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Roses and Thorns… Roses and Thorns


Disclaimer: I drop the F bomb a lot in this particular blog.

Remember when I told you guys about that game that my friend Diandra and I play with our children? In case you didn’t read that blog, the idea behind the game to teach the children that life is filled with roses and thorns and how you deal with it is the true test.

Well, this past week has definitely been filled with roses and thorns. I didn’t actually deal with it all very well but I tried, I really did.

In all honesty, I definitely find myself in a battle with myself always saying to myself, “Be kind, don’t say anything rude, don’t judge others, have patience, stay polite.” Most days, this is a challenge.

Let’s start with last week… I had to go to the hospital again to visit a pulmonologist to see where my breathing levels are at. The new pulmonologist asked me about 100 questions regarding “my condition.” You would think that a pulmonologist would be familiar with ALS since respiratory failure is how one kicks the bucket with ALS. You would think that they would have mentioned this at medical school. My pulmonologist acted as if this is the first time he had ever heard of it. I was teaching him. Subsequently, our entire visit was filled with me rolling my eyes and breathing the word “moron” under my breath. And then the little angel on my shoulder pipes in and says, “Be kind, don’t judge, maybe your disease is rare and not an everyday occurrence in the pulmonology ward.” So I had that to grapple with on Tuesday.

The rest of the week was spent hating Paris. I decided I hate all this stone. I hate all of the perfectly manicured gardens. I hate that dogs have to be on leashes. I hate that Parisians don’t return calls and that they consider their jobs an annoyance outside of their weekends. Just as I was about to fire off two rude emails to the real estate agents at Emile Garcin for their ineptitude, I had to remind myself, “Be kind, don’t judge, maybe they don’t get paid enough to return your calls. Maybe your flippant urge to move to Normandy is not a high priority for them.” I found myself wanting to move back to New York City where people are just regular assholes but at least you get an Everything Bagel out of it. So that was Wednesday through Friday.

I tried to cheer myself up on Saturday by going to the flea market. I love 95% of all of the vendors at the flea market but there’s that 5% that just piss me the fuck off. These are the ones that think that their goods are worth their weight in gold. Sometimes I think to myself, “Do I need to remind you that you are selling shit on a sidewalk, Sir?” Be kind, Ellie, be kind…Yes, they are selling shit on a sidewalk and that cannot be exactly a joy, so be kind. I decided to just get myself out of the situation and leave this crappy brocante and just go to where the good stuff is, the March aux Puces. My spirits were lifted because I found high quality items at a justifiable price. Not cheap but then again why do I want cheap items for my little shop? If I want quality, I know that you guys want quality as well. So Sunday turned into a rose...For about a minute.

Saturday afternoon I found myself walking through Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. And by walking I mean my caregivers pushing me in my wheelchair. I was accompanied by my husband. I didn’t even really want to go out because lately I’ve been tired or maybe just bored. We passed by one of my favorite churches so I decided to go in and ask God to take away my ALS. Is that called wishful thinking or what! But I still did it. As I was saying my prayers, a Romanian Gypsy walked right in front of me, interrupted my prayers with her 12-year-old son who was in a stroller and asked me for money. My response: “For the love of God, are you kidding me? Can’t you see that I’m having a serious conversation with God right now? Do you see this wheelchair? Do you see this breathing machine and why is your near adult kid in a fucking stroller?” The kid wasn’t handicapped, I checked. She got the hint and kept walking. Literally two seconds later I thought, “Oh my God, Ellie, you failed the test. God tested you right smack dab in the middle of the church and you failed. What if that Romanian Gypsy was Jesus in disguise and you just shut him down. Be kind, Ellie, be kind. Do you really think that that woman wants to be begging for money on a Saturday with her kid at a church? She probably has some abusive threatening husband 5 feet outside of the church waiting for her to come back with euros… Or else! You should have just smiled at her and given her the money. Her kid is probably not even in school, for fuck’s sake. Even though you have ALS, you have a warm home, food on the table and a daughter that is receiving an education.” And it’s true, I should have been more loving even though the Gypsy was totally annoying. I should have been the better person. And then I thought, “OMG, I get it.”

