more than a year gone by

May 6, 2015 § 10 Comments

French country side

Southern France

I have found myself wanting to apologise for my scarcity here this last year and a half. I don’t want to say it too early for fear any new feeling will just as suddenly disappear, but finally there seems to be a tentative impression that I am coming back – into the kitchen that is. I guess it says something about the type of year it has been. Before leaving Darwin, I was tired, stressed and overworked with new jobs, break ups, house moving, and of course that very solid North Australian heat. All in all it left me largely uninspired to do much in the kitchen. This surprised and saddened me, and I questioned the things that made me happy and how I identified myself with them. With some deep nostalgia, I began to miss what I felt was an essential part of the person I was. The person who took joy in the stained colour of a knife left after chopping vegetables, the smell of lemon and spice hitting a fry pan, the feeling of dough sticky and stuck on my fingers, or the scent of sourdough every time I opened the fridge. I missed time to be still, to gather thoughts, to listen and watch more closely, and to pull it all into something creative. There was however, somewhere in amongst it all, some small confidence that it was just a phase and when more time permitted, that willingness to potter with taste and smell, colour and texture would one day creep back.

So I quit my job and most of my life in Darwin, on a quest to slow down, come to Europe and learn French. I went from Darwin, to Paris and then to a small surfing village near Bordeaux where I taught yoga in a women’s surf school. After going briefly to the States for a friends wedding I came back to Europe to spend three weeks with my uncle on his little piece of land just on the outskirts of Brussels. Here I picked vegetables from his garden on the same land my great great grandfather farmed and I cooked them in the same kitchen my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother and my great great grandmother all cooked in before me. And perhaps with the memory of all my ancestors behind me, I began to feel that old love creep back in. That old joy of rinsing the thick soil off carrots and beats, of breaking the florets off a broccoli. That old delight in allowing the ingredients to tell me what to do with them. And that old pleasure in plating it all up and sitting around the table in the autumn evening light. The joy in someone else enjoying what you cook. And finally some quietness and stillness started to sink below the surface. I never really thought it would take more than a year.

My uncle in his garden

My uncle in his garden

My next move was to Toulouse. A pink city in the south of France. And I have been here for roughly the last five months. For the first time since leaving Australia I have a little space to curl up in at the end of the day and call my own, an oven to cook in, a bath to sink in, and a lovely little french man to get to know. At the end of May, I move to Maine for the summer where I have some work managing a cafe for some friends at 44 north. Its a little late to pledge something for the new year, but I am hoping this one will hold more pens with words and more wooden spoons.

Bisous a tout le monde!

Toulouse and the Garonne

Toulouse and the Garonne

Toulouse and the Garrone 2

Toulouse and the Garrone 2


Toulouse street scene


Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

§ 10 Responses to more than a year gone by

  • I have missed your lovely writing and photographs so I am very glad that you are starting to feel like yourself again. There’s no rush though, all in good time…

  • Véronique says:

    Bisous a toi aussi,
    Je suis en France pendant 1 mois, Mais, dommage, je suis trop loin pour venir te voir!
    Ca fait plaisir de te revoir et et t’ecrire un petit mot en Francais!! (excuse l’orthographe, c’est un clavier australien!!)
    Tous mes meilleurs souhaits….

    • Veronique! Tu es en France? Est-ce que je peut demander ou? Et merci pour tes souhaits 🙂 J’espère que tout le monde est souriant sur toi! xx

      • Véronique says:

        oui, je suis pres de Niort… dans la “venise verte”…Je suis chez ma soeur, on a une reunion de famille la semaine prochaine.
        merci de tes bons souhaits, et oui, la vie me sourit!!!
        et toi, te plais-tu en France?… Mon autre soeur vit a Toulouse… une belle ville!!
        je t’embrasse….

    • Oui le pays me plais beaucoup. Particulièrement les fromages et les pains, et maintenant avec tous les fleures qui a sorti pour le printemps. France est trop beau!!

      • Véronique says:

        … et les oiseaux!!… et oui, c’est un tel depaysement apres l’australie!

  • niaemmanouil says:

    Sophie… so lovely to read your stories once more, I have missed them (almost as much as I have missed cooking and eating with you!). Please, please, please keep writing. Much love xox

  • Jud says:

    Hi Sophie
    Great to here you are well loved the pictures and your stories keep writing I think you could be a journalist if you want to be.
    All good back home have fun in USA JK

Leave a Reply to Jud Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading more than a year gone by at the invisible cookbook.


%d bloggers like this: