I joined the French Fridays with Dorie group because I needed something to do. I needed a distraction during a time when I was not working and was dealing with some not so fun medical procedures. Lots of time to sit around worrying is exactly what I did not need in that situation and so, in looking for an escape, I stumbled upon French Fridays with Dorie.
I am not a natural extrovert and the idea of joining a public forum like this one was quite daunting. I hemmed and hawed over it for a few months. The blogs I saw were perfectly edited and filled with beautiful photographs of food made by people who were obviously natural-born chefs. Yes, I know this sounds silly, but like I said, it was a difficult time and this was my thought process. I hemmed and hawed a little more and finally took the plunge.
What I needed was an escape and what I expected was to improve my cooking skills. But as many of you have already said, this journey has proven to be so much more. I have new confidence in the kitchen (the benefit of hanging out with a group of natural-born chefs for 4+ years:-)) and an arsenal of tried and true recipes. So many of Dorie’s recipes have wormed their way into my regular repertoire and a few have even become annual Thanksgiving traditions. I have not yet met the dear lady herself, but one day I hope to be able to thank her in person. Thanks to Dorie, my cupboards are stocked with pistachio oil, cardamom pods, and puff pastry. Thanks to Dorie, I can now spatchcock a chicken and whip up pie dough. And above all, I would thank her for being such a good sport as this rather unruly group of strangers picked their way through her years of hard work. I’m not sure that I would have been able to handle that with as much grace.
In this group I found kindred spirits. At home I am laughed at (not unkindly mind you, but laughed at all the same) for the sheer number of cookbooks on my shelves and the piles of kitchen gadgetry spilling out of my cupboards. In this group, I am among friends. Friends whose cookbook shelves make mine pale in comparison and whose spacious pantries I envy. On a weekly basis I was able to work up the courage to tackle some intimidating new recipes because I knew that this group would be there at the end to support me. You’ve never laughed at my failures, but have instead helped me to learn to laugh at them myself. I can’t thank you enough.
Four year ago I had too much free time and too many worries. Today I’m back at work and life is hectic but good. Four years ago I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable in such a group. Today my eyes tear up at the thought of it ending.
A few weeks ago, just after we had finished the very last recipe from Around my French Table, I sat down to put together my menu plan and grocery list for the weekend. And do you know, I had no idea what to make. I seriously sat there for a few minutes, stumped as to what I was going to do without Dorie telling me what to cook and without the Doristas giving me support along the way. But then I remembered that shelf full of cookbooks and all the new recipes I’ve mastered, and life carried on:-)
This is not goodbye, it is just the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.