And yet, I was tested again. One block from the safety of my apartment we unexpectedly encountered my sister-in-law on the street next to the garden. She was on her way to take her two children to play. You might not know this but I absolutely despise my sister-in-law. And it’s totally justified, trust me. Just before I was about to give her the evil eye, the little angel on my shoulder said, “Ellie, check yourself.” So I did, I did the right thing. I just kept my hat down, avoided eye contact with her, and said hello to her children (it’s not their fault). I am sure that God would have wanted me to do more… Probably say hello to her or something but I’m doing the best I can.

On Sunday there was an event in Paris where no cars were allowed. That’s a great concept except I hate concepts. Secondly, all of the Parisians overly took advantage of a car free Paris. They all felt it necessary and “their government given right” to walk down the streets in the opposite direction just because they could which totally annoyed me. And to top that, most of them were rollerblading which you know I hate when adults rollerblade. It was a hard day for me.

On Sunday afternoon, I found myself in yet another church. This is the church that I go to every weekend. It’s my safe place. I explain the whole story of this church in my book which is almost finished, by the way! Anyway, as I was saying my prayers, this woman starts coughing. It wasn’t regular coughing… She definitely had the bubonic plague combined with bronchitis, Ebola and some form of hepatitis. She most likely should’ve been admitted to the hospital, but no, here she was at church coughing all over everyone. She finally got up and went to the back of the church but her coughing continued and it was ricocheting through the entire church. Why didn’t she just go outside, for fuck’s sake! Step outside, lady! And then I caught myself… “Ellie, be nice, just pray for her.” Why is this so hard!

Why is all of this so complicated for me? I have no idea. I think I over-think things. I judge too easily and I don’t have a lot of sympathy or empathy. I wish I could be more like my husband… Completely oblivious. Sometimes I just think as Oprah says, “If you know better, do better.” Why can’t people just do to better if they know better? The flea market vendors, the real estate agents, my sister-in-law, the Romanian Gypsy, the church cougher… And myself included.

My friend, Yolanda, has this uncanny ability to call me exactly when I need her to call me. She always sets me straight with the right advice. Mostly her advice is, “lower your expectations” which makes us laugh hysterically but it’s the truth. Yolanda always keeps her cool. She says it’s the Dutch in her. The Irish Aries in me behaves the opposite. I tend to explode and Yolanda always says to me, “Do not say something you’re going to regret.” I usually don’t regret what I say because I usually mean it but I get her gist. Maybe it’s not an angel on my shoulder, maybe it’s just Yolanda. :-)

So this brings us to the moral of the story. Everyone is just trying to get through the freaking day. We have no idea what that person is going through, what brought them to this point, what their journey is, why they behave as they do. Ourselves included. So just be fucking nice. The moral of life: Just be fucking nice.… Even if you have to bite your tongue, grind your teeth, lower your eyes… Just be nice (even if you don’t mean it).

*Something you don’t know about me? Surprisingly, I can also be nice. As I was walking around Paris this weekend with my caregivers, my husband and my husband’s friend, I heard someone say out of the crowd, “Ellie!” My very first thought was, “Please God, let this be a friend from America who is a girl. I’m sick of all the men I am surrounded by 24 hours a day and I’m sick of all these French people. Please let it be a long-lost American girlfriend that I can talk to about makeup and clothes.” I swear all of these thoughts went through my head within three seconds. Alas, it was not an old friend, but even more exciting, it was a new friend! I don’t actually know her but she reads my blog and I consider all of my readers friends. So, that was super exciting. She lives in Germany but is originally from Boston and could not have been nicer so that made my entire weekend! (And she was dressed really well.) We took pictures and my mood improved. My husband said to me, “How can you be so nice to some people and to other people you are so harsh?” My response was easy, “It’s a gift.”

Now it’s your turn, do any of you have these inner judgmental thoughts or are you all just peaches? Do you have to check yourselves or are you all just nice all day? I hope I’m not alone so be honest.

My Adventures in Provence: Part 3

Well, my God, I could not love all of any more than I already do for your honesty, your forthrightness and for your trust in regards to the previous blog posting. Thank you for divulging these very personal thoughts and wishes. As I was reading each one of them, all I could keep thinking was, “My readers are the coolest.” And I also kept thinking that birds of a feather flock together. Apparently, at the end of all of our lives, high thread count sheets, good food, alcohol, cigarettes, music and family are what matter the most. Isn’t that funny! Thank you so much for all of your comments and for your thoughts. That was a fun exercise!

Okay, lightening things up a bit this week because that was kind of a heavy blog, let’s get back to Provence, shall we?

