For the summer festival in one of our local villages, La Bastide Solage, the entire Blanc family, all seven children and their children, still make enough soupe au fromage for the 400 attendees. When Marthe offered to show me how to make it, but as she was assembling it she seemed confused as to whether it looked right. It turned out she was used to making it for at least 27 people or hundreds, not just the four of us, so she had to ask Germain if he thought there was enough liquid! Francis Roussel served this dish for our grand festival for our work crew. He prepared it for 80 people and used our huge bread oven to bake it.
Having a garden in France involved dealing with way too much of everything en même temps: tomatoes, eggplants, onions, zucchini, garlic…all the good stuff, just too much of it. Most recipes for ratatouille sautée and stew them all together with spices until they melt together and can turn into a soupy mess, and draw groans from the dinner table after weeks of the same dish.
I’m not a big fan of complicated recipes, and I love visual delights so this non-recipe is a perfect way to change up your summer excess. Quantities are not important here.
Nothing’s better than homemade bread. It doesn’t have to take all day, and you don’t even have to knead it. And there is no such thing as a failed loaf of bread. It may be a little dense or a little crumbly, but it’s homemade, and you can be sure that the next time you make it, it will be different. I lived in a flour mill for seventeen years and had buckets of stone-ground flour made by the miller, my husband. I made bread several times a week, and I never had a loaf turn out the same way twice. But they were all delicious.