The thanks I want to keep giving

You know I’m a big fan of friends and family reunions. Sadly Easter and Christmas are the last ones we really celebrate in France anymore. No one really cares about Bastille Day and we never even had Thanksgiving. Obviously. Oh how I wish we had Thanksgiving!!! I’d be planning and cooking for days…

I thought I would celebrate my own today though. It would just be me and my cat Sirus. He’d have his favorite paté and I’d pick the perfect comfort food for myself. I decided on a dish of scallops, foie gras and green lentils (recipe at the end of the post).Thanksgiving-in-france

No Thanksgiving of course without giving proper thanks for all the people and things one loves. And I love quite a few… Since I’m not a crazy cat person (I don’t think…), I didn’t make a speech in front of the cat. Sirus is American (from Georgia y’all) so his French is very limited + he’s 21 and deaf as a post.Thanksgiving-in-france

No, I think thanks are best given in the way we act and the way we interact with each other. In the way we live our life; in gratitude and with kindness. In the way we find, nurture and use our inner strength and natural talents. Sometimes, words do have to be said, like “I love you”. Very therapeutic! Almost everything else can be left unsaid, but not that. Thanksgiving-in-france

And so I realized that I didn’t really need a proper Thanksgiving dinner to give my thanks (yes, I know, I’m not the sharpest tool in the box). All I need is to remain conscious of how blessed I am to lead the life I lead with the people I live it for. All I need is to make a conscious decision each day to find, share (promote even) “joie de vivre”. All I need is to enjoy each bite of each delicious strawberry pie, each sunset and each glass of champagne. Each cream puff eaten on the beach, each jar of plum marmalade. The house my grandma left me and the precious moments spent there with friends renovating it. Each dinner party and every single orgasm (food induced or otherwise).Thanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-franceThanksgiving-in-france

I guess what I am trying to say in a very clumsy way and with too many words is this: gratitude is stronger than just being thankful. It is a way of life. It is a code of conduct almost… I don’t know. I’m tired…

Enough with the cheap clichés and the sentimentality! I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving-in-france

Scallop lentils recipe for 2:

  1. Boil your lentils (4 large fistfuls) for 20 minutes on low heat in water with a teaspoon of baking soda (the edible kind of course)
  2. Sear 8 to 12 large scallops to a golden brown (one to two minutes on each side on medium to high heat). Use canola oil.
  3. Cut cubes (2cm) in a large lobe of fresh foie gras (raw). For two people, I’d use about a third of a large lobe.
  4. Add the scallops to the lentils 
  5. Add the cubes of foie gras right before serving as they could melt too fast in the lentils 
  6. Add chopped parsley for color
  7. Season to taste
Note: I realize not everyone has access to foie gras. Use crispy smoked bacon instead!
Note: lentils turn from al dente to overcooked very quickly. Make sure you taste them regularly after the eighteenth minute of cooking.
Note: You can also fry an onion and add it to the lentils.
Note: you may also use « mi-cuit » foie gras from a tin or a jar. It won’t melt as easily in the warm lentils.
Note: this dish will do well with a white Graves, Sauternes or even ice-cold Lillet Blanc.

64 Comments Add yours

  1. Deborah says:

    If more people had gratitude as a way of life, the state of the world would be quite different. We all have our problems, but many of us have peeves that take on proportions they don’t deserve. I try to put things into perspective. For example, I get stoopid annoyed that there is never any toilet paper at the university in Toulouse. Seriously. There is never any parking unless you arrive before 8am. The coffee at the machine is awful. But guess what? My tuition for a Master’s degree is under 200€. If I were in the USA, I would not be able to afford to study. And I am thankful and work at shutting off my spoilt, nagging peeve inspector every day.
    My kids are noisy? Yes. And they are healthy.
    My husband’s roast vegetables are underdone and the roadt pork is overcooked? I can afford to buy meat and looked tired enough for Hubby to cook.
    Half the time I just have to get over myself.
    A very belated happy Thanksgiving, but since it’s a way of life, every day is Thanksgiving day.