Amongst the billion reasons why I adore my friends in Provence, is their absolute commitment to respect what is important in life. Family, friends, laughter… And animals. Let me set the stage…

The morning after we arrived in Provence, our host, The Apricot, was unable to join us for an early morning breakfast for a very important reason. The Apricot and the houseman, Joaquim, had a very important appointment in a nearby town to pick up some new members of the family. 30+ rare Japanese Koi fish.

Their arrival was the event of the day. These Koi fish probably have no idea how good their life was about to get. They hit the adoptive parent jackpot. They arrived in a big white truck ready to be plunged into their new home… An 18th-century pond surrounded by balustrades in the south of France. The foster Koi found there forever home.

The Koi fish joined their large extended family of other Koi appropriately named: Adorable, Orangette, Aurore, Jonas, Salome, Brumel, Larga, Stendhal, Cendrillon, Namani, Rosetta, Prince William and all the others.

Romy Grace and The Apricot celebrating the arrival of their new babies.
 A temporary tent was erected to shade the koi until the new chic custom canopy arrives.

Each fish was gently placed into the Koi pond with delicacy and the hope that it would adapt to its new environment. One by one, every fish seemed perfectly at home. And then, the grand finale… The last fish… As big as a small poodle, this particular Koi had to be hand carried, wrapped in a wet towel and gently placed into the pond. Everyone was holding their breath but voilà, the king of the pond figured that “this pond will do just fine.”

 Gently, the mac daddy of all the koi was hand placed into the pond.
Champagne celebration time. From left: My husband David, the husband/wife koi vendors, the house staff of Cristina and Joaquim, The Apricot and Romy Grace, Me and Gracie.

Of course, a round of celebratory champagne was had to welcome the fish to their new paradise. And that, my friends, was my second day in Provence.

Dose of Reality

We have to take a short break from the Lala Land that is Provence and have a dose of reality, my reality. Because I’m not one to keep secrets or sugarcoat the truth, I thought I’d tell you all just exactly how my Wednesday unfolded.

I had a prescheduled appointment with my Parisian ALS specialist, Dr. Meininger. It’s kind of our yearly checkup. Dr. Meininger and I go way back. I was diagnosed with ALS in New York in June 2011. Within three days of that diagnosis, my husband and I were on a flight to Paris to go see Dr. Meininger because supposedly, “He is the best.” Not to be a bitch, but in my mind no doctor is the best until he cures ALS. Oh, let me warn you, whenever I have to go to the hospital my super bitch superpowers take over. I have mercy on no one. I hate the cabdriver, I hate the gloomy Parisian weather, I hate the hospital, I hate the décor of the waiting room, I hate my husband, I hate my caregivers, and most of all I hate myself. The good news is that this only lasts until I am out of the hospital and back home watching Bravo’s Ladies of London.

By the time we got out of my apartment and into the cab on the way to the hospital, I had already said about 25 rude comments to no one in particular. The only saving grace about having to go to the hospital in Paris is that at least the drive is gorgeous. The driver took the route along the Seine River and I was silently passing judgment about everything I saw. I finally just had to laugh at myself. Why? Because we were driving by one of my favorite mansions of Paris, Hôtel Lambert, which has an incredible history and a controversial present. Once owned by the Rothschild’s and now owned by the brother of the Emir of Qatar who bought the house for a reported $111 million and has been doing a little “renovation work” since 2007. As we drove by the house, I said to myself, “When is that fucking house going to be finished?” I laughed because I wondered why I cared, why I thought it was any of my business, and why it was bothering me so much. Didn’t I have bigger things to worry about like what this doctor is going to say to me today? But no, my concerns were about the construction delays of a mansion in Paris.

Hôtel Lambert which is a house, not a hotel, is a 17th-century mansion in which Chopin composed, George Sand wrote and Voltaire lived with his mistress. Click HERE for the history of the house. I actually learned about Hôtel Lambert from my favorite book of all time, The Finest Houses of Paris. You can buy it HERE.

 There was a terrible fire during the renovations that cost irreparable damage to priceless ceiling frescoes.
Hôtel Lambert as it sits today which irritates me. 

