potagerdeparis

food diplomacy through the story of a meal

Archive for Versailles

Independence from the pureed and soft

For the last four weeks I have been living the life of soft and pureed food.  From protein shakes, to pureed chicken or tuna salad, hummus.  I cannot tell you how absolutely boring this has been, however, I made a commitment to following the program and for doing this right.  There is no alternative.

So, on July 4th (my father’s birthday) I will celebrate with the next step in my food intake.  I now get to graduate to food that is not pureed and softened.  I get to have cooked vegetables, protein, and almost all other food except for raw food or sugar.

I am planning this first meal as if it is my last.  Where to go, what to do have, how to prepare it?  I am giddy thinking about venturing to the farmer’s market to see what to cook, eat, share.

These past few weeks have really taught me to consider the food that I am eating and savoring what is to come.  Many people ask me if the items that I will be saying goodbye for good are worth it.  For me, they are.  I did not jump into the surgery quickly.  I had to examine why I ate what I did, when I ate the food, and what the food said about me.  I came to realize that while loving all things related to food, cooking, and celebrating through food, I also need to find other things to fill those empty spaces in my life.

So I say good bye not just to the pureed and soft, but I say good-bye to empty spaces in my life.  I feel free in the independence that will be coming my way in this new chapter.   In the planning of the potager, space and layout is done with both utility and beauty. While formal lines are usually the traditional layout, sometimes, your physical space, or your body, does not conform to formality.  Understanding your physical space and what you do to fill up the holes, is paramount to a successful transition to a more positive lifestyle.

The potager is not just a personal expression of cultivation, but has roots in political and social movements.  The potager du Roi (fr: Kitchen Garden of the King), near the Palace of Versailles, produced fresh vegetables and fruits for the table of the court of Louis XIV. It was created between 1678 and 1783 by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, the director of the royal fruit and vegetable gardens. It is listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France. This potager has weathered many of rulers, movements, styles, and crops.

Today the garden is open to the public. It produces over fifty tons of fruits and thirty tons of vegetables each year, which are sold in Versailles markets and at the school. In addition to teaching, the school regularly re-introduces historic varieties and carries on an extensive program of experimentation. Students come with at least two years’ prior university education, and spend a further four years studying at Versailles, including carrying out studies on their own small plots, and planning and executing a project on a particular terrain.

So , as I experience a form of independence on July 4th, we can’t forget how the Bastille was stormed on July 14th and the independence the French masses sought for themselves from the tyranny of the King and Queen.  “Let them eat cake” will never been thought of in the same way after gastric bypass.