You see, I love my old things, and this morning when Charlotte (my thirty year old VW Golf for those of you who are new to the blog) broke down, I had to decide if she was worth the money and effort to fix her.
The thing about old objects I have owned for so long, is that they constantly bring back memories and special moments like nothing else. Their presence makes me feel safe. Somehow I belong with them and they belong with me. I belong!!! The same goes with people of course. And so it does take a bit of work to keep these things and these special relationships going of course, but I will gladly put up a fight when I need to!
And so yes, my house is more than a century old and its 25 windows and 48 wooden shutters will have to be replaced soon. I’ll just sell a kidney! The stained glass windows are chipped, but I refuse to replace them with just plain glass. The master bedroom took several months to renovate on my own. My friend Ségolène helped me refinish the wooden floors by hand, and so I will keep that old thing too (Ségolène that is). And what about food?! YES I WILL put in the extra effort to prepare my home made crème caramel. It’s tradition! YES, I WILL stand above the stove to color onions in real butter for an hour when my nephews insist that we have onion soup in the middle of Summer when it’s 95° outside. That’s legacy!
We live in a society where everything and frankly everyone seems to be disposable. If it’s not easy, it’s out…
What’s wrong with making the effort for once to repair grandma’s leather chairs or reproduce one of her old fashioned recipes that takes forever to make? Why not keep the story going for a little while longer?!
Below is my aunt Nicole, who is 73 today, in one of the leather chairs I just mentioned. The next photo is the poor leather chair today.
And this is my uncle Jean behind old Charlotte’s wheel. The umbrella you say? Don’t ask! We’ll keep uncle Jean a little longer too. He makes me laugh…
Oh, and I forgot Sirus the cat, who’s soon to be twenty. How many times has my dad asked me why I fought so hard to keep him alive. That cat cost me more in vet bills over the years than it did keeping Charlotte on the road.
My dear Charlotte, here is to your next 300 000 miles!
By the way, it is a little too hot for onion soup these days, but here is Manée’s recipe for crème caramel. Still though, the soup recipe is here for our Australian friends who are in the middle of Winter ;0): French Onion Soup
Ingredients for crème caramel:
- 1 pound of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 sticks of vanilla (or vanilla extract, but it’s really nice to have the little black dots inside the finished product. Looks and feels home-made)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 cups of milk (2% or whole)
1. Batter eggs and 5 table-spoons of sugar until mixture gets whiter
2. Make caramel with sugar left (caramel is the easiest thing to make. Just add 4 table-spoons of water to a pound of sugar; but be super careful: first it gets extremely hot, second it turns really dark really fast so keep an eye on it at all times. Your caramel should be the exact color as in my pictures. Too light and it won’t taste like caramel. Too dark and it gets really bitter)
3. Cover the floor of a cake pan with the caramel while it is still in its liquid form. Be careful as caramel hardens really really fast. Make sure the cake pan is made of a glass or glass like material that will withstand extreme heat. Caramel is around 180°C!!
4. Boil milk with vanilla and salt
5. Add milk to egg batter while stirring constantly. You don’t want the hot milk to cook the eggs
6. Pour mixture into pan
7. Put in bain-marie in the oven at 180°C (360°F) for 30mn (center should not be liquid anymore and jiggle a little). Water of bain-marie should come two third up the pan. You can also use a pressure cooker. In that case, cover the pan with foil and put a plate on top so the steam does not get into the pan. Reduce the flame and cook 9 to 10 minutes after steam comes out off the valve ).