We arrive to the hospital with my bad mood intact. Pitié-Salpêtrière Hôpital. I referred to it as, “The hospital that couldn’t save Princess Diana.” And for that reason, I will forever hold a grudge. It literally looks like a mental institute which I found out it used to be in the 1700s. I have to say that it is rather interesting that this is the hospital that the neurologist Dr. Charcot first discovered my disease, ALS, in the 1800s. In France, ALS is known as Maladie de Charcot. Driving deeper into the hospital I see a building called Babinski. I laughed and said, “Failed that test.” Dr. Babinski studied under Dr. Charcot at this shit hole of a hospital and his Babinski test can be a signal for ALS. Floods of memories came rushing back to haunt me regarding my first days of being diagnosed with ALS. And here I was, at the epicenter of ALS. Current mood: borderline violent.


Pitié-Salpêtrière Hôpital
The waiting room did not lift my spirits. I was surrounded by freaks with ALS. Oh wait, I’m one of them. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that you would never know, never detect unless you had ALS. When you are in a waiting filled with people with ALS, you are basically sitting with a room filled with ghosts. These people are not themselves. Their physical bodies may be right in front of you but their spirits and souls are somewhere else. You can see it in their eyes. We have a disease with no cure, a disease that ravishes your body like a rabid pitbull, and promises a grand finale of death by suffocation. This is not something that a human can comprehend, therapy it away, antibiotic it away, or even nary try to process. The only, only course of action with ALS is to escape. You have to escape yourself and your body and to go to a safe place. That’s why all of those people, including me, in the waiting room of an ALS clinic, aren’t really there. I knew all of this already so I just continued my day of bad behavior and rude thoughts. The lady next to me who came with her husband who had ALS looked like a prostitute, so I took a picture of her. The gentleman sitting across from me looked like he had ALS compounded with jaundice, so I took a picture of him. The lady sitting next to me with saliva dripping out of her mouth was making me sick and I decided that everyone in this room needed a fucking green juice. Why couldn’t I have gotten a prettier disease?

Here comes the great part, my discussion with my doctor.

Dr. Meininger spent the first half of our appointment basically telling me that no clinical trials were working. I listened to him say at least 345 times, “Clinical trial blah blah blah with a new drug called blah blah blah only worsened the ALS patients condition, so I’m not convinced.” I’m not convinced. I’m not convinced. I’m not convinced. Over and over and over he said this. How is someone supposed to be hopeful when the premier neurologist, Mr. ALS himself, has exactly zero to offer you. My only response was, “So then, how can I put myself out of his misery?” I think he was a little surprised that I had just asked him how to kill myself. I don’t think I was truly asking, I was just being facetious. Sort of.

Here comes the funny part.

Dr. Meininger, explained to me that there was a clinic in Paris that would help me “end my life.” Let’s back up a bit before the majority of you freak out. Let me just give you a scenario. If you were told, “You are going to choke on a fishbone and die on Tuesday” you would literally lose your mind until Tuesday. Imagine having that scenario for the past five years. That’s where I’ve been. You are not supposed to know how you are going to die, but I do and it follows me day in and day out until I finally reached the decision that I was going to get in front of this situation. I will be damned if I’m going to sit around and let ALS suffocate me. If anyone’s going to suffocate me, it’s going to be me. Or at least David.

However, Dr. Meininger said that in order to be accepted to the clinic I had to spend a week there “getting to know everyone.” What the fuck are you talking about? Why would I want to get to know everyone? I kid you not, Dr. Meininger said, “The clinic likes to get to know the people that they are going to kill.” I don’t know if it was lost in translation or because his English is only so-so, but I burst out laughing. I thought, “Really? My executioner wants to get to know me? What if they fall in love with me and won’t perform the final act? Do cats go to the vet a week before they are going to be put down due to their cat cancer so the vet can get to know them? I prefer to go like Marie Antoinette with someone wearing a black hood. Wham Bam, thank you ma’am. I’m in no position to make new friends. Don’t want to. I want to wake up on a Tuesday and die on a Tuesday, if you don’t mind.”

The doctor told me that this was not something that could be decided quickly. Really? You think I just started thinking about this? How about I’ve been thinking about this for 1580 days, thus far. I could see a look in his eye that maybe he wasn’t going to approve of this. And then, of course, because I am me, I thought to myself, “Look douche bag, you are supposed to be the expert with ALS and the only thing you can offer me is a medication that costs $1200 a month, has the side effect of liver disease, and will extend my life by two months. I think I’m going to start doctor shopping. They do it in New York so I’m sure I can do it in Paris. I will find a doctor who will follow my program.” I think my doctor saw my disappointment and agreed to make the necessary calls to the clinic when the time comes. And then, of course, because I am me, I asked if I could have the name of the place so I could do a little research. And by research, I meant that I wanted to check out the decor. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’m not going to die amongst ugly wallpaper. I figured I would use the week “getting to know the staff” and actually use the week to redecorate. I’m thinking de Gournay wallpaper (I deserve it, I am dying, for God sake) all of my paintings and picture frames, my Diptyque candle and all of my dishes. And my cashmere blanket. And my hot chai tea. There. That’s all I need.

