One way to honor France: cook up some of its culture

So sad. 

France is so close to my heart. My husband is French. My son – that's him a few years ago in the photo above – is French. Well, half-French, but he's a citizen. 

One feels so powerless in the face of such evil – a Bastille Day attack that left so many people, people who were celebrating what's wonderful about France – dead. And more wounded. 

There's nothing to do. Except maybe what we can do: continue celebrating what's wonderful about France. Liberté, égalité, fraternité. What it means to be French: a love of life, of food, of the world. An open spirit. An embrace of beauty. It has so much in common with what's wonderful about being American.

I'm going to become French, too – as soon as I get off my butt and do the (ridiculous amount of) paperwork. What happened in Nice inspires me to get off my butt. 

But for now –  tonight –  I just want to cook something French. I think it'll be a niçoise salad – yes, for what happened in Nice. I'll try to post a pic and a recipe this weekend.

Meanwhile, maybe you, too, feel like cooking something French. For France.

I can't think of anything more à propos than a pissaladière. The onion and anchovy tart with niçoise olives is definitely something you might eat in Nice. It's really good as an appetizer (entrée, in French, as it's your entry into the meal . . . ) with a glass of pastis. Ricard – an inch or so poured into a tall glass, then diluted with about three times as much ice water – is very very French. Or you could have it with a glass of rosé.

On the other hand, you could do something really simple to start, like cut up a fabulous ripe cantaloupe and serve that as an entrée – that's what my mother- and father-in-law do. They live in Bordeaux most of the year, and spend summers at their house near the beach at Lacanau-Océan. Or trim some radishes, and serve them with sweet butter and salt. 

An artichoke vinaigrette makes a great entrée if you feel like doing a little cooking. 

After that, you could make deviled duck legs. They're super-easy, and crazy-good. Serve them on a bed of frisée, if you like. 

A simple green salad could follow, maybe some cheese, if you want to over-do it. 

For dessert, consider a stone-fruit tart with thyme.

Though you don't want to make that if you're scheming a pissaladière – too many crusts! In that case, or if you really want to keep it simple, and still very French, peel a ripe peach and slice it into your glass of red wine. Eat the slices with a spoon, and sip the wine.

Life is so precious, and so fleeting. As long as we can savor it, we have something no one can take away.