Away from it all.

 The New Friends Table is taking a little break.
We will be thinking of all our dear New Friends this evening as we wave good bye to the old year and turn hungrily to 2012.
On New Year's day we will announce our new dates and be sending out some exciting news from the Table. 
Bonne année
and Happy New Year to you all.

A little sit down.

New Friends Table is having a litttle sit down after Christmas.
Brewing up new ideas for 2012.

Just one more.

Just one seat available for tonight. Don't be shy.

Tree's up.

New Friends Table had fun buying le sapin from that lovely young man at Bastille, then getting it back on a totally crowded metro. Now its resplendent ready for the secret dinner this Saturday, the last one before Christmas.

New Friends pour Noel.

 We have a secret guest coming to the secret dinner this week.  His daughter has gifted the place to him for Noel. How exciting!

Way past our bedtime.

The 3rd birthday girl at the New Friends Table:
savouring the moment we stayed up late speaking fluent Franglais. 
Not a tantrum in sight.

Didn't we have a lovely time?

Lovely people, lovely food, lovely wine, lovely times.

Let us give thanks.

New Friends and Old Friends all gathered together to give thanks. 

Just good friends.

What a fabulous crowd came together around the New Friends Table last night.

Cheeks all a-glow.

On December 25th we will welcome 6 New Friends to pull up a chair  'en famille' to the New Friends Table.  Those who find themselves in Paris, away from home, friends and family this Christmas, can enjoy a convivial, traditional long, late lunch with the New Friends Table family.  In a cool but cosy Parisien apartment New Friends will drink, chat, eat and make merry.  For further details of the long and the short of it, go to the Cheeks-all-glow  page and then email telling us about yourself.

Excusez moi!

The second birthday girl took a seat at the New Friends Table last night. Everyone got a bit wild, what with the candle and everything.

Kitchen's humming.

The table will be brimming this Saturday.
There's work to be done.

3 men, 7 women, no problem.

Great British, American, Italian alliances formed last night at the very noisy New Friends Table.

Come along.

We have unexpected late availability this weekend.
Take a seat.

Bon anniversaire.

We all loved having a birthday girl at the table this weekend.

Only in France.

Maman, je veux etre le chef pour 'alloeen!

A table!

Another clutch of New Friends will gather around the table this Saturday.  Welcome! Welcome!

The ice man cometh.

Le Marchand de Coquillages.
Marseille. 1954.

Talk. Talk. Talk.

Guests at the New Friends Table were true to their word last night - big conversations, big appetites all round.  Happy times.

Don't be shy.

The New Friends Table welcomes everyone.
Life's a bowl of soup!

Mellow fruitfulness.


Eating undercover.

Secret suppers, clandestine lunches, Autumn is a coming in.

Harvest home.

Picking grapes, bottling tomatoes, and so many New Friends 
joining us to enjoy this season of plenty.

You're lovely

Just the way you looked tonight.

Some day, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow,
Just thinking of you,
And the way you looked tonight.

New Friends from France, Belgium, Brazil, Australia and America sat down at the New Friends Table last night. Such fun.

There's an empty chair.

We have unexpected last minute availability at the New Friends Table this Saturday so if you are in Paris and want to pull up a chair you will be warmly welcomed.

L'Ame du Vin - The Soul of Wine

Today is National Poetry Day in the UK. 
Baudelaire's poem about the soul of wine is something we can all ponder when knocking back the red stuff.

L'Ame du Vin

Un soir, l'âme du vin chantait dans les bouteilles:
Homme, vers toi je pousse, ô cher déshérité,
Sous ma prison de verre et mes cires vermeilles,
Un chant plein de lumière et de fraternité!

Je sais combien il faut, sur la colline en flamme,
De peine, de sueur et de soleil cuisant
Pour engendrer ma vie et pour me donner l'âme;
Mais je ne serai point ingrat ni malfaisant,

Car j'éprouve une joie immense quand je tombe
Dans le gosier d'un homme usé par ses travaux,
Et sa chaude poitrine est une douce tombe
Où je me plais bien mieux que dans mes froids caveaux.

Entends-tu retentir les refrains des dimanches
Et l'espoir qui gazouille en mon sein palpitant?
Les coudes sur la table et retroussant tes manches,
Tu me glorifieras et tu seras content;

J'allumerai les yeux de ta femme ravie;
À ton fils je rendrai sa force et ses couleurs
Et serai pour ce frêle athlète de la vie
L'huile qui raffermit les muscles des lutteurs.

En toi je tomberai, végétale ambroisie,
Grain précieux jeté par l'éternel Semeur,
Pour que de notre amour naisse la poésie
Qui jaillira vers Dieu comme une rare fleur!»

Charles Baudelaire

The Soul of Wine

One night, the soul of wine was singing in the flask:
"O man, dear disinherited! to you I sing
This song full of light and of brotherhood
From my prison of glass with its scarlet wax seals.
I know the cost in pain, in sweat,
And in burning sunlight on the blazing hillside,
Of creating my life, of giving me a soul:
I shall not be ungrateful or malevolent,

For I feel a boundless joy when I flow
Down the throat of a man worn out by his labor;
His warm breast is a pleasant tomb
Where I'm much happier than in my cold cellar.

Do you hear the choruses resounding on Sunday
And the hopes that warble in my fluttering breast?
With sleeves rolled up, elbows on the table,
You will glorify me and be content;

I shall light up the eyes of your enraptured wife,
And give back to your son his strength and his color;
I shall be for that frail athlete of life
The oil that hardens a wrestler's muscles.

Vegetal ambrosia, precious grain scattered
By the eternal Sower, I shall descend in you
So that from our love there will be born poetry,
Which will spring up toward God like a rare flower!"

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

We're waiting!

Your new friends are looking forward to meeting you. 
The next dinner at the New Friends Table is this Saturday.

Eat up.

New research suggests that people eat less when they eat with men. 
This is never true at the New Friends Table where everyone clears their plates.

International relations.

Secret dinner, red wine, hats and flags.

Paris picnic.

Keeping that summer feeling. Picnics, robust wine and hearty dishes.

A table by the sea in September

The crowds have departed and the children have gone back to school. September is that wonderful month when you really can get the best of both worlds.  The season of plenty with ripening Autumn fruits and gluts to be harvested, but an Indian summer brings sunny days more precious than those of August.  This is the perfect time to holiday in southern Europe. The restaurants may be slowing down but you won't go hungry.  This seaside restaurant has tables laid and looks over a calm sea.  I like to imagine being one of a few descreet diners in this place on a September evening years ago.

In the mess.

Italian soldiers enjoy spaghetti

This weekend we welcomed Italian, English, American and French New Friends to enjoy our 'good-bye Summer, hello Autumn' menu at the New Friends Table.  After spending many hours cooking and eating in Umbria this summer, there was a strong slant towards Italian food.  Campari and Martini Rosso invited themselves along and much 'vino de la casa' was consumed.  However, the very English sticky toffee pudding with Jersey cream held the boat steady.

Italian lunch.

With all the Nonnas.

Will this be you this evening?

After twenty five years together, there's very little left to say.  Just one of the reasons people take a seat at the New Friends Table.

Lunch 1950s style.

Cool, classic lunch.
White plates, damask tablecloth and lipstick.