Then Dr. Meininger told me that they would have to administer a morphine drip. “You mean a needle?” I asked. His answer was yes and so my answer was no. No, I don’t do needles. David will have to just suffocate me in my sleep in the comfort of my own home. With all of my bad behavior this week, he might just do it. :-)

Trust me, these are not the conversations that in my wildest dreams I could’ve imagined having, especially at my age. I’m not supposed to be talking about this. I’m supposed to be at work, having a taco at a random food truck, planning for the holidays, screaming at Gracie to clean her room, going on long weekends to Normandy with David and petting my dog. These are not normal Wednesday afternoon conversations. I don’t want to talk about all of this, I don’t even want to know about all of this.

The reason that I actually do have these conversations is because I need to know that “my end” is not going to be scary or painful. Five years ago I had no idea what the word “hospice” or “palliative care” was. Swear to God, I didn’t. Never heard of it. Let me also state that when I was first diagnosed with ALS, no one ever told me about how to control the end of ALS. So, subsequently I’ve been scared for five years. You would be to. I didn’t know that things could be controlled, that I could be gently put into a restful place without pain or fear. Sometimes this is all one needs to know. It’s called options. For some reason it brings me great peace. I realize that knowledge is power but in contrast, ignorance is also bliss. I like to ride the thin line between the two.

The good news is that I don’t need to decide any this now. Dr. Meininger said that I looked great and that I still had years ahead of me because the ALS has not spread above my shoulders which is nothing short of a miracle. Girlfriends, it ain’t over yet. So, if you guys will have this bobble head for a bit longer, I’ll be here.

 You would have thought someone would have brushed my hair. Guess not.

Because I’ve already opened this can of worms, here’s a question for all of you: What would all of you do if you had ALS? I’m not asking for your advice, but I would just generally like to know what you guys would do for yourselves. Be honest. Really think about it, what would you do? Would your religion get in the way? Would your family persuade your decision? Would you ride it out to the last moment? Would you opt to exit gracefully? What would you do? How would you do it? Would you make a big production out of it? Would you tell everyone or would you go quietly? Pray tell…


My Adventures in Provence Part Two: La Cuisine

* If you missed Part One of my Adventures in Provence series, click HERE.

Not a day goes by that I do not have a discussion about food… An in-depth discussion about food. I have been doing this my entire life and you can safely say that my life revolves around food. I grew up surrounded by food conversations. My mother is an amazing cook, had a cookware store and even taught cooking classes out of our house. Her mother was an amazing cook and her recipe box is more coveted that her pearls. My aunt is an amazing cook and was the Chief Culinary Officer for the Food Channel. Then, I married a Frenchman whose mother is such an amazing cook that even when we are at lunch we are talking about what she’s going to make for dinner. I said the word “amazing” in this paragraph four times and meant it each time.

The first year that I had ALS, I remember reading an article about a gentleman who also had ALS but he could no longer eat. He listed three pages of all the foods that he missed...Beef Bourguignon, Caesar salad, grilled cheese, sushi, cheeseburgers, cereal, Eggplant Parmesan, Eggs Benedict etc. I remember thinking to myself, “That might possibly be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” I made a vow to myself right then and there that I would savor and cherish every moment that I had left “to eat.” Don’t laugh or judge… Imagine for one second that you could never eat again. Hell on earth.

My friend Romy Grace, as I call her, whom we visited, as you know, in Provence recently shares my same enthusiasm towards food. I can’t even tell you how many conversations we’ve had over the years regarding pizza crust, sea urchin, pasta and our favorite hotel buffets. We also share the same aesthetics when it comes to setting the table… The dishes, napkins, the flowers, the candles… even down to the little honey and jam pots. We actually derive true pleasure in the whole presentation.                                                                                                                

So, without further ado, I bring you our weekend of food in Provence.

