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.
Rosa what a lovely post. I was already teary pressing “publish” this morning and now I’m reading through all the posts and it’s even worse. In a lovely way though. I look forward to see where your culinary journey takes you now. I’m subscribed 🙂
LOL – I faced the same problem of not really knowing what to make after FFWD. We have all learned so much on this journey (though my photos are still crappy ;)), and I know that I am the richer for it. It’s been great doing FFWD with you Rosa, and I look forward to hearing about your next adventures.
There is an odd hole, isn’t there? 1-2 nights of my weekly food plan is empty as well. I loved reading this post, Rosa, and I’m glad to have connected with you here. 🙂 Cheers!
I didn’t realize that you were having a hard time when you joined the group. So glad that FFWD provided therapy and improved your cooking skills too. Thanks for all your thoughtful comments. It was a pleasure.
I’ve been going from one post to the next with tears in my eyes! Your post has certainly touched my heart, Rose. So glad you made the plunge…it has been a great journey! I’m delighted we got to make it together!
This morning my husband said “what are we going to eat now?” Sigh.
What a lovely tribute to the experience you had with French Fridays. As long as there are cookbooks, there’ll always be plenty of recipes to add to your menu plan, right?!
This is a most special group. What we lacked in technical proficiency in terms of photos and fancy stuff, we overcompensated with heart and all the truly important things. I wouldn’t post my wretched attempts at pastry or the ruined cannelés if it weren’t because I knew I would be getting pointers from our more experienced members and a bit of sympathy. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you as a home cook and blogger.
I will never look at “Friday” the same way 🙂 Oh my. You nailed it. And you got me very teary eyed. So, so touched by this post and I agree with your sentiments EXACTLY. I also love that you posted how gracious Dorie was about all of us publicly reviewing every.single.recipe. Wow I would not have had the intestinal fortitude for that myself. I also hope that you know that Nana and I do think of and refer to you and our other Doristas on other than Fridays and we hope to meet you one day in person. Please do contact us if you hit the states (Vermont……mayhaps ?) and if I am lucky enough to get to Germany you and Andrea will be the first to know !! All the very best ~
A beautiful post Rose. I always thought that I could never compete with the beautiful photos
everyone was posting but I just kept plugging along. If nothing else, blogging gave me confidence
that I really never had, and that’s a good thing. I have enjoyed cooking with you and I know this
is not really going to end, just a little time off. Good luck to you.
Oh, Rose, I’m using the tissues. You summed up our group so well. Kindred spirits, for sure, and so so supportive. Like you, I had no idea what I was getting into, and certainly no clue where it would lead. I am so glad you took the plunge because I have really enjoyed getting to know you. I hope we eventually meet in person. In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue to blog about your cooking adventures as you get reacquainted with your other cookbooks. I always think of you when I find some obscure ingredient or cooking gadget hiding in my “Mary Poppins” pantry or basement. Now that you’ve seen my cookbook collection, you can see that I’m a bit of a packrat. It also is a result of not moving house in over 20 years. Keep in touch!
Rose, I read your post last night, and immediately reached for tissues, and Dorie’s recipe for pasta risotto – a night for comfort food indeed! I so agree with all that you’ve said. It has been a wonderful experience. I too have a lot of cookbooks that I’ve neglected, I’m afraid, so I need to force myself into a cooking plan for the next little bit, until I figure out what’s next. 🙂 I always am delighted when I get an email letting me know you have a new post, and I will be looking forward to seeing what you’re up to. This really was just delightful!
Rose, such a well written post and all I can think of right now is that we share the sentiment about needing some distraction in our lives when things were a bit “out of sorts” – I am looking forward to meeting you at the end of the summer when things slow down a bit around here – keeping these kids busy in summertime is sometimes a bit exhausting! I will make sure to keep following your blogging adventures!
All the best for now and see you very soon…also looking forward to finally getting authentic ingredients for that Frankfurt “green sauce”.
Take good care of yourself and have a nice week,
Very well said – as one of the shy ones, I fully get what you are saying. This was something I didn’t know I needed, but I am richer for the experience.
Please do let us know if you are stateside – if you reach VT, it is very close.
Time to pay attention to some of those other cookbooks.
What a lovely post Rosa! I am happy to hear that your worries from four years ago have eased. I particularly liked the way you thanked Dorie for her graciousness in supporting our endeavors. You are so right. She spent many years compiling Around My French Table and then we come along and analyze and dissect and publish our experiences and opinions! Who, I ask, would appreciate that scrutiny? I am not a shy person myself, but I am also not someone who likes to put myself forward. I especially do not reveal my inner self readily. This experience has helped me with that. If you ever get to Oklahoma I hope you will look me up.
You’ve done such a wonderful job of describing the group and I’m glad it came into your life when it did. I’ve so enjoyed your posts and the voice you bring to your writing. It’s been lovely blogging alongside you through the years. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next and will follow along with your adventures.
This is such a beautifully written post, Rosa. You said so many things that I would have liked to say but didn’t know how to put into words. You mentioned Dorie being a good sport. I wonder how often we thought about that as we picked apart or praised or what if? or why did she suggest this? and on and on. Dorie had already poured her heart and soul into creating that cookbook and then we French Fridays gals came along. Her willingness to allow us to do that without rebuttal or expressing wounded feelings was very special. Yes, we must salute Dorie for that. I also have been wondering around in a circle trying to put together meal plans for the month of July. Yes, I have bookshelves of cookbooks, many of them new and untried. But, what to make? FFWD was the anchor which spawned many of our creative menu ideas. I think it will take some time to get back on course without Dorie and each other. There was something special, special, special about this group and you certainly contributed to that. I looked forward to reading your posts every week and value your friendship. Hopefully we will all keep in touch, if only on Facebook. And, please make an effort to meet Dorie. She’s quite a lady. XOXOX
Truly beautiful post. I’m so glad that you took the plunge and joined the group. I’ve loved reading your posts over the years. I’ve had trouble making my grocery list the last few weeks too. I miss having Dorie’s guidance.