Afternoon strawberries and champagne

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So my friend Allison and I were wandering around our neighborhood along the market street Rue Moufftard. Allison married our friend Michael last summer after a whirlwind romance, although the pair have known each other for 18 years. Her new husband was immediately reassigned to Paris, so last August, she found herself in a city she’d never visited in her life, unable to speak French and utterly baffled by the culture.

Months later, she’s making strides with her French. Her husband travels all the time for business, so she’s alone a lot but she makes the best of it she can, given that she’s a newlywed and all. On Wednesday, she found out that she had been accepted to the Le Cordon Bleu to study patisserie. That same afternoon, I found out that my recent book had won first place in the memoir/autobiography  category from the American Society of Journalists & Authors. To celebrate, we went for a long lunch and then happened by a stall selling the first of the season strawberries. “You know what we need?” I asked. “Champagne.” We happened on a great wine shop where a woman recommended a bottle of bubbles. At precisely 3:44, we opened the champagne and started on the strawberries. The soft, gentle bubbles of the champagne offset the tartness of the strawberries. They were a lovely color if a bit tough, but it’s March, what do you expect?

We sat in our apartment and looked out over the French rooftops, chatting about her upcoming education and missing our husbands. (My own Mike has been in London for three days.) Her husband comes home on Sunday. “To our husbands,” she proposed.

“… and to their wives,” I said. We clinked glasses. Sometimes, you need champagne to remind you of the things you need to celebrate, such as remembering how much you love your husband or cementing a new friendship.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry,” “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” and “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good.” All are published by Viking/Penguin.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS!! Such great news on winning first place – and so deserved! I’ve been reading my copy since the Northeastern Xhibition Kitchen event and soaking in every bit. Love all the recipes, tips, and, of course, the writing. Hooray!!

  2. marmadukescarlet1 says:

    A charming story. Thank you. Which has reminded me that I just can’t wait until it is English strawberry season!

  3. Congratulations, my friend. So very proud of you. This is such a well-deserved award! Celebrate! I wish I was there with you.

  4. Clare C. says:

    Wow, that’s a beautiful image.

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