We arrived to my friend’s house rather late after our train ride from Paris but as we pulled up into the courtyard of their house the outdoor dining table was all set and the twinkly lights in the canopy trees could not have begged a more beautiful setting. A midnight snack of Provençal cheeses sent us off to bed for a dreamy sleep for our first evening. The entire weekend we ate every single meal outdoors… As God intended. Our host’s wonderful house staff of Christina and Joaquim lovingly cooked every meal with regional produce fresh picked at the Provence farmers market.

I woke up to a beautiful breakfast served on the breakfast terrace with plenty of sunshine and the most beautiful blue sky that you’ve ever seen with an ancient stone fountain providing the music. This might be as close to paradise on earth as anyone’s ever going to get.

The goat cheese was like butta!
Organic eggs from the house chickens, of course. The dishes are from the La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco.

Breakfast slid into lunch and we found ourselves on another terrace having another glorious meal. Saturday’s lunch was served under a shaded canopy of chestnut trees overlooking a vast view of Provence with only the sound of a peaceful fountain nearby and the chirping of birds. Living in a bustling city like Paris you come to cherish the fact that silence is golden. I could visually see David, Grace and I actually start to relax. Phones were set aside, shoulders started to drop and we were nearly one yawn away from a nap every second.

Homemade Pesto Pasta
 Spinach salade with homemade vinaigrette and herbed foie gras.
Farmers market tomatoes with fresh burrata.

Saturday called for a day at the pool but not without plenty of fruit.


After a little downtime, we reconvened on yet another terrace for a little pre-dinner aperitif. This particular terrace hosted a sunset view surrounded by the parterres of an herb garden and yet another ancient fountain.

We were spoiled by Joaquim's famous mojitos and Christina’s hors d’oeuvres. Olive tapenade, bruschetta, smoked salmon with crème fraîche and fresh dill from the garden…

 Saturday evening’s dinner brought us back to our Santa Barbara roots and a barbecue by the pool was served!

Chicken shish kebabs, North African merguez sausages, grilled steaks, potatoes with herbs, grilled zucchini, grilled eggplant, and Christina’s famous Tomate Provençal and raspberry cheesecake.

 Romy Grace and the Apricot on a chilly evening in Provence.

Sunday’s lunch was a very special event but I will save that story for later this week.

Before we boarded our Sunday evening train back to Paris, we were treated to one more fabulous little snack. Afternoon tea with Christina’s homemade cake and Madeleines.

The best part about all of these meals was that I was lucky enough to have them with my friends. Our hosts, nicknamed Romy Grace and The Apricot, could not have been more warm or hospitable. The Apricot starts the stories, always making me giggle, and Romy Grace sprinkles every conversation with her endearing joie de vivre. And the best part about our meals together is that Romy Grace is always holding someone’s hand… Her husband’s, mine or their new baby’s. More on that new baby later!

And now for a little treat! Christina and Joaquim have been so kind as to lend two of their recipes to us! First we have Joaquim's famous mojitos and then we have Christina’s famous tomate Provençal!

Joaquim and Cristina in the kitchen.
JOAQUIM’S FAMOUS MOJITOS (For one portion of cocktail)
5 cl of white rum
7  leaves of fresh peppermint 
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 spoon of powder sugar
Crashed ice
In one glass crush the peppermint leaves and the lime together with the sugar. Then add the ice and the rum. Serve with a slice of lime and a fresh leaf of peppermint.
6 ripe tomatoes, for instance coeur de boeuf
2 gloves of garlic
1 big spoon of fresh cut basil 
1 big spoon of freshly cut persil
1 big spoon of freshly cut thyme
a couple of big spoons of breadcrumbs for the crust
olive oil
salt and pepper
Cut the tomatoes in thick slices and take off the seeds. Then put a bit of olive oil into a baking dish, add the tomatoes slices, top with the chopped garlic and the herbes, season with salt and pepper and add a bit of water.
Let simmer for about 30 minutes, then cover with the breadcrumbs and toast in the oven at a temperature of 180°C for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Merci beaucoup Christina and Joaquim.

Thank you for sharing my weekend in Provence and I am so happy you came along for the ride. Remember, life is too short not to enjoy the beautiful things.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Provence series. This next one involves four-legged friends and finned friends. I think you will just love it!

*Something you don’t know about me? I love learning all about you. Thank you for sending in all of your comments about yourselves. Seems like birds of a feather flock together, non? Don’t forget to go check out Stephen’s recipe for horseradish croutons in the comments! Thank you Stephen, you are my favorite human being on earth.