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Mixin' in the Village Gravy by Amy MagnusParis In Yellow Springs

BLOG-The Springs in April

Last year, when the first days of Spring arrived, winter remained deeply entrenched in the land. Devoid of green, the ground was tainted blown-wheat yellow by drought, and the drive along Hyde Road looked as hopeless as a scene from The Walking Dead.

Hyde Road vista

This year’s winter may have been cold and hard, but its heavy snows left the ground banked with water. By early March, the trees lost their gaunt silver and blushed out of dormancy. When the snow melted away, it revealed healthy grass, and today the front lawn is a lush green carpet.

crocuseshyacinths

The night rains showered the ground afresh, and the misted spring beds are yielding their first favorites. Crocuses have exploded into blooms of royal purple. The hyacinths are set to erupt like freshly lit firecrackers. The mushroom hunters about town are starting to bring home their long-awaited bounty from secret gardens.

Vive la Franceapple pastry

The day demanded a walk and, after a turn about the town and tipping the hat to many a friend, my feet led me to Current Cuisine for lunch. Passing the clusters of Easter candy eggs and rabbits for the back deli case of savoy treats, I paused drawn short by the pile of flaky fruit pastries blessing the top of the pastry case. I had found myself transported to Paris in April, Current Cuisine’s theme for this weekend. Lemon tarts and raspberry danishes gaped at me like children at Christmas.

pastriescake case

I managed to sneak past them to the main deli case and found an intriguing collection of chicken salads perfect for dressing up a butter croissant roll. I almost asked for one such sandwich when I rose up on my toes to peak at the sheet pans of ratatouille and cassoulet.

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I hovered over the pan of cassoulet—still warm from its kitchen oven—breathing in the aroma of rich gravy and the smothered pieces of dark chicken and white beans. Lunch was before me. I ordered a boat of the French stew and sat down at the front window to enjoy the Spring-lit nook at the front of the busy delicatessen. The dark meat in the cassoulet tasted like foie gras, the flavorful French delicacy of fattened duck liver. Trust me now, this effect is a very good thing. It spoke well of the quality of the chicken and the skill of the chef in preparing a gravy that enhanced the essence of the excellent meat without masking it.

in line for lunchsunlit lunchchocolat macaroon

Returning to the checkout counter, I did treat myself to one small pastry: a chocolate macaroon. Its delicate sandwich crust and creamy filling ended my afternoon repast on a sweet, satisfying note. I returned outside to my walk to find signs of another local enjoying a Paris-Spring day. A bike stood balanced against the front window at the Emporium. Beside it, a large baguette wrapped in a soft cover book lay poised on the window sill. I smiled to see further evidence of how blessed we are: to live in village as art-garden, good-bread, fine-food rich as I would ever hope to find among the elegant districts of Paris.

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