The Boise Report

Very much enjoying our stay in Boise, Idaho.
On Saturday I was invited to give a short performance at The Cabin, a Center for writers, readers — & performance, since the event was called: GHOSTS & PROJECTORS presents: The Poetry Speakeasy.

Otherwise, incredibly busy teaching / cooking / performing 3 classes to remarquable, attentive & generous students. My courses are 2 sections of a food & culture course for the Boise State Honors College: 

What Do We Eat? Why Do We Eat It? Where Does It Come From? How Do We Cook It?
While eating is the most common shared need of humankind, the great varieties of foods and cuisines serve not only our biological survival but also help to identify ourselves culturally. This course explores historical, economic, and ritual aspects of food, and looks at the role of cooking and eating in the context of the transformations of the world food system due to globalization, new technologies & migrations. Through lectures, demonstrations, films and hands-on preparation, students will learn to analyze their own food heritage while exploring local, national and international ingredients and their use. This very interactive —and tasty seminar— will also give you the basic skills to cook simple, healthy and affordable meals. You will learn knife skills, soup making, how to prepare party foods like crêpes or simple hors d’oeuvres, and how to plan menus for yourself and/or the family.

& one workshop for the English department —where Pierre is visiting writer in residence:

P P P : Practice Performance Poetry
As Jacques Roubaud writes: “Just about anything may be encountered in the guise of ‘performance poetry’: music, declamation, theatrical bits, acrobatics, ‘primal screams,’ and so on.” We will indeed explore the full range of poetry-in-action both theoretically & practically. Your active participation will be the key that will open the space for an experimental individual & collective heuristic practice. 
Our workshop type class emphasis is on practice. You will be making work in class & are expected to perform it. Be prepared to be immersed in the art of the act of doing from the moment you walk into class on day one. Practice will include working on skills that will help you connect with your voice & body as the instruments they are.
Through breathing techniques, voice warm-up, light stretches you will learn to develop & expand your creative & delivery powers, to trust & stretch your performative skills.
To substantiate this practice we will investigate a range of manifestos, movements and cultural contexts from paleolithic art to today’s performance art.

Life is on a slower pace here. The weather mild & dry, people extremely kind —& surprisingly liberal, food exquisite & to give it the perfect flavor a huge Basque community —some say about 20 000! ( see pictures below) So chorizo, pimiento, lamb dishes permeate many restaurant menus!
We were graced by Jerome & Diane Rothenberg visit. They came to talk to our classes & Jerome gave a wonderful reading —Video to be uploaded soon!

Happy Trails!

2016card

A Happy New Year to Y’all! May the force of health & creativity be with you!

        Given our family’s nomadic proclivities, permit us a little résumé of ‘15 & a preview of ‘16 as we are readying ourselves to drive to Boise, ID at dawn on the New Year’s first morning. (We will therefore, sadly, not be able to take part in the 2016 annual Poetry Project Marathon readin’ & eatin’ fest for the first time in many years.)

     2015 started with a late January trip for readings & performances to Israel & Palestine, that took us into February, followed in March by a trip to the West Coast, then in April we were in  Minneapolis and after a few weeks home in Bay Ridge we lit out for two months in Alt Europa, specifically the South of France: Nicole had a show of her artwork in the Galerie Edouard Paradis in Marseilles, then at the May/June cusp a literary festival “Les Eauditives” in Barjol to celebrate the publishing of the French edition of Bi-Valve by Plaine Page, followed in early June by a collaborative performance at the “Jardin des 5 sens et des Formes Premières” in Aix-en-Provence, followed in turn by readings in Paris around the marché de la Poésie. 

      On 30 June we landed back in Nueva York & five days later flew off to Durango, Mexico to the Encuentro Internacional de “Escritores José Revueltas,” to celebrate the publication of Pierre’s Mawqif: Poemas y ensayos (Selected poems & essays). We then happily spent the remainder of the summer here with moult visits to Coney Island beaches.


Above is a 4 minutes résumé of Nicole & Pierre’s summer

    Pierre would fly off to Paris & Luxembourg in early September to get to work on the first of his shows as resident author of the Luxembourg National Theater— a show that premiered in early late October to excellent notices form the Luxembourg media. Meanwhile Nicole had also returned to Europe & we both did readings and talks at the University of Mulhouse, and in late October a joint reading in Toulouse under the aegis of our good friend Serge Pey. It was fun once again reading in the Cave Poésie a place we had worked in many years earlier.

    Nicole had already spent a few weeks in October in Luchon in pre-production of Things Fall Where They Lie a film she then shot during the first ten days of November: an amazing, tiring, inspiring experience with Nicole as director & Pierre as gofer & an excellent team including Steve Dalachinsky & Yuko Otomo, Eric Sarner and Katalin Pataki as protagonists and crew including Asa Westcott, Zia Anger,  Agnès Mathon, Jean-Louis Peyrafitte & in co production with Ecran Sud. While Nicole stayed in Luchon for an extra week to wrap things up, Pierre went off to Paris to be interviewed for a film on Osip Mandelstam & Paul Celan & was thus in that City on Friday 13. We flew back to New York on the 22nd. Also in 2015 Nicole had great the opportunity to perform with Michael Bisio, Connie Crothers, Steve Swell, Jason Hwang, Trio Erms, Denis Brun, Armoire Normande, Yoshiko Chuma. And we are now preparing our 4-months move to Boise Idaho. 

    2016 Preview:  At BSU Nicole will be teaching two courses, on on food and culture called What Do We Eat? Why Do We Eat It? Where Does It Come From? How Do We Cook It? & another one: Poetry Perfromance Practice, while Pierre teaches a grad seminar on poetry & poetics. We have already done out best to surround us with friends: in early February Jerry & Diane Rothenberg will be coming in to go to both our seminars & for Jerry to do a talk & reading; in late March Habib Tengour will come in from Paris for a 2-day conference Pierre is organizing around Arab literature & translation (More details t..b.a.).

    While Nicole will be off to the Coast at some point for performance & readings, Pierre will be doing a talk & reading at the U of Oklahoma in March or April. We will both be performing at The New Orleans Poetry Festival on April 16.

Meanwhile, son Miles, who finished his first feature film, As You Are, in November, on which his brother Joseph is producer & post-production editor, had the film accepted at the Sundance Festival in the US drama section competition. We will drive down to Park City from Boise to witness the premiere on January 25. 

FamPix2015

    During the first week of May we will drive back (the Northern route through the Dakotas) to Nueva York, where after 10 days or so we’ll switch suitcases and then Pierre will be off to Luxembourg for work on the second play, a 3-act drama, that will premiere at the LNT on 14 June, while Nicole will wing it to Luchon where she has a one month one-woman show of her art plus performances June1-30. Après, on verra… Home in Bay Ridge would, we are sure, feel very, very welocme by then. dreaming of Coney Island beaches…

    Don’t worry, the car has been perfectly winterized, fitted out with 4 brand-new Michelin all-weather tires. We will of course keep you updated on the various twists our paths will take in 2016. We are planning to give updates of the road trip on Facebook/Blogs/Instagram….follow us!

   Bona anada, feliz anno nuevo, bonne année, e schei’nt neit Jo’er, a nappy ewe’s ear, & however else you want to say it,

Pierre & Nicole

Chia Seeds Pudding (Fr/Eng)


(Video in French – Recipe in english below)

Dans la série “recettes pour mes parents,” aujourd’hui: Le pudding au Tofu Soyeux aux graines de Chia.
C’est encore une recette très rapide (environ 8 minutes), ne requiert aucune cuisson, n’a ni produit laitier, ni sucre ajouté et est très pauvre en glucide.
J’utilise les graines de chia depuis peu. Ces graines magiques étaient cultivées par les Aztèques avant Christophe Colomb. Elles avaient presque disparues, car leur utilisation religieuse aurait poussé les conquistadors espagnols à s’en prendre à cette culture. Elles sont très riches en fibres, ont une forte teneur en acide alpha-linolénique (du groupe oméga-3),  en antioxydants, en protéines et sont pauvres en glucides.
Les graines de chia sont onéreuses, mais heureusement très avantageuses.

Ingredients:

Tofu Soyeux – 450 gr
Chair ou pulpe de Noix de Coco   -2 grosses cuillères à soupe
Noix de Cajou – 1 poignée
Le zeste d’un citron rapé
Graines de Chia – 1 C à soupe
Stevia – selon le goût mais: attention! deviens amer si on en met trop
Vanille- 1/2 gousse
Cannelle -selon le goût

In the series “recipes for my parents,” today :  Chia Seeds & Tofu Pudding.
This is a very quick recipe (took me about 8 minutes) & it doesn’t require any cooking, no dairy, no added sugar et very low carbohydrate.
I started using chia seeds recently. These magic seeds were cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times. They almost got eradicated, as their religious use would have enticed the conquistadors to ban them.
Their nutritional benefits include fiber, omega fatty acids (omega-3), calcium, antioxidants, protein & they are low glycemic.
They are a bit expensive — though they do expand in volume.

