me in the drawing. That's a mighty shiny object, Sam, but the fair thing is to give up my chance to win it. Sigh.

    BTW, when do you return to NC? I was hoping to be able to get the Florida bloggers together, but with everything going on here (workmen and then out of the country company), it's not going to happen. I have some blogging friends dropping by this week who are in the area, and we're going to go out to lunch and then dessert at my house. If you are ever in the St. Augustine area, I would love to take you to lunch if I'm there, and I promise, I have access to the best takeout desserts in town. LOL!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  89. Sam,
    It is my dream to visit France someday and take a cooking class. Maybe I will get to do that. I enjoy your blog very much.

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  90. Dreaming about a trip to Provence is a wonderful way to begin my day; thank you! Love that shot of the desserts :)

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  91. First time visiting your blog and love it. It is my dream to visit France in the future and learn French cuisine.

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  92. καλή μου φίλη σε ευχαριστώ που ήρθες στο blog μου!!!
    οι φωτογραφίες σου
    και το blog σου είναι πολύ όμορφα!!!
    σου στέλνω την αγάπη μου!!

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  93. Love seeing these pictures...it takes me back to my time there as well! Beautiful!

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  94. I remember my time spent living in Aix and wonder why in the world I left! Such charm and such great food and lovely people .

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. If you leave a comment with a question or that requires an answer, please leave an address or way for me to get in touch with you. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam