talking of food

by Sharon Santoni

 

My husband calls his parents each week.   His mother is not so chatty, so he mostly talks with his Dad.    Theirs is a beautiful relationship.  Bereft of judgement; caring, respectful and kind.    They live many miles apart, but these conversations keep them up to date with each others health, mood, and daily routine.

I’m often close by when the calls take place and cannot help but hear snippets of the conversations, that always make me smile.  Of course there is talk of a mundane practical nature, “did the plumber come by?”, or “is your internet working now?”.  Then , in good French fashion there is often mention of politics, a subject on which they don’t always see eye to eye, but are happy to discuss.

They talk about the books they are reading then news is given of the family, the  dogs, what the children and I are up to, or of what’s happening in the garden…. normal family stuff.

All of this is unsurprising I’m sure.  You probably have the same conversations going on in your home too.   But then comes the bit that I love the most.  They always, without fail , talk about food!

“Qu’est ce que tu manges aujourd’hui?” …. “What will you eat today?”

There is so much hidden away inside this apparently simple question.  Besides giving a detailed description of the menu for the next meal, it is also an opportunity to talk about what is in season, which market vendor is the best to buy from (because of course when we visit they shop at the farmers market together).   Once the menu is established, there is a discussion about how best to prepare the food and then of course  a need to talk about which wine would best accompany that fresh sole, or those pan fried wild mushrooms.

Other important questions ensue such as; would it be better to finish the meal with a piece of cheese, or should my father in law indulge his sweet tooth, and maybe buy a pastry, or prepare a compote of fresh fruits.

There is nothing fancy about the meals that are prepared, it is simply good seasonal food, made with fresh ingredients, and plenty of variety.  There is no pretension around the dishes, modest in size and prepared and eaten in the kitchen.

What I love is that these conversations encapsulate all the love between a father and son.   Sharing their pleasure in life,  expressing their affection simply by showing interest in an essential:  what they are each eating.  Once the call is over, I’m sure they both think back to all that was said, and inevitably wonder if the stew was good, or if that roast meat wouldn’t have been better with a Burgundy …

I cannot think of a more natural way to express this family love, than talking about the food they eat each day.

43 comments

Linnie Brown October 24, 2017 - 11:24 pm

What a beautiful way to express family love!

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Tricia October 25, 2017 - 12:22 am

Beautiful!

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Hazel Lavelle October 25, 2017 - 1:08 am

We gather each Sunday for dinner my family and I
A roast of some kind , and for me it’s never a chore to prepair ,
A meal made with love for my family .
Thanks Sharon for your thoughts on food .

Hazel Manchester uk X

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Gardielaursen October 25, 2017 - 5:13 pm

We enjoy your food buying linen etc articles so much. Have been to France a few times my favourite country❤️

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Ms Chiyoko Suzuki October 24, 2017 - 11:34 pm

Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience.

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Louann Neusch October 24, 2017 - 11:34 pm

Charming observation of what is important in family relationships.

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Bev Norman October 24, 2017 - 11:35 pm

Sharon, this illustrates how an endearing relationship looks like. Thank you for sharing this one. Yes, and….I loved the part on how food can be shared….at the table or in discussion.

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Cynthia Christensen October 24, 2017 - 11:40 pm

Ahhhhh. What a lovely portrait to view when these conversations are no longer possible. A tapestry the whole family can wrap themselves in. In fact, because you have shared with us, we too can enjoy the beauty of their love.
You see, I never knew my father, so I never had the choice to have intimacy with him. This is, indeed a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing. May God continue to bless your family. Your husband and father-in-love are very wise men.

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corinne October 24, 2017 - 11:44 pm

What a sweet story. My FIL lived next door. He would always talk about the food his Mother made, she was Polish. As I learned to prepare his favorite dishes he would call, talk about weather, politics, lawn mowers…what ever and eventually about the food that he knew was in progress! Shortly I would hear his tractor pulling up on the patio ready to test the food. Your story reminded me of this. Thank You.

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Debbie Williams October 24, 2017 - 11:46 pm

This post was so sweet it made me cry with happiness.

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Adelia October 24, 2017 - 11:49 pm

Delightful and inspiring! Thank you so much for sketching this beautiful and heartwarming portrait, and sharing it with us.

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Jeannine October 24, 2017 - 11:50 pm

What a wonderful relationship your husband and his father share. I think the level of their intimacy and and graciousness toward each other is rather rare in the father/son relationship. So lovely. Thanks for sharing their story.

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Marsha Scott October 25, 2017 - 12:06 am

I love knowing this! There is nothing more important than family, no matter what’s discussed, but they’ve found a common bond around foods, which I think is delightful. I’m going to ask your husband about wines too!

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cece October 25, 2017 - 12:20 am

Thank you. That was so wonderful I read some parts to my husband who has been know to travel to different countries in Europe just for once specific food!

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Lin Powell October 25, 2017 - 12:33 am

I can only wish that I could that kind of a relationship with my children. Very special.

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Bonnie Gutierrez October 25, 2017 - 12:37 am

My husband is the elder of ten and large family gatherings always revolved around several simultaneous conversations, and of course, food! Being an only child these occasions were exciting! I helped my MIL to plan the menu for many parties …the food was essential, and always an avenue for bonhomie!
Thank you for sharing a special bond.

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Debra October 25, 2017 - 12:46 am

I enjoyed hearing about this fun conversations. I love that there are many fresh open markets in France. The area I live in North Carolina, USA, there are not many markets. Things are so spread out. A car required to get anywhere. Fresh foods, veggies are always best. I envy what you have. Enjoy! Thanks for sharing.