Ingredients:

English
Silken Tofu – 1lb
Coconut Mana 3 generous tablespoons —or to taste
Cashew nuts – 1/2 cup
One lemon grated
Chia Seeds – 1 Tablespoon
Stevia to taste
Vanilla-  1/2 bean scraped
Cinnamon to taste

 

 

Menus & Video for Jean & Renée

This blog is in French because it is for my parents  who keep asking me about low glycemic menus.
Below a first set of menu & a video for my coleslaw recipe, all in French.  Though the coleslaw recipe in English is here.

Idées de menus avec index glycémique bas pour Jean & Renée Peyrafitte

Tout  les jours au réveil:
1 verre d’eau tiède avec quelques gouttes de citron bio

LUNDI

Déjeuner
-Côtelettes grillées ou poêlées avec lentilles
Faire sauter légèrement oignons, céleri, ail, persil, un anchois ou deux hachés,  et ajouter sel poivre et lentilles et eau bien sûr! Cuire. Au moment de servir, ajouter un filet d’huile d’olive et du persil frais.
-Yaourt Nature avec cannelle moulue
de préférence chèvre ou brebis avec graines de courges, tournesol, lin. Les faire sauter séparément dans une poêle chaude — attention les graines sautent!

Dîner
-Soupe de légumes
suggestions: pas de pommes de terre (index glycémique très élevé) ), en hiver oignons, chou, champignons, poireaux, 1 petite carotte, 1 panais, navet, citrouille, topinambours, blettes, ail , persil… en été seulement: tomates, courgettes.
Pour y donner de l’épaisseur y ajouter soit: des graines de Chia, de l’orge, de l’avoine entière, du seigle entier ou du sarrasin entier; ces graines donneront de l’épaisseur et bon goût! On peut aussi rajouter haricots adzuki qui n’ont pas besoin de tremper.

-Salade Composée
Exemples:
Varier la verdure: roquette, laitue, romaine, endives
Ajouter: oignons, céleri, radis, persil, avocat, oeuf dur, thon, haricots, lentilles, pois chiches
Varier les vinaigrettes
-huile d’olive et citron
-vinaigrette aux anchois
-vinaigrette asiatique avec gingembre, sauce soja, vinaigre de riz, ail, huile de sesame
-vinaigrette au roquefort pour salade d’endives
Varier les huiles: Huile de Sésame, d’Olive, de Colza. et toujours bio pressées à froid
-Fromage des Pyrénées avec une demi Pomme non pelée

MARDI

Déjeuner
-Sardines avec rondelles d’oignons
-Omelette au Fromage/ ou Oeufs cocotte/ ou Oeufs aux plat
-Epinards vapeur au beurre frais
-Poire

Dîner
-Soupe de Lundi
-Chou Cru en Salade ( voir video)
-Tranche de Jambon d’York naturel ( sans conservateur)
-Yaourt

 MERCREDI

Déjeuner
-Poisson poché ou à la poêle
-Purée de pois chiches ou de haricots
Après les avoir fait tremper, faire cuire des pois chiches ou haricots nature (préparez-en beaucoup à la fois — ça se congèle très bien).
Faites blondir des oignons, du poireau, du céleri, du thym, du persil, rajouter assez de liquide pour faire chauffer et passer à la moulinette pour une consistance de purée.
Servir avec herbes fraîches et oignons crus ciselés en garniture et un filet de très bonne huile d’olive et quelques olives kalamata si ce sont des haricots blancs
-Pomme Verte (avec peau) avec un morceau de Fromage

Dîner
-Potage de potiron maison ou soupe de lentilles avec les restes de lundi
-Salade composée (voir suggestion de lundi)
Pudding de graine de chia (recette à venir! en attendant mangez un yaourt!)

JEUDI

Déjeuner
-Poulet Rôti
-Chou Fleur Sauté ou chou de Bruxelles ou topinambours et champignons sautés
-Compote de pomme maison cuite sans sucre et avec la peau!

