In England the advertising slogan ‘go to work on an egg’ has been banned. Apparently an egg every morning is not a well-balanced enough diet. This morning we were late for school so Rupert gave Olivia an apricot for breakfast as she got in the car.
“You must buy more of these,” she said.
Actually they come from our garden. And although life in the south if France is not all rural idyll, this morning it was.
After we dropped the children at school we walked down to our almond grove where we watered our wisteria and oleander. Then we sat in the morning sun eating fresh almonds. They are the most beautiful things. The hull is a light, delicate green, its flesh is moist and thick. Once you open this you have the kernel, a light-brown shell that looks like its made of cork. Inside this is the fresh almond, covered in a creamy-coloured skin you need to remove before eating the milky-white nut.
The nut is crunchy, slightly wet and delicous. Apart from tasting great it feels like its doing you good. You become addicted to them. Rupert was breaking open the hulls with a stone as fast as he could but it wasn’t fast enough.
Mid-way though our almond feast I heard the sound of a car I recognised. It was the postman. He stopped to give me my weekly copy of Elle Magazine and we poured some almonds into his post-bag for him to take home. He wasn’t impressed with Rupert’s almond-opening method and told us in great detail how we should open them with a knife.
This is one of the nice things about living in France. Everyone has an opinion on what to do with food; where to buy or grow it, how to cook it, when to eat it, what to eat it with. It shows what a priority it is, which I find extremely civilised.
Though I’m sure no one would deny that going to school on an apricot from your own garden is one of the finest ways to start a day.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007