Fruit & cheese garde-mangers for sale on a sidewalk in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. I wonder if they make a mini version for the furry hero in today's story... read on in today's column.

Harvest update: two more harvesters arrived over the weekend: John (retired, from Indiana) and Ansley (living in Avignon; from Portland). They are staying with Erin (Australia), Ross (California via Washington State), and Charles (Rouge-Bleu investor from Florida) in a local gîte that Jean-Marc reserved for them. Ansley ended up with the couch and John will bunk with Charles (who snores worse than I do). Erin and Ross are sharing the second room. 

Harvesters  I knew I liked John when, asked about Charles's snoring, he replied, "It was no problem. Once I identified the source, I adjusted to it."
"I hear it sounds like a train," I said, of Charles's snoring.
"No," John replied, thoughtfully.  "Kind of like a cicada."

(Click on photo: left to right: Ansley, John (visiting), Marcy (visiting), Charles, Kristin, Jean-Marc, John, Ross, Erin)

Today's word:

garde-manger  (gard-mahn-zhay) noun, masculine

    : cooler; pantry, larder

In books:
The Professional Garde Manger: A Guide to the Art of the Buffet by David Paul Larousse
Garde Manger
, The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen by The Culinary Institute of America

Audio File:

Listen to the French word garde-manger and this example sentence: "Remets-le dans le garde-manger." (Put it back in the pantry) Download garde-manger.wav.Download garde-manger.mp3


I was chatting on the phone with my mother-in-law, thanking her for another three mustard jars full of homemade tapenade (enough to feed an army the harvesters) when I noticed the sketchy aller-retours of a kitchen mouse.

A perfect fur ball with legs that spun like an electric fan in summertime, the petite souris made several back-n-forth sprints from an opening near the baseboard... all the way over to the cat food bowl—three failed attempts before, BINGO!, the little mouse landed in the bowl, plucked up a cat croquette and, with a blur of revolving legs and a panic-stricken face, peeled out of that pit so fast the remaining croquettes hardly had time to settle before the mouse-voleur had disappeared behind the fridge.

"Good thing Coco (the cat) is passed out on the couch," I exclaimed, rooting for the cute rodent.
"What's that?" my mother-in-law asked, lost at the other end of the telephone line.

I might've further shared my thoughts, musing "When the cat's away the mice do play!" Instead, I thanked my mother-in-law for the tapenade.

Comment on today's post or share your own vignette, here:

Ross  aller-retour = comings and goings; la souris (f) = mouse; voleur (voleuse) = thief

(photo, left: the volonteer-harvesters brought roses... how nice is that?)

Rosetta Stone V3: French, Level 1
Zip around in this Miniature Euro Electric Scooter
Doudou la Souris : soft toy for baby
In French magazines: Art & Decoration: Printed in French, Art et Decoration, is filled with ideas and how-to information for decorating all areas of the home and garden, including dinner table displays, flower arrangements, arts and crafts, and French interior design tips for all rooms of the house.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Peter LYNN

Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris dansent!!

Betsy Ritzel

I just had my French class to a "pique-nique" last night and we all talked about
our recent trips to Paris/Provence, etc.
Would love to have the tapenade recipe. That would have been great to serve.
Merci en avance?

Chris Kelly

Love the daily stories from France; the vendage reminds me of one in Beaune where I went with friends of the owner of the terroir. Only we sat around while the others worked hard.

BTW, anyone know where to buy those kind of garde-a-manger online? I tried to Google with no luck. I would love one for indoors to protect fruits and cheeses on the counter.


I love your story about the mouse. Luckily for us, with 3 cats, mice don't last long. There's only been 3 that I have known of (in almost 10 years). Two have been found already played with to death. The third I caught myself as he was trying to climb up the fireplace (with a cat waiting for him to fall). I put a tupperware bowl over him on his ascent and he fell right back into the bowl. I immediately put the lid on, but didn't have the heart to suffocate him. I knew I wouldn't have the heart or guts to otherwise kill him, so I marched him to the back of our property line, a wooded area, and threw him out over the fence and told him not to come back. That was the last mouse I know of.


That was a cute 'chat' et 'souris' story...

G.M. Malliet

Just popping in to say how much I continue to enjoy your beautiful blog.

Kathleen Bidney

Well, I can't say that I am fond of les souris. One night my husband and I woke up to a commotion on the bed. My cat had delivered a live mouse to us at 3am. Not very funny. I threw off the bed covers and the cat and mouse landed on the floor. The mouse ran under the radiator and my husband was at one end and the cat at the other end trying to catch the mouse. This cat played cat and mouse for a while then tired of it and my other cat took over. The mouse ran under the planter and then under the hamper and then down the stairs and behind the desk. It was my husband who finally caught it and wasn't as nice about not killing it. I used to own mice while in college, but now I do not like them!


What fun it is to read about the harvest!
While in Aix last week, my husband Kirk sought out the Cave de Felibriges (mentioned on Jean Marc's site) to buy a bottle of Rouge Bleu and we then enjoyed it with a friend in Paris - delicious!
Kirk would LOVE to be one of those vendage assistants you write about...maybe someday!
Anne - in Virginia, but not for long

Prêt à Voyager

I wish I had my own garde manger! Thanks for all the lessons!



I love hearing your stories about the harvest. The colorful photos of les garde mangers for sale is so fun! I could use 20 of these for entertaining and summer evenings out in the patio. Just dying for a trip to Provence...

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