Dîner
-Viande froide
-Salade composée
-Yaourt

VENDREDI

Déjeuner
-Poisson poché, à la poêle ou au four
-Chou de Bruxelles ou haricots verts avec une noix de beurre frais bio
-Fromage avec pomme

Dîner
-Soupe avec restes de la carcasse de Poulet
-Salade Composée
-Yaourt 

SAMEDI

Déjeuner
-Avocat vinaigrette
-Rôti de veau avec haricots blancs ou rouges ou noirs (faire une variation de mercredi)
-Kiwi

Dîner
-Soupe de pois cassés
-Carottes râpées assaisonnées au citron, ail, huile d’olive
-Yaourt

DIMANCHE

Déjeuner
-Radis beurre
-Morue aux Poireaux et Topinambours
Acheter de la très bonne morue et la dessaler 12 heures et changer l’eau souvent.
Mettez la morue dans une grande casserole et recouvrez-la d’eau froide (non salée, bien sûr). Portez à ébullition très doucement; retirez la casserole du feu dès le premier frémissement, couvrez et laissez pocher 10 minutes.  Égouttez. Faire revenir les poireaux et des oignons dans de l’huile d’olive avec un peu de beurre.
Couper les topinambours en cubes. S’ils sont frais pas besoin de les peler; les gratter avec une brosse dure.
Dans un plat à gratin beurré, mélanger morue, topinambours, poireaux, oignons. Ajouter de la bonne crème fraîche, bien poivrer, bien mélanger et cuire au four environ 1 heure. S’il y a des restes: Rajouter de l’eau et/ou un peu de lait, mouliner et voilà  un potage délicieux! Servir avec du persil frais en garniture.
-Poire avec un morceau de très bon camembert ou brie

Dîner
-Soupe de légumes au miso et aux algues
Faire revenir légèrement de l’oignon, du chou haché fin, du céleri, de l’ail, du gingembre frais haché. Rajouter l’eau et 1/2 tasse d’algues Wakamé que vous aurez fait tremper quelques minutes dans le d’eau, 1 cuillère (ou 2) à soupe de sauce soja.
Ne pas cuire très longtemps, 20 minutes suffisent. Au dernier moment y rajouter la pâte miso et bien remuer. Ne jamais faire bouillir le miso, il perdrait toute valeur nutritive.
– Quinoa avec beurre frais (on peut aussi l’ajouter à la soupe)
– Pudding de graine de chia (recette à venir! en attendant mangez du Fromage blanc!)
Si vous avez des suggestions et/ou des questions merci de laisser un commentaire  ci-dessous et  en attendant:
Bon appétit!

Méchoui or Whole Lamb on a Spit

Cooking on a spit was the theme of Pierre’s 65th birthday. After the cake on the spit (see previous blog here),  voilà the lamb on the spit a.k.a méchoui! According to the Robert historique de la langue Française the origin of the word méchoui is: “Borrowed (1912) from the Arabic maghrebien mešwi “roasted, grilled; lamb roasted on a spit”, past participle of šawa (شوى ), to roast, to grill”.   This dish is very popular in North Africa where  Pierre lived several years.

As we still are in the village of Bourg d’Oueil, in the heart of the French Pyrenees, the lamb will be  provided by no one else than our neighbors & friends, the Jamme family.  The 17 kgs (37,5 lbs) lamb, fetched from the nearby mountains a few days before, is “un broutard” or a “grazer”; that is a lamb that had passed the nursing stage and is already grazing. And now the photo log of an another amazing communal food experience:


The day before our friend André brought very dry wood he had split for the occasion & the spit that Marc had fetched from Yves the butcher. In the late afternoon I went to the Jamme’s house to rub the lamb with a thick marinade of olive oil, garlic, wild thyme, salt & piment d’Espelette (chili pepper from the basque country); then we returned the lamb to rest overnight in the walk-in cooler.

Now we went to the village hall multipurpose room to set up the tables. The meal will be inside, since we knew the weather was not going to be warm enough. As no rain was forecast, so the aperitif will be served outside. With Sylvia Gorelick —who made all the bouquets with wild flowers she had gathered in the fields near by— Marie Jeanne Jamm, — who brought additional sheets to cover the tables— Maïté & Michou — Pierre’s sister — set up a beautiful banquet table for 50 people. The event was becoming more elaborate as I had planned.  As we got closer to the date the eating of the birthday lamb as a casual outdoor buffet turning into an elaborate banquet.

On d-day: I am up at 7:30 am to set up for the méchoui. My neighbors Robi & farmer Roland Jamme (remember him from the cake) arrived shortly thereafter. Together we start the fire, strategize and go get the lamb prepped as best as we can to avoid any complication during cooking.

