Monday, April 18, 2011

No sightseeing for me on Monday!

After yesterday's major tourist day, I'm exhausted and forego the planned trip to the Cathar castles planned for today. The tourists have another hard day planned as it's another 2 hour drive to the first castle and lots of hiking up to the ruins on pinnacles of rock above the fluvial plains below them. I didn't sign up for 2 months of tourist activities, but for 2 months of living in France. So today, I'm living in France. A bit of laundry, a bit of straightening up, working on the blog, a trip to the Post Office, and some cooking are occupying my day.

Noteworthy is my trip to the Post Office. You know how you hate standing in line at your post office? Well, it's worse here. When I arrive, there are 3 people in front of me and a 4th at the counter. There's one postal worker (it's a village after all). After 10 minutes, the person in front of me has left, so now there are 2 people in front of me and the same woman is STILL at the counter. Three others are now standing around behind me. After about 20 minutes, I get to buy stamps for my two postcards and finally get them mailed. (I wrote them on Apr 9 and finally have been able to get to an open post office today, April 18. Our Moms will think they were shipped by camel.)

Christie really wants cassoulet, a white bean stew from the Carcassonne region and we have bought the beans and some sausage. I check out a few recipes online and find that cassoulet could be a 2 day cooking affair. So I am cooking a modified version of cassoulet. I use canned, cooked white beans, and the other supplies I have on hand. I have to stop at the butcher to get other meats for the fake-cassoulet. I buy a breast of duck and some "poitrine" (sort of like our salt pork, but less salty and more meaty). I prepare the beans and cooking liquid separately cooking it for 2 hours, then brown the duck and sausage, adding tomatoes, onions and garlic and letting that cook another hour. I put the two mixtures together and put it all into the oven. I have to say, it smells delicious in here as I let it cook in the oven until the touring crew get home for dinner tonight.

I'll try to get someone to add the Cathar castle stories later tonight, if they are all still alive.

1 comment:

  1. We visited 3 castles, Augillar, Peyrepertuse, and Queribus. They are 3 of the 5 sons of Carcassonne - defensive castles meant to guard the border of France from Spain between ~1250 and ~1650. The castles are actually much older than these dates, but many modifications and fortifications were added by Saint Louis IX around 1250. They involved extensive hiking to get to them, as they are perched on the top of the garrigues (local ridges). They were quite impressive and worth the trip!