  2. chef mimi says:

    Beautiful post.
    somehow I missed it. Maybe you should start a new French tradition, but call it something else! I didn’t make Thanksgiving dinner this year, and oh how I missed my leftovers!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Leftovers are the best. I especially love the stuffing reheated with some mashed potatoes. Comfort food at its best. You know how much I love poultry. Yes, I shall start the tradition for myself. I think I’ll call it “Stephane eats like a pig” day…

      1. chef mimi says:

        sounds perfect!!! we have a “tradition” of eating pie for lunch, because we can never eat them after the meal!!!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          You know I’m the same with cheese! 😉

  3. leighannpage says:

    Very beautifully said. It’s such a truth that many of us only know to give thanks at the times of year where its advertised. I, myself do try to live in gratitude but it can be difficult….especially in traffic. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder and for today….hopefully I’ll remember all day because of reading your blog. Happy day to you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Have a lovely day as well!

  4. gigiistheone says:

    This is my absolute favorite post of yours! HappyThanksgiving!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh thank you so much!

  5. I feel the same and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I encourage as many of my family members to come for dinner. I take the week off from work and prep for days in advance. I had 24 for dinner this year and cooked three turkeys, four pies and oodles of other things. I had family stay for five days and loved every crazy, hectic minute of it. Nothing is better than being surrounded by those you love. And the food! I’m sure I gained five pounds over the past week!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Let’s call those “love” pounds ☺️ so glad you had such a lovely time! You deserves every bit of joy you get my dear friend. You spread so much of it around…

  6. I loved this post and wholeheartedly agree with your daily living with gratitude 🙂 I definitely am trying to be more mindful, enjoy and live in the moment, and show gratitude every single day ❤ Vanessa xxx

  7. Yes, we all have so much to be thankful for! And I am thankful for your lovely blog and photography. Happy Holidays Stéphane!

  8. Lovely post and happy Thanksgiving. Japan is about new years holidays when it comes to being with family and eating special dishes. However nowadays most of us (at least in Tokyo) tend to not cook them at home but order from shops and have them delivered.

    My mother is apparently rather happy that I order special new year dishes for our family so that she does not have to cook though she loves cooking in general (mostly French). There is a certain tediousness in preparing Japanese new year dishes I suppose.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Dear Ayako, your lovely comment is such a lovely reminder that I have readers in Japan. One of my favorite countries in the world! I don’t know if you read the 4 posts I wrote last year about your beautiful country. Here is a link to one of them:
      Have a lovely weekend!

      1. Thank you, Stéphane. I have read your lovely posts on Japan in the past though maybe not all. Your photos on what you saw here are just simply amazing. I’m so glad you speak highly of this country!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Thanks. I could truly see myself move to Japan one day. In the meantime I will do everything I can to promote it as best I can!

  9. Looks like a great dish, Stéphane!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  10. Gratitude is a code of conduct – I like that ! thank you !

    1. My French Heaven says:


  11. Dina says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
    Warm greetings from
    Dina, Klausbernd, Siri and Selma

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh thank you Dina! Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

  12. Katie Lynn says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you, your writings, and the dream of visiting you some day!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Well Katie, I’m thankful for you too! I know wéll meet someday 😉

  13. Well, THANK YOU for the inspiring recipe, my dear Stephane…. I will surely try it!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope you do my dear friend. So good to hear from you! 😉

  14. Happy Thanksgiving Stephane! This too is one of my favorite holidays. A time for reflection, a time to give thanks and be grateful. But I agree with you – it’s a way of being, it’s a way of living – we do – too often forget to give thanks for the little moments or sometimes find ourselves saying it too late. That’s why I love Thanksgiving – it makes us reflect on what we have…(be it a little or a lot) – but all of us can take the moment to find what is good in our lives and give thanks. I’m celebrate our Thanksgiving Saturday -and I’m looking forward to taking that time to reflect with my girls – not to mention enjoy Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce…mmm. Love your post and of course, your photos – what a wonderful way to give thanks!!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  15. fergie51 says:

    Such a beautiful post and stunning photos!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much!

