I discovered a wonderful blog this week.  So wonderful that I found myself going back to the very beginning, to work my way forward -- which is how I found her series of posts on how the French shop for food and plan their meals.  It made me vow to think more like the French, at least in my kitchen. Then yesterday, on our way back from lunch with Lexie at Texas French Bread, we finally stopped in at the new Saturday market that has sprung up between here and Austin.  Boy, was I ever surprised at all they had to offer -- things like rabbit and lamb, yogurt and gruyere cheese.  They even had mini pies (just enough for two) from Texas Pie Company!  Soon as I got home I pulled out a little notebook I began keeping a while back.  When I first moved here full-time, I was buying lots of wonderful fresh food, but much of it ended up in the trash because I didn’t use it in time.  That’s when I started my notebook.

At the top of a page I would write down all the fresh stuff that I had got from the farmers’ market or The Bountiful Sprout, since my top priority was to make use of that while at its peak of perfection.  Then I would glance through the pantry, fridge and freezer, listing anything there that needed to be used fairly soon, such as some leftover cream or a bit of cheese.  In the middle of the page I jotted down anything I could think of that one could possibly make from any combination of those ingredients.  Then, at the bottom of the page I kept a record of what I did end up making that week.

My record-keeping was sporadic at best, but over time I came to realize that, not only did it help me prioritize and be less wasteful, it also became a priceless reference tool. It told me exactly what I might expect to find at local markets at any given time of the year, and gave me handy lists of the many different ways we have prepared it all!

Last night, when adding my new purchases to the notebook, I realized it was time to use those pork cutlets I had got from Richardson Farms.  I decided to saute’ them, then use the drippings and some leftover shallots, wine and cream to make a sauce, to which I would add a dollop of the yummy mustard we brought back from Dijon.  We had some leftover pasta and cucumber salad to serve as our sides, and I could toast some of that French bread that was past its prime, rub it with garlic and drizzle it with the local olive oil.  A delicious dinner was on the table in less than 30 minutes.  “Whoa!”, I found myself thinking.  “Is that not exactly what my new blog friend wrote about in her posts?  Didn’t I shop for food every few days, instead of all at once, buying what was in season, directly from the farmers and producers?  Didn’t I choose the ingredients first, and let them tell me what to make, instead of the other way around?”  Well, whadya know?  I guess I’ve picked up more from the French than I realized!

There is one additional thing to be picked up, however.  One of these!  Not only is it beautiful, it would remind me never to buy more than it can hold, if I wish to use it all while it is still fresh and delicious!
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5