Pâte Brisée : Jêrôme's 4-ingredient wine-based shortcrust pastry is easy, versatile, delicious for savory quiche or sweet, delectable pie!
Two celebrations + Langue de belle-mère (a funny word for a certain party favor)

Cheese needs to breathe and so do we

Smokey golden retriever lavender jugs wooden shuttersPhoto of our dear golden, Smokey

Today's Word: respirer

    : to breathe, inhale

Click here to listen to the French quote below:
Respirer Paris, cela conserve l'âme. Breathe in, Paris, it conserves the soul. --Victor Hugo

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

While preparing a plateau de fromages for today's lunch, I was surprised to see the refrigerated cheese now wore a fuzzy white coat: the Comté, the Saint-Félicien--even the bûche de chèvre--all were covered in velours blanc!

"It's still mangeable," my son assured me, taking a bite to prove his point.

"Here, hand me that!" I said, carefully cutting off the mold. "I thought this glass​​ Tupperware was a good idea for conserving cheese," I said to Max, who stood nearby, preparing pasta. (Linguines au Citron et Saumon Fumé. It was delicious with the finely minced leaves from the lime tree!)

"Cheese needs to breathe," my son explained.

Mais bien sûr! It was an aha moment, one that returned later in the hour...
After lunch, I went to lie down but was kept from resting after a few worries trotted through my mind: there was the weekly blog post I failed to complete, and there were a few accrochages with family members. I was feeling emotionally lessivé when a funny phrase trotted through my mind, in place of the soucis:
Le fromage a besoin de respirer.
Yes! It was the right message at the right time: cheese needs to breathe and so do humans and their projects. I've set aside the blog post I had been writing but I can give it to you in a nutshell--or in a fuzzy white coat en velours if you fancy: 

The half-written post was an update about our online memoir, and un message de remerciement to those dearhearts who responded to my recent entry: Staying Sober at Two Vineyards. Once again, I am deeply moved by your words of support, especially by the fresh perspective you offered following Chapter 14.

Now, to end on both a serious and terribly cheesy note: Regarding any doubts about continuing on a path of sobriety...I have put those doubts aside. This cheese just needed to breathe! (No wine or spirits necessary. A fresh perspective worked beautifully. Merci!)

Post Note: Taking some of the pressure off is vital if we are to keep our sanity and continue living healthfully. One pressure I have felt is the need to turn this online book into a hardcopy or paperback. For now, it will remain an online book, available for purchase here.


le plateau de fromages = cheese plate, cheese platter
la bûche de fromage de chèvre = log of goat cheese
le velours = velvet
blanc = white
mangeable = edible
Linguines au Citron et Saumon Fumé = linguini with lemon and smoked salmon
mais bien sûr = but of course
un accrochage = clash, dispute, fender-bender
lessivé = whacked, worn out
le souci = worry
c'est le cas de le dire = you can say that again
(that last phrase appeared in the previous version of this post. But I'm keeping it here as it's a good one!)

Wild poppies
Wild poppies are in bloom now. Enjoy.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The lockdown / “la quarantaine” did indeed steal tulip season. But thankfully, we can all be out and about and see the poppies! They are indeed a beautiful wildflower.


Life/breath.... When I'm not mindful to breathe deeply and with appreciation it manifests as blockages and conflicts within myself or with others. Breath first everything else later...that's how I stay soberly sane. Thanks for sharing your personal journey which invites me to let go of the fear and share mine..just like a good Alanon meeting You're beautiful Kristi, inside and out.

I also love your photos!! Miss La Ciotat and can't wait to be there again~


Beautifully written. Thanks for the letter. Beth Murphy

Mike Young

Encore une fois tirez-vous le gros lot! We have a farm just down the road that makes Camembert to compare with the true French original. My friends often comment about my leaving it out of the refrigerator to mature.


Bonjour, Kristin ,
Succès! I made Jérôme’s pâti brisée filled with sliced shiitake
mushrooms, julienned bell peppers, shallots, and thinly sliced red onions sautéed in butter and Madeira. I added tarragon. Then I lined the crust with a bed of spinach before adding the vegetable filling and baking. Served with la bûche de fromage de chèvre and a chilled glass of Chardonnay et voilà I imagined I was in France 🇫🇷. Merci beaucoup, Kristin!


Our dear Kristi,
Today's post was once again full of wisdom to inspire us(from both you and Max!)and,dear Kristi,the latest chapter of The Lost Garden was truly among your best.You showed extraordinary courage and strength to keep your sobriety, even through traversing winding drives by yourself--,not to even mention spooky AA meeting places.Most of all to find courage,strength,and peace from within.
You, your words,and especially your self humor(which,for me,is an unending work in progress) wraps us in hugs.
Natalia. Xo

Chris Allin

Ah yes! Breathing deeply is good for the body
as well as for the mind and soul...