That’s it! it is 9:45am the beast is on the spit, as we have a manual spit, it is going to be crucial to have someone monitoring, turning & basting —w/the same marinade as above— the lamb & adding coals to the fire. Robi & Roland have set up a second fire next to the méchoui were they burn logs to turn them into charcoal, which they add under our lamb in order to keep an even fire.


I had nothing to worry about as Robi, Roland & now Pierre were fully in charge of the lamb. Accompanied by the same crew as last night we are setting up for cocktail hour & hors d’oeuvres. Joseph Garcès, who was Maitre d’H at the family hôtel for 14 years, came right on time to slice the magnificent bellota ham —acorn fed pig—  shipped to us by my nephew Vincent from a small Spanish farm. I had also prepared salads of heirloom tomatoes and organic haricots-vert that we set up on the table along with the ham. The fragrant cantaloupe from the Gers will be passed around once people are seated.

 It is around 12pm and guests are filling in. They are “appetizing” on cherry tomatoes, patés, salamis, radishes —here my 89 year old father is particularly enjoying them— while sipping the pleasant Marquisette, a cocktail make by Maïté & Robi — wine, vanilla bean, lime & seltzer, served by Marie-Jeanne Peyroulan an old time friend who came from a near valley with her son Teo who played a lot of “Quiller” —an ancient version of bowling— with my adorable niece Lou.


It is now 1 pm and the lamb is cooked! My brother Jean-Louis will assist Roland, Robi & Marc for the carving while my nieces Mag & Isa will pass the cut meat to the guests. To serve with the lamb, my friend Paulette made the most tasty Pistache Luchonnaise ever—a white bean & lamb stew with pork rind — a specialty of the Comminges region— Paulette’s Pistache almost stole the show from the Méchoui and the cóca! Unfortunately no pictures were taken as every body was too busy eating. We had seconds & some had thirds. We took a little break and had a cheese course. Not any kind of cheese, no, a Poubeau cheese if you please! Read about it here. It was a perfectly aged one; Joseph Garcès is on a “cheese plan”; that is that he reserves a full wheel six months in advance and lets it age in the cheese maker’s cave. Joseph offered his reserved wheel to Pierre for his birthday party!


It is now about 4pm and about time to present the birthday boy with his very special cake. After singing Happy Birthday, we serve the cake with crème anglaise, all the details about the incredible ancient cake are here. More singing was done by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Sylvia Gorelick, and a special tribute to Pierre by Joan-Francès Tisner & family who had come all the way from the Béarn. After coffee, Armagnac & Mirabelle —Thank you Michou & Julien for bringing the real stuff from Luxembourg! — it was about 6pm when the last guest left!

All of this could not have happend without the  amazing help of the family & a tight community of friends. Special thanks to the Jamme Family, Joseph Garcès & Paulette, Robi Castebrunet & Maïté, Conso, Michou, Marie-Jeanne, Domenja, Marie-Jo,  my parents Jean & Renée Peyrafitte, the Toucouère family, André, Marc & my brothers: Jean-Louis for his carving assistance and Pierre for the pix, Miles, Sylvia, all the wonderful guests & last but not least to Pierre whose birthday gave me a great opportunity to throw a party. MERCI!

Photo credit: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte & Nicole Peyrafitte

Fire up 2011

BONA ANANDA   GLÉCKLECHT NEIT JOER   BONNE ANNEE
HAPPY NEW YEAR  새해복 많이 받으세요

Switching year is always exciting and this is how we  FIRE UP 2011!


Poem Pierre Joris—Video N.P.

Thank you for reading the blog and the most read pots of the years are:

Charles Bernstein Poetic Birthday Buffet

Ninkasi: “The Lady who fills the Mouth”

Three Sisters Soup

Lo Magret goes to Paris!

29000 years ago…and Paleo Lunch

Fast Poulet

Squids Part I: Clean & Keep the Ink

Squids Part II: Kept the Ink ? Now Cook with It!

What was your favorite? Love to know. Merci & Bonne Année!

In Pétéram We Trust!

In the county of Luchon (where I was born and raised) we are really serious about Pétéram. Pétéram is an ancient local dish made from a combination of tripe (intestine & pluck), lamb  & veal feet, ham, carrots & onions. During my last visit  home I had to have my fix of Pétéram; so one Sunday, part of the family took off to the village of Oô, where the restaurant “Les Spigeoles” serves one of the best Pétéram. Jean-Pierre Oustalet, a friend & the chef-0wner of the establishment, is a very creative man always up to something fun. Recently he printed a series of t-shirts  with  the motto he coined himself: “In Peteram We Trust!”.

peteram t-shirt

This summer a Flemish  TV from Belgium came to film Jean-Pierre’s Pétéram for one of their shows. Though the video is in Flemish & French I urge you to watch it: Touristique: de pétéram.
Tripe dishes are cooked around the world (list here), and as we know
these less desired cuts were left for the poor. It was the same for Pétéram, I don’t think it appeared on restaurant menus in Luchon until the 20th century and my family restaurant was certainly one of the first to offer it. Though I don’t know the exact etymology of the word, one can read its the humble origins through the Gascon language  : petar— French translation: “crever” or in English:”to die” or “to be famished” and hame— in French “faim” or in English “hungry” Thus Pétéram can be interpreted as “a dish for the famished” or as a dish that will kill hunger! Then again this may be an invented etymology (much work remains to be done on the Gascon language, and especially certain of its regional versions, such as that spoken in the Luchonais.) On the other hand, to quote my husband, the poet Pierre Joris, “are any etymologies really ‘false’?”
I used to make Pétéram when I was working at the family restaurant (other posts related to the family hotel here) and though we received “clean” tripe from the butcher, the smell was still strong and the tripe would require extensive blanching in order to get rid of the offensive smell. I got used to it and it didn’t bother me, except this one time. In the late fall of 1981, I had to cut a big pile of intestines and honeycomb for my Pétéram and  that time, for some reason I was to discover a few days later, I couldn’t bear the smell. T
wo days later I found out I was pregnant with my son Joseph. Throughout my pregnancy I had to stay away from tripes.

Jean Pierre Oustalet’s Pétéram is as good as it gets. He achieves the difficult task of making a tripe dish light. The texture of the tripe still firm but tender. The sauce, in which the tripe have cooked for over twelve hours, release the rich and comforting aromas of all the ingredients. The creamy potatoes that have been added late in the cooking provide the perfect starching effect. Some places serve it as a first course, though we had it as a main course. We had soup to start with, then a plate of artisan salamis & cured ham, followed by the Pétéram as the main course. Then we had a slice of delicious mountain cheese, a slice of apple pie and voilà! we sure were full and happy! Below are a few pictures of the fun outing where you can see my parents : Jean & Renée Peyrafitte ( 88 and 81 years old!) in the gorgeous village of Oô. This village is also very dear to me because I premiered my performance The Bi-Continental Chowder /La Garbure Transcontinentale there in 2005. One of the reason is that one of the main Romanesque female figures featured in the show is from the village;  you can hear the song related to it here.

The recipe is a translation of the family recipe transmitted by my grandfather Joseph Peyrafitte & typed by my mother Renée Peyrafitte:

for 5/6 people:
1 lamb stomach & 6  feet 1 kg veal honeycomb & 2 feet
3 carrots whole
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 ham bone
1 bouquet garnis of thym, laurel & parsley
1 cup of ham prosciutto like— diced
2 onions
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 kg potatoes
Hachis (50 gr garlic & 50 gr fatback grounded together)
1/3 cup Armagnac

Blanch and scrape the tripes thoroughly. Cut the stomach & honeycomb in trips of about 1 x 0.5 inches. Place is all in a stew-pot with a ham bone.
Add 3 whole carrots, the bouquet garnis, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 cup of ham, 2 onions whole, salt, pepper & a touch of nutmeg. Add wine wine & chicken stock so tripes are immersed and “swimming”.
Bring it to a boil, cover the pot and let cook for 10 hours, one hour before serving add potatoes peeled and quartered.
When ready to serve add hachis and the Armagnac.



Stade Jean Peyrafitte


Luchon’s Mayor Louis Ferré & Jean Peyrafitte

On Saturday November 13th, 2010 the soccer stadium in my hometown of Luchon (French Pyrenees) was named the Stade Jean Peyrafitte. Jean Peyrafitte is my father and today he is a dashing 88 years old. His political career lasted for a span of 24 years.  Among many mandates the most significant are: mayor of the town of Luchon (1974-1995); Conseiller Général —county executive— (1977-1992) & Senator (1980-1998).

He was of course touched to be honored during his lifetime but the real thrill was to have the soccer field where he played as a young man named after him. Dad started his soccer career while he was in boarding school in Toulouse; during that time he finished second at the regional best young player contest and therefore was qualified to participate in the final in Paris.  Unfortunately his mother, who was a control freak, didn’t allow him to go; her excuse was: “You are too young to go to Paris”, at that time parental authority was not challenged but I still can feel today how sad he was .