  16. Such a wonderful sentiment expressed in this lovely post. Yes, let’s be thankful and enjoy all that life has to offer!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Amen dear Marlene. Amen!

  17. Andrea says:

    I will raise my glass(of red wine) and wish you a very happy holiday. It’s good to remember what we do have and be thankful for it. (Especially the furry creatures in our lives.)

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I feel that Sirus is about to leave me. I don’t think I’ll ever get another pet. It’s just too hard when they die. Especially when they’ve been a part of one’s life for so many years… Have a lovely day Andrea!

  18. lulu says:

    Gratitude is not something that is overrated yet we so often forget all that blesses our life.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      So true Linda, so true! 😉

  19. Linda Duffin says:

    Lovely dish, lovely message. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  20. housewifexhouselife says:

    French food and the French culture are things I’ve always long to capture. My mom lived there for a spell in college and brought with her the love of good food, good wine, and good company. I’m thankful that she passed that down to me. Lovely post.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m glad she did as well Melissa! Have a lovely day!

  21. ladyredspecs says:

    Your joie de vivre shines through every photo, every word you post Stephane. I am thankful for the beauty you share, it is the perfect anecdote to our crazy modern world. 😀

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh thank you my dear friend! Your words really touch me!

  22. Dawn says:

    Your heartwarming gratitude and joy flow from each post, Stephane! I love visiting here. Sending warm Thanksgiving blessings from the Midwest! ♡

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so very much dear Dawn!! 😉☺️

  23. Lovely thoughts….I want to share on my Facebook if that is okay with you

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Of course it is! Thank you! 😉

  24. Sarah Jane says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Stephan! Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs, delicious recipes and wonderful life with all of us!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome dear Sarah. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  25. Tori Kayson says:

    So true! Loved your post and even more so, your attitude. Every day is a gift to be treasured. xo

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you!

  26. Sandra says:

    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you too. We’re packing the car to head up to Vail with my daughter and son in law. Family and friends are everything. I’ll toast to you while I look at the Blue Sky Basin.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Be careful on the road Sandra. It must be snowing hart already. Have a lovely Thanksgiving my dear friend!

  27. Patty says:

    I am Thankful for you my friend. As we are so many miles apart I think of you so often, especially when I make your wonderful mushroom risotto. When I present Michael with a dish he says we should show Stephane, he would be proud. Thank you for your friendship and your inspiring blog.
    Jet’aime, Patty

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Je t’aime too my darling Patty! That picture Melinda took of you the other day is one of the most beutiful I’ve ever seen. It radiates love and friendship. I am so proud to call people like you my friends!!!

  28. Happy Thanksgiving! I enjoy your posts and I am thankful I found your blog. Your 21 year old kitty gives me hope that my 16 year old will live many more years. Oh the stories he must share with you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yep, we’ve been on a lot of adventures together. On two continents 😉

  29. Happy Thanksgiving Stephane, have a beautiful day, I love your photo’s as always and the food looks amazing as well.

  30. Such a beautiful post and wise and wonderful thoughts, Stephane. I love scallops so would love that meal; and foie gras!! Mmmm. Heaven. Your cat looks amazing for 21. I am a cat person but try not to embarrass myself by showing it too much 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and I always give thanks I found your joyful blog whenever a new post pops into my inbox.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      But you should show it! Cat people are the best! 😉 thanks for such a lovely comment! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

  31. Stephane, I feel your thankfulness in every post, so you’re not required to wait for a special day. Yes, I know you know that, but just wanted to say it, too. This recipe sounds wonderful and I’m planning to try it, perhaps at Christmas. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving whenever you celebrate it.


    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Janet. You too!!

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