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misslindy October 25, 2017 - 1:05 am

Thank you so much. They are gone many years now, but I so miss them still and these conversations. How was the cheese, did you like it? Did Mama? What about the wine?
Oh yes, I remember.

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Ellen F October 25, 2017 - 1:08 am

What seems mundane to some is actually beautiful and a treasured tradition.

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MARLA October 25, 2017 - 1:26 am

Lovely post today. Must tell you Sharon that I gave my dear friend who is a beauty and a gardener you gorgeous new book. It was a hit! Thanks so much for a wonderful work Madame auteur (sp?). I will have to buy more for Christmas gifts!

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Sharon Santoni October 26, 2017 - 9:21 am

Thank you Marla, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and more than honored to be chosen for your gifts!

xx

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Vicky from Athens October 25, 2017 - 1:30 am

Sharon, what a sweet and wonderful post. When one stops to think about it, so much of great family time revolves around food. Whether it’s over the family table or over the phone . . . what a powerful familial connection. When I think about my in-laws especially, so many good times were built around the table and what we were having for dinner . . . or planning it over the phone. Thanks for this reminder!!

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Colleen Taylor October 25, 2017 - 1:39 am

What a wonderful post Sharon. I love stories like this as they are quite precious and somewhat rare I think. Your food photography is gorgeous.X

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Madonna October 25, 2017 - 2:06 am

I love this post. It truly is the little things in life.

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Carole Shiles October 25, 2017 - 2:45 am

Heartwarming, so enjoyable hearing about your family’s relationship with their love of each other and how food is a part of sharing. Thank you, reminds me of my dad’s family. His parents were from France, he father a chef at a NY hotel restaurant. What great memories.

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Teresa Phillips October 25, 2017 - 3:07 am

Thank you Sharon for this, especially the focus on fresh vegetables and fruit. I truly believe they should be the backbone of every meal. Fresh and healing. Your photos are lovely.

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Nan October 25, 2017 - 3:07 am

LOVE this post!!! What a wonderful way to bond with family!

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Nancy October 25, 2017 - 3:21 am

Today’s post was one of your best. Thank you so much for sharing.

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Trish October 25, 2017 - 6:42 am

What a lovely post, Sharon!

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Susan Malizia October 25, 2017 - 7:39 am

Love your post. Our son moved a short distance away and has gotten into the habit of talking to his Dad on his way home (hands free) from work. I love this simple gesture he makes. I believe seasonal food is the way to go. We’re fortunate to live in the central valley, where a good part of California’s food is grown. I try to only purchase fresh seasonal fruit and veggies. I so look forward to what each season brings to our table.

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Taste of France October 25, 2017 - 9:29 am

Actually, my parents used to tell me about what they ate in great detail. And they would ask what I made for dinner. Meals are one of the great pleasures in life, and discussing them is a way to share them over distance.

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Noreen October 25, 2017 - 11:23 am

Beautiful post, sounds a lot like our weekly skype sessions with our 30 year old sons! Just love the way they enjoy preparing meals for their families!

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Gail October 25, 2017 - 3:50 pm

I just lost my father unexpectedly so those conversations are truly precious. I would love a recommendation on a book of how to prepare simple, fresh meals as the French do? Thank you.

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Emm October 25, 2017 - 5:02 pm

What a lovely description of their conversations. I am imagining them, on a split screen as it were, discussing various foods.
It seems to me a good way, as well, to keep up with aging parents who may live at a distance, so we can remind them about eating because they tend to forget.

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Kathryn Gauci October 26, 2017 - 3:29 am

Beautiful conversations. I always talk about food with my Greek friends over the phone.Its a lovely thing to do.

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Andrina Treadgold October 26, 2017 - 12:45 pm

Sharon, today’s post makes my heart sing.
My son(25) is learning to be a chef and the thought of food conversations as the years pass fill me with happy anticipation. We always have a long conversation each day about what he learnt and prepared the night before in class.

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Jane Cammann October 28, 2017 - 1:08 pm

Sharon, this simple post ranks as one of my top favorites of your wonderful posts! Thank you for spot lighting the simple, small moments! Often, those are the ones that mean the most to us.

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kerrie October 28, 2017 - 6:50 pm

We live in France and our children in Australia so we Skype once a week with each. As it’s evening there we always ask “and what are you cooking for dinner tonight ?” They will often tell us about a new recipe they have tried recently. Food is always a good subject.

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Debbie H. October 29, 2017 - 2:40 pm

are your november boxes sold out? I would love one of them.

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kural October 31, 2017 - 6:32 am

thank you for sharing…wonderful post

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Stacy November 1, 2017 - 7:20 am

As a cooking instructor, and self-proclaimed foodie I think of food as the tie that binds. It is a great connector of people and transcends age, gender, and all ethnicities. When it comes to food we all have something to Bring to the table with our comments, tales, questions and conversations. It will never change, one of those beautiful traditions that will always bring us together as people!

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Lucia Donahower November 6, 2017 - 4:02 pm

I loved reading your post today! What a beautiful way to stay connected.
Many thanks!
Lucy

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Ingrid Wilson August 27, 2018 - 8:53 am

What a heart-warming post! My mother was Italian and great cook, so in our daily conversations we always discussed what we were going to make, and I often asked for her advice. The love of planning and preparing a meal has stayed with me to this day. The simple things in life often give the most pleasure.

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