Team Bagnères Luchon Sport 1942

When he was done with school he came back to his hometown and integrated the lead soccer team (équipe première) despite his young age. In 1942 the team won the division championship and managed to play up to the 32th final of the Coupe de France — the French National Soccer Cup. After an intense and dramatic game they lost against Toulouse, a pro team. It was only in the last part of the second half that the then international player Mario Zatelli scored twice.

After being requisitioned for STO — that was the Compulsory Work Service during the German occupation of France — and spending a couple of dreadful years in German factories, my father got drafted in 1946 to serve in  the army. His battalion was stationed in the town of Menton. There he got to join the town soccer team where he once again excelled.  He got noticed by the Monaco managers.  At that time the Monaco soccer team, very close to Menton, was trying to reach professional status. On Mondays during the soccer season they organized friendly games against professional teams in order to prepare for promotion.  They needed better players and they invited my dad to play. At the end of the year they reached promotion to pro level and they offered dad to join the team for good. He seriously considered; he was done with the army, loved the area but once again his mother thwarted his dreams and pressured him to come home. Many times I heard the story of my grand father showing up in Menton to convince him to come back home. Dad was an only child, and they were able to pressure him by claiming  they needed help with the family business; once again he obeyed and returned.

Other offers to play in professional clubs came, but he turned them all down, returned home for good and threw himself into many successful ventures. Before getting into politics, he coached the soccer team, created a night club —where I got to listen to great jazz!—, wrote for local newspapers, promoted Southern French Tourism and food, created an independent hotel chain with friends…well the list would be too long to name them all.

Team Bagnères Luchon Sport 1942

Anyhow, back to the naming of the stadium: Dad being concerned that his voice would not be strong enough since he is struggling with light bouts of Parkinsons that have an effect on his throat, and as he is also concerned with getting over-emotional, he asked me to read his speech. I also typed it for him and that was interesting. When I arrived at his house on Tuesday the dining room was cluttered with boxes, old files, envelopes filled with photos, articles and various dossiers. My mom said: “And that is only a small portion of what we have”! We sat down and started sorting and organizing. We kept all the soccer related documents at hand so dad could refresh his memory to write his speech. We only started typing the speech on Thursday, because we got caught up in looking and filing photos of his night club in the 50’s. I will have to do a separate post on that because there is way too much to say.


So on Thursday we sat side by side and he started dictating me what he wanted to say. I had to listen to many of my dads speeches over the years so I know his style pretty well. I helped trying to keep it concise and focused as he had about 5 minutes to respond to the mayor’s speech. It went pretty well despite how opinionated we both can be. One of the keys was to keep it only between the two of us. He wanted my mother around, for details and dates, but their constant fighting mode of communication would have been too much for me, so I agreed to go consult with mom every time we needed details. He worked on the speech everyday until Saturday. He is a perfectionist and completion comes when there is no more time for revision! Anyhow, everything turned out great. It was a very sweet moment, both my brothers where there too and in his speech my dad mentioned  that his three children had played on that field. Pierre played goalie, he actually had a bit of a carrier in Paris, Jean-Louis played forward and I was part of the first woman’s team of the town! Dad also mention that his father Joseph Peyrafitte had been at the origin of the stadium.  He had been a team manager when my dad played and in the thirties it was he who actually had facilitated the transfer of the stadium to this location and part of the land had been his at some point.

Team BLS 2010 with Jean Peyrafitte Family & Louis Ferré & Serge Santiveri


Below are many pictures of the moving ceremony with all of us. The ceremony was followed by a soccer game where the local team (now playing in a lower division) won 3-0. It looks like they felt inspired by the brillant history — may they begin their rise to a great future. To conclude as my dad did: Vive le Bagnères-Luchon Sport (the name of the team!) —Photo
© Domy-Luchon

29000 years ago…and Paleo Lunch


It is humbling and powerful to walk through the entry arch of the Gargas Cave. For thousands upon thousands of years humans have entered the cave through this very opening. The Cave of Gargas is situated in the central Pyrenees, 40 minutes away from my hometown. Though mostly famous for its panels of stenciled hands dating from the Gravettian period (between 28,000 and 22,000 years ago) Yoan Rumeau, curator of the cave, explains that the cave has seen traffic for way longer than that, and even though the hands are the more dramatic artifacts, the engravings —probably from the Magdalenian period— are extremely complex and deserve serious attention and studies. Tribes of nomad people moved around the “Perigord triangle” and came to visit this cave periodically. This theory is supported by the similarity of tools found in the archeological digs.

