The peace of open spaces


Day 22 of confinement.

It is Tuesday.

I think.

Unwashed cars and a few masked individuals with uncut hair are out on the streets.

Restaurants and cafes?

Remember those?

None are open in France.

But, flowers and birdsong? So abundant and beautiful!

Spring is erupting in Bordeaux

1. CHEF.

Other chefs are not available to share their latest dishes, so this time—c’est moi—that’s me. I’m better with baking than cooking; more comfortable with soups or desserts than complex meat dishes. But, no one is commenting about my cooking lately! Ah, yes, there is a reason for that.

That photo below? Taken during happier times without social distancing. Such days shall return!


Here is a simple meal: homemade bread and soup.

The braided bread recipe comes from the cookbook The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, written decades ago by Mollie Katzen. I’ve baked this bread while living in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Africa. Beauty is simplicity: the ingredients include flour, salt, yeast, honey, melted butter and eggs.

One significant attraction of this recipe is that it requires that you knead the dough. This takes at least a half an hour and the activity can lull you into a semi-meditative state. It’s very soothing.

Challah bread (sesame seeds are sprinkled on a melted butter coating before it goes in the oven)

The soup is Terlaner soup. I’ve chosen this and written about it before (the recipe was given to me by Rudi Kofler of Andrian Wines in northern Italy) because it’s wonderful for winter or spring or fall, and also because professional photographer Julia Juhé captured photographs of this dish when we worked together last year. This simple soup includes beef broth, cream, egg yolks, white wine, breadcrumbs, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s acidic, fresh, hearty and filling.

Terlaner soup from the Alto-Adige region of Italy (photo by Julia Juhé).


This quite amateur video shot inside my apartment today shows which Languedoc wine can be paired with this bread and soup combo: 2017 Château Saint-Helene.

(The Instagram livestream en primeur tastings that I will do next week will be more professional; promise.)


Here is what I have learned:

  • Wash all dishes immediately at home. Don’t let any stack up. Once you delay on dishes, you begin to let other disciplines slip, and that is not good.
  • Get out daily. Walk, run, watch the sunset. Or sunrise.
  • Save your best wines to share with great company. Although you should occasionally break this rule. (Occasionally does not necessarily mean frequently.)
  • Ration your allotted time watching Netflix and Amazon Prime videos.
  • Reading (or listening to) good books will keep you happier than incessantly following news and Twitter.
  • Spending time in open space and gardens is essential for health and sanity.
  • Hear those beautiful birdsongs? Continue to appreciate them after lockdown/confinement ends.

Finally, the following video will be included in a Forbes post I am now assembling and will put online within a week. Yet, it is so wonderful that I am also sharing it now.

This video was specifically and kindly shot for me this morning by Giulia Monteleone and Benedetto Alessandro of Monteleone Wines on Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy.

They address how the confinement situation impacts their winemaking. Their words are wise. They also embody optimism about how this event can improve mutual interactions in the future.

Grazie Giulia & Benedetto!

And thank you all for tuning in again.

Giulia Monteleone and Benedetto Alessandro of Monteleone Wines, Sicily, Italy

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