Lisa Erickson (Wild Chow) mug

There are so many things I love about French culture. The language, clothes, and ooh la la, the food.

Some of my French children are here for Thanksgiving for the first time. 

Our family has been foreign exchange hosts for years. We love learning about new cultures and people by inviting kids into our home. My mom and dad were exchange hosts when I was 15 to a girl from France. That special connection has lasted over 40 years and is still going strong. 

Cécile and I have kept in contact spent time together often and now the family has extended to aunts, uncles, and cousins. The connection is deep. 

A few years ago, my heart swelled like the Grinch’s when one of the girls (Cecile’s niece) who has stayed with us many different times, referred to me as her American Mum. 

Her sister and her husband are here, and once again, France is filling my heart and my home. 

While there are many similarities there are many things that are different about our cultures. 

When I was in France, I felt like I fit in for the first time in my life. I loved the way they dressed, shopped, and prepared food. Art supplies filled the isles of the department stores. The food markets dedicated to one type of food like fish or even horse meat—yes, that is a thing over there. And everyone is prim and proper—like the way my parents raised me.

Food takes center stage in many French homes—meaning it’s not about only eating or filling up. A lot of time is spent in the presentation of the food and everything that surrounds the meal. Wine and bread are served at every meal. The table is set with placemats, multiple forks, cloth napkins, and no one would ever dream of doing anything else while eating such as driving or working. Food is very much part of family culture.

Even leftovers are made into something beautiful and new. 

Last week, I asked my Frenchies, as I affectionately call them, shared their favorite meal with me—carrot tart, which is perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers. 

I’ve made adaptions to make it easier and more palatable for American tastes, but if you want the true French version, head over to the www.wisconsinmilkhouse.com for the full recipe. 

 

Aux-carottes-et-lardons Tarte

 

1 pie crust

1 cup leftover carrots

½ onion, chopped and cooked

1 cup Gruyere cheese

1 cup turkey, bacon, or ham (or even all three)

1/3 cup goat cheese 

3 Tbsp. sour cream

3 eggs

Dash of nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9-inch fluted tart pan. 

Press the pie crust into the sides and bottom into the buttered 8 or 9-inch tart pan. Prick holes with a fork into the bottom. Spread the goat cheese on the bottom of the pie dough. Top with the carrot and onion mixture. Add the meat on top and sprinkle with the cheese. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the eggs with the sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste along with the nutmeg. Pour over the top of the tart and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked and the cheese is melted. Slice and serve immediately.