Gargas

Personally, I was mostly interested in looking at  feminine representations and Yoan Rumeau was extremely kind to tailor the visit according to my interests.  All of these representations are incredible, but the most breathtaking for me was a 5 inch natural vertical opening in the rock that has been reddened with  iron oxyde pigment. It looks exactly like a vulva: from the texture, to the wetness, to the bulging, to the color, it was intensely “real.” I will expand on this visit at another time but the  energy it gave off, plus the visual and scholarly information gathered fed my research & concerns about the Vulvic Space/Knowledge.  This project is inspired by the work of Carolee Schneemann and will include a manisfesto, paintings, texts & performance. Hopefully there will be more on this later. I want to thank Yoan Rumeau for his explanations and the way he so generously gave of his time.

High from the visit I stopped at my brother Pierre’s — he and his partner Christine live quite close to the cave. In fact, Christine ran the cave’s restaurant  for years, though she is now retired and the restaurant is defunct. The photo with the Gargas painted sign is taken from their home. As it was 3:30PM when I arrived, Christine and Pierre had lunched already. I was really hungry and Pierre offered to cook me a palombe (ringdove or wild pigeon) in his fireplace. The birds had been shot on Sunday and brought as a present by his friend Henry Christophe, hunter and journalist. Pierre trussed the bird with a nice slice of lard, brushed it with some oil and piment d’Espelette —chili from the basque country—, salted it and then hung it in front of a roaring fire.

While we had some red wine we occasionally tapped the bird to make sure all sides cooked evenly.  25/30 minutes later we judged it done,  Pierre cut it in a half and said “all yours!” Christine took the pan that had collected the drippings, reduced the juices on the stove for a few minutes and poured it over my bird.

The cooking was simply perfect, moist, gamy but not too strong. I took my time, savored each bite and left the bones clean. I also had to be careful not to break my teeth on the tiny bullet. What a delight!

For dessert I had Christine’s scrumptious  home made quince jelly with fresh walnuts and then tea and a piece of local tourte —a kind of fragrant pound cake. I left the village of Aventignan (where the caves are) fully satiated with images, smells and tastes that made me feel like I had traveled through time. I was an ancient woman driving through the narrow valley where the white peaks defied the Prussian blue sky.

Photos by Pierre Peyrafitte

Poet’s Lunch

Since Pierre‘s commute to Albany is a little brutal this semester, I try to alleviate it by packing him lunch. I always loved packing food to take away, and when I worked in Manhattan I packed my lunch everyday.
I also have very vivid memories from the time when I was  a child and we were packing picnics for the hotel residents going on day trips. The family hotel being a 4-star establishment, you can imagine how elaborate that was. Prepackaged item didn’t exist, so for salt, pepper, sugar, mustard  & cornichons, we would make cute little pockets out of parchment paper.  The beautiful cuts of salami, jambon de pays (prosciutto), jambon blanc (cooked ham), roast beef, chicken, cheeses — yeah! lots of proteins— were carefully wrapped in parchment paper attached with butcher string. Seasonal fruits were added on top, a bottle of wine, bottle of mineral water and a fresh baguette stuck to the side of the basket.

I also remember my grandfather Joseph packing my picnic for the end of the year elementary school field trip. I requested sandwiches & Coca-Cola. Bon-Papa Joseph went along with the sandwiches but absolutely vetoed  the Coca-Cola telling me that that stuff was so efficient in cleaning metal surfaces that he didn’t want my stomach to be subjected to the same treatment. Instead, he filled an empty bottle with some wine, water and sugar.  I was around 9 or 10 years old and I remember like if it was yesterday that after eating lunch, my friend Françoise Gerdessus and I took a pedal boat ride and I felt pretty funny and happy… I was drunk! I lost my wallet that day and I never forgot that Françoise shared her pocket money with me. Anyhow, Pierre’s lunch made me travel back to childhood and my unconscious might be thinking of that crew of school friends that are going to gather soon for a school reunion that I will not make this year!

Voilà! Pierre’s lunch is a little more balanced:

Cold oven roasted chicken
Cuke salad
(with no rice)
Apple sauce (Pierre’s ultimate comfort food)
2 slices of Amy’s bread

All packed in this cute lunch box my daughter in law got for us in Korea, where packing lunch is a serious affair… but no room for the bottle of wine!