When you move from one continent to another, you can only take the more important household items with you. In our case that eliminated all electrically powered gadgets right off the top. The US is one of only 3 countries in the world that uses 110-volt current. Since the rest of the world uses 220-240 volts in domestic settings, everything from my beloved fuchsia colored Illy Francis Francis espresso machine to my husband’s cherished power drill had to be left behind, lest they fry, as soon as you flip the ‘on’ switch. For the non-electrified kitchen equipment, you have to weigh the cost of shipping against replacement cost. Not too much of our ‘old stuff’ made it all the way across the ocean to France!

In Saintes, we gradually replaced the abandoned small appliances, TV set and washer & dryer with their European counterparts. We carefully evaluated prices and performance reviews for the different brands, many of which were completely unknown entities to us. Then we placed our orders one by one, either locally or online, spread through the three months waiting period, before we finally took possession of our new home. 

Soon after move-in, I was getting ready to prepare dinner in our assumed fully equipped kitchen. I pulled out the never-before-used hand mixer and inserted the balloon beaters, only to realize that we had no mixing bowl! All that care lavished on appliances, not a single thought spent on such pedestrian items as bowls. And since we started traveling hither and yon soon after, we never did buy one.

Fast forward to our most recent home exchange in Hamburg, Germany, where we enjoyed the company of family and friends. However, one of my sisters is currently working very hard to overcome several severe health issues and was not yet able to participate in any activities with us. Instead, she found a way to welcome us in the spirit of an Athabaskan potlatch, by giving away some of her possessions. I received not only a pair of plush, velvety, cognac-colored lounging pants for next winter but also the set of mixing bowls we never purchased and so badly needed. Merci, Chérie!



Leftovers turned Frittata, with Herbes de Provence roasted new potatoes, zucchini, onion, red peppers & cheeses. The egg mix was flavored with crème d’anchoïade, the fabulously delicious, soft anchovy cream from Gaillard in Pézenas, purveyors of olives, their oils, plus herbs & sauces. You can see two pictures of this loveliest of stores here.  

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