Monday, September 22, 2008

The Transhumance: Part 2--A Long Lunch

Slid under windshield wipers at recent local markets, the leaflets promoting the transhumance listed a 15 euro lamb lunch to which we were asked to bring our own plates, cutlery and wine glasses, collectively known as couverts.

We forgot all of them. 

But, when there's a huge vide grenier in progress, you buy what you need. One friend scored an entire set of Laguiole cutlery for 10 euros. I found four gold-decorated plates for two. Someone else picked up five blanquette glasses. 

Inside a huge tent, tables were already set with paper cloths. Random sheep decorations hung from the ceiling. Outside, barely visible through the smoke, men manned charcoal barbecues in a manly way, flipping a dozen lamb chops at a time.

But first came a plate of charcuterie (see picture) including the nutty, chewy, ruby-coloured ham. Then, around came a big bowl of parslied potatoes speckled with large chunks of garlic and the first of the platters of grilled lamb. We got through several, all of it good, cooked medium-rare. Next came wedges of cheese and, finally, profiteroles and coffee. 

One thing we love about these long communal meals is how everyone is included. Little kids, teens, young couples, middle-aged people, old people, really old people, no one is marginalized as they might be in some countries. That, to me, is what community is all about.

Volunteers, usually older ladies, do all the work--and they do a splendid job, moving speedily back and forth bringing fresh baskets of bread, more bowls of potatoes, another platter of lamb chops and yet another carafe of wine.

Because wine was involved too, and lots of singing and dancing.

See next post.  

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