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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I know what I did last summer

And I'll be doing it again...

For the past few years, my family and I have spent a few weeks each summer in a small resort town in the Southwest of France called Hossegor. Most Americans have probably never heard of it. I certainly hadn't. But my wife's family has had summer houses there for many years. In fact, I think my wife's Grandfather bought the first house some time in the 1930s. There are now two houses and my mother-in-law owns one.

Before my son Luke was born, we'd go there occasionally to visit the family. In recent years we've gone every July since my son was 9 months old so he could get to know his French cousins. It's really a wonderful vacation. On any given day, the most important decisions to be made are: what time to get up, what time to go to the beach, what time to come back from the beach, and what to have for lunch and dinner. And, being in France, the lunches and dinners are magnifique!

I have a real appreciation for good food--French food in particular. And my wife's family quickly came to appreciate that appreciation. I also like to cook, although in France I do so with great trepidation. My mother-in-law and her sister are fantastic cooks. Needless to say, cooking for 6 to 8 (and sometimes more) French people can be intimidating. So I tend to stick to cooking things that French people would find unusual--typically on the grill.

For years the grill at the house consisted of a few bricks and a metal grate. So I decided a while ago that I wanted to get a "real" grill for the house. Two years ago, my wife and I searched high and low for a good grill. But I couldn't find anything I liked. All of the grills seemed kind of flimsy and pricey. And then on the last day of our vacation, on the drive to the train we were taking to Paris, we saw it: a store in the small town of St. Vincent de Tyrosse. And in front of that store was a giant banner with just one name written on it. A name that I never expected to see in France. A name that almost brought tears to my eyes. That's right, the sign read:

But there was more. Underneath that sign was a sign that read "soldes," which is the French word for "sale"!! But alas it was too late. Our vacation was over. But we promised ourselves that we'd return to St. Vincent the following year to buy a grill.

And so we did. We ended up paying about twice what we'd pay in the States, but we were on a mission! And it was worth it.

Here's a picture of my first attempt cooking sausages.

The sausages came out great. And my eyebrows have mostly grown back ;-)

And here's a photo we just received from a few of the French cousins in anticipation of our return in July

Isn't that nice? Note the empty bottle of Absolut Vodka on top of the grill, representing martinis past and future...

My favorite grilling cookbook for my Weber is "Weber's Big Book of Grilling" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/002-0464028-8936054.

I just made the Beer can chicken the other day, it was tasty.
Yep. The beer can chicken is a classic. Do you think they have a French translation of this book? ;-)
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