In the corner of the kitchen stood a small gas stove, its enamel and chrome gleaming in the soft light. There started the preparation, orchestrated by my sweetheart, for the best meal I ever had.
She scored around the top of the cheese, cut off the top layer of its skin, and drizzled some olive oil for good measure.
Working side by side with her, I peeled a clove of garlic, sliced it, and poked it into the wheel of Camembert, along with with a few fresh rosemary tips. Into the hot oven it went, and moments later, the aroma of its melting became painfully irresistible. This was more than merely the pangs of hunger. It was my body and soul, screaming urgently together to celebrate survival right now, to celebrate life.
“How long should it bake?” asked the boy, barely able to contain himself.
And Natasha said, “Until it’s oozy in the middle.”
Meanwhile, she threaded bite-sized pieces of stale bread onto the stripped rosemary sprigs, sprinkled them with a tiny pinch of sea salt, and set them into the oven on a small metal tray, to cook with the Camembert till they became crispy.
“Where did you learn this recipe?” I asked.
“Oh,” she replied, as if not to reveal her sources. “Here and there.”
“One day, you’ll have to tell me all about it.”
“One day, I will.”
At last, all of us gathered around the table. We dunked the bread skewers, which had turned golden brown, into the gooey cheese, and then rolled the skewers in a small bowl filled with a handful of dried, finely chopped cranberries mixed with nuts. This, to me, was a little mouthful of heaven.
Having eaten his fill, Monsieur Antoine pushed himself away from the table and with a yawn, stretched his limbs.
“No more speeches from me tonight, I promise!” he said. “Want to go for a little walk?”
“Bien sûr!” said the girl and the boy, in unison.
The three of them got up and left the kitchen. A moment later they were out of the house, leaving me alone with my sweetheart, at long last.
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"Uvi Poznansky, a master story-teller, captures the sights, sounds and smells of World War II France, bringing them to life with an imaginative plot, excellent writing, a mastery of fine detail and the creation of imagery in her scenes. She draws you into the story as though you were there, experiencing what Lenny and Natasha experience."
- Bill Cronin, Author
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