Saturday lunches are complicated. They need to be quick, preferably interesting and original enough to keep young boys happy. I think someone should write a book of recipes especially for Saturday lunchtimes. I'd do it myself, but I have enough trouble trying to come up with dishes without it taking up all my free time too!
The agreeable alternative is eating out. It's by far the option I prefer, but it's a bit of a luxury for those of us who do menial paper-pushing jobs... However, today, the opportunity presented itself with a forced trip to Sommières.
We had a round of birthday parties to depose children at, starting with a friend of my youngest in Sommières which started at 12 noon. Having hurriedly dashed around Norma and Intermarche to do the week's shop plus buy water-pistols as birthday presents, we had time to get on the road to Sommières in time for lunch. After bidding ta-ta to my youngest, we went and parked the car in the ever-expanding carpark on one side of the river, crossed to the other side, and headed towards the market.
Sommières is a lovely town especially as the market is almost hidden from view. You either have to descend precarious steps, or wind your way around narrow paved streets to get there, which means that you could visit the rest of the town and be completely unware that the market was there at all!
It takes place in a square shaded by huge plane trees and stalls are packed into the confined space selling fruit, vegetables, clothes, knives, cheese, freshly roast chickens, sausisson, herbs, oysters, and galettes. Around the market, covered arches house bars, restaurants and other shops. It is a wonderful place to stroll around as it is free of traffic and full of such good things.
At one of the bars we found our friend Peter from the Languedoc Page. He lives nearby and very much enjoys the Saturday market. He was sat at a table with a few remaining chairs so we grabbed them quickly and sat solidly down. Then I went off in search of lunch. I took my eldest and set him to queue at the galettes stall. Fillings there include cheese or spinach or herbs or meat. He was after a meat one. They also had tubs containing various salad-type goodies all lovely and fresh. I then went to find the Bouzigues oyster stand. They had three sizes, the biggest costing 3.50€ for a dozen. I asked for 2 dozen, opened and was told to get a tray from the bar. I had to persuade an elderly couple to rationalise their two trays into one... and dashed back.
You may think there would be a charge for opening the oysters, but when I came to pay I was asked for 7€! Bargain! I went to buy some bread and a lonely lemon to complete the meal. My eldest was sitting looking dejected back at the table. There had been no more meat galettes, so we set off again. He doesn't like cheese which restricts things somewhat, but he loves saussison, so we found the saussison stall and he chose, instead of one of the fascinating varieties containing cèpes etc., a classic pork one.
The oysters were washed down with acres of rosé wine and were delicious. We were joined by other friends of Peter's and had a very merry lunch, in the shade of medieval stone arches enjoying the warmth of the sun from the square. This is one of the most appealing aspects of living down here.
I 'staggered' back to the car, we dropped off my eldest at his party, and then went back home... to snooze!