Judith Dunn

.....Kristi... you are an inspiration to all of us..... you inspire us to learn and to grow and when to simply let go! Deep yoga breathing has always worked for me, and just closing one's eyes and being calm for 30 seconds can work wonders for the soul seeking inner peace. The times we are living through now are enough to stress our a stone on a beach. I will be that stone and allow the eternal waves to wash over me each day and night and take the cares far away.....this too, will pass......keep yourself and family safe.... Judi Dunn


Salut Kristi....We are supposed to be in France right now with 9 nights in La Ciotat....5th time there. Well... would have been ! Happy things are improving. I'll count the days till next May ! Stay well. I always hope I'll see you on the seawall.☀️ Patricia.. Vancouver Canada

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Chère Kristi -- Tears of heartdeep fellowship in my eyes reading this wise gem of a blog today. 'Moi aussi; même ici!!' Exhausted emotionally this week, and in blessed retreat from most social media and ordinary demands both.

Respite needed to let the cosmos breathe us, which after all truly is the way breathing works, and to let it replenish our inner resources. "May you be safe. May you be strong. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be happy," as the buddhist mantra goes ... and may we all be as kind, brave, open, and resilient as we dare.

Truly 'feeling the feels' of renewed abstinence here, and glad of your warm companionship in reclaiming peace today. xx oo


Et le monde a aussi besoin a respirer. Peut-etre que maintenant il pourra.


Dear Kristie,
I heartily support your decision to continue to forego alcohol in any form. You have 17 years of sobriety and you worked hard to obtain it and maintain it. It doesn't matter what label you put on your condition or experience, you feel better without it and that's what counts. Tenez bon !


chris kelly

In fact experts point out deep breathing is helpful to learn....if the virus hits your lungs will be in better shape.

Reste secure, toutes!

Solange Perrot’

My French mother in law uses a big plastic container with a little sliding opening at the top to store her cheese in. Sorry it’s hard to describe but it is specifically made to store and use as a platter fir cheese.

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

Love the throw-away lines of our wise offspring.

Charles M. McGrath

Oh Smokey O Smokey you are looking more and more like Oncle Charle, gray and white on the fringes with lots of wrinkles. What happened to my/our little yellow puppy boy. Smokey?


Marianne Rankin

I can still barely hear the sound files.

Giving ourselves breathing room is important. I've discovered as stay-at-home orders have reduced activities that there is more time (above all) to sleep, and to slow down. We don't always realize how busy we have been until we do. We need to leave spaces between our tasks so we can breathe. Another aspect of "breathing" is stopping to notice and think about things, and to see how we tend to take so much for granted, even something as simple as taking a walk without a mask.

With regard to the book, which I'd hoped eventually to buy as a "real" book, will the entire volume be available when it's done? That is, combined into one work instead of the sections that are appearing electronically now? And if it is available as one digital book, would it be available for Kindle? I know I'm asking questions that cannot yet be answered, but they may provide food for thought as you plan ahead.

Audrey Wilson

No problems with gremlins this time !!! Every thing as normal ,thank goodness
Re Cheese breathing my sister-in-law gave me a special box for the fridge The Lid is solid plastic with a sliding vent Which allows air in.
Deep breathing is essential for me to obtain the right frame of mind to try walking
On an historic note when I had my son in the 60's i did all with breathing & nothing else ;
Like Marianne I would be interested in the book or Kindle form
I hope your weather is better than here in the Conflent
Keep well !


Congratulations on your fortitude in staying sober surrounded by vineyards and grapes. Breathing is the key for any addiction. I remember realizing that when giving up smoking over 40 years ago. I wanted to inhale and exhale...cigarette smoke. Taking a deep breath to assuage that angst, I eventually realized that breathing is allied with spirit. Spirit is our physical and spirit-ual life source! Love you!

Eileen deCamp

Bonjour Kristi,
I hope you and your family are well! Are you keeping busy in the garden? Working in the garden has been wonderful for me plus my daily walk with our puppy! I also have been praying the rosary for our world and attending daily online Mass.

I'm glad you have your children there and your Mom!

Stay well!

Rose Blamey

Hi Kristi
I too have discovered that cheese needs to breathe. We wrap ours in waxpaper and keep it the fridge. It is amazing how long it will last!
Yes, you are correct we all need to breathe.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)