The Impressionist Canvas was filled with the Joys of Dining
One of the most interesting aspects of the lives of the Impressionists was their love of good food, company and a well set table. Monet, Renoir, and many Impressionist artists knew and socialised with each other. If they were in Paris, a celebration at a restaurant like the the Riche in the Grand Boulevards district was a favorite. Here in this elegant white and gold surroundings they toasted their recent gallery openings or successful sales.
Most of the Impressionists came from upper middle class families, except a few like Renoir who came to his success later in life. Some of the recipes are still with us today. Inspired by the French love of gardens, vegetable or flowers these dishes enjoyed bv the artists in their homes were often accompanied by French wines grown on their property or were sourced from nearby wine estates.
Eating in the French Countryside
Renoir in his final years moved to his farmhouse, LES COLLETTES where he spent his final years. The recipes for his country lifestyle and cooking were carried out by his wife ALINE and her many cooks are a marvel of Southern French Cooking. Imagine that his paintings of bowls of fruit or vegetables also came to life on his table for friends and family. Here (like MONET) RENOIR enjoyed with ALINE, his wife, the life of a simple farmer. Recipes from the RENOIR kitchen in the at Les Collettes where the inspiration for these dishes relied on the gardens of Aline, Renoir’s wife who cultivated them with exquisite care.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Soup A L’Oignon – Country style Onion Soup with Great Dollops of Cheese
- Japanese Salad made with potatoes, steamed mussels, boiled sliced eggs and Shaved Truffles (c. 1887)
- Bacon Roasted Joint of Beef, The traditional French way of preparing a Pot Roast is laced with Bacon.
- Cezanne’s Baked Tomatoes, cut in half, sprinkled with sea salt and doused with Olive Oil, then baked.
- Tarte au Petite Fruis Rouge, Red Berries Tarte, served with Creme Fraiche
These simple French Foods are readily available to the modern cook with just a few adjustments. (the Beef may not be to your taste, so see the vegetables and salads);
Editor’s Note: To find out the details of these recipes please get in touch, or join our podcast on the subject @getcallin at your app store for our PODCAST. The PARIS ADVENTURESS