It's just the place where you stop the story... (French Fridays with Dorie)

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  Lao-Tzu

I know that the final task in our French Fridays journey was to improvise on a AMFT recipe. But heck, my whole French Fridays journey has been one big improvisation (or "going rogue" as some might say), so why would I start following directions now?
I make no apologies.
Yes, it's about the food; but it stopped really being about the food a long time ago...

Before we all sail off into the sunset, it's time to make one final homage French Fridays with Dorie and Around My French Table

When I hit publish on that first post in October 2010, I did not have an inkling how this "little cooking" group was going to take over my pantry...and my life.

It started innocently enough. I started keeping an extra pound of butter in the refrigerator. And a box or two of puff pastry. Then came the sel gris and the Aleppo pepper... and...and...but that's a post for another time.
Next came the comments. I think Trevor was one of the very first... (I still smell cinnamon).
People came and people went.
Recipes were loved and recipes were not so loved (the former far outweighing the latter).

Techniques were learned and honed.  

Each week - with every recipe, each comment, each story - this became a little bit less of a "cooking group" and a little bit more of a place where friends could gather and connect.
Over time, virtual friendships turned into "real live" friendships. I have dragged "The Dude" all the way from our little spot in Upstate NY to places like Seattle, Vancouver and NYC to make sure those connections happened. Even Runner Girl has been roped into a Dorista meet up. (P. S. There are still a few more meet-ups that need to happen. Just saying...) 

During this period we have watched each other go through some major life changes. Birth. Loss. Growing up. Moving across continents.
We groaned together over the cost of those"second mortgage"/ "sell your firstborn child" dinners. Some weeks it felt like was more about the scavenger hunt for a particular ingredient than it was about the recipe itself. (If you had to order at least one item from Amazon or went to more than five stores to source something at any point during this project, raise your hand...).

We faced food aversions over and over and over again. Some recipes remained in the "no thank you" category, while others earned a second chance. (Liver is still a no go). We mini-fied. We substituted. We served some pretty wacky meal combinations all in the name of "the blog". We have force fed shared these meals with family and friends and they have been gracious enough to put up with it all. Except when they haven't.

This journey has followed me through many highs and lows and has created a place for me to ride out the storms of life. It brought something to my life that I didn't know I needed, and I am grateful.

What's next? I do not have a clue. Life continues to be transitional.

A big thank you to Mary and Betsy for keeping the lights on (brakes, optional; happiness, not optional). Laurie for getting the ball rolling. And of course, Dorie - who provided the platform for this adventure of ours.

I am grateful for friendships forged over food. It has been an honor and a privilege to cook along with you for the past several years.

Since others have said it so well, I will close out my AMFT journey with the following:
“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.”  L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz    
"There’s a trick to the 'graceful exit.' It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”  Ellen Goodman (This one's for Trevor...)
“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren't really an ending; some things are never-ending.” C. JoyBell C. 
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” Frank Herbert
...and it is here that this story stops.

Until the next story begins, my friends. Until we meet again...

Peace out.


This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.


  1. A great post Cher - the quotes are very apt. I so loved meeting with you in person, and I agree that there are more meet-ups that I should arrange for the future. Wish I was not so far away as once a year is probably as good as it gets for me to meet some fellow Doristas. A big hi to Joe and Runner Girl, whom I also had the pleasure of meeting. I look forward to seeing what you do next. (I am glad that I still have a few other groups to keep me on the path, otherwise I'd be a little lost right now.)

  2. There is no real ending, I know we will meet again. Ro

  3. You had me smiling and chuckling all the way until I hit the quotations. Guess I am lucky I made it that far. I guess I would like to just say "I agree" or "what she said" on all of it. Seattle, Saratoga, NYC- books, recipes, olive oil and balsamic. Teenagers and taste testers. Oh my. Wonderful, wonderful memories and SO not an end.....:) Just saying. And yes, Peace Out for now ~

  4. Well said. Sniff. Well said. You summed it up perfectly.

    It has been a joy cooking along with you the past four years and I hope to meet up again on some future adventure. Peace out😍

  5. Aw Cher. I am speechless reading through posts this morning. And sad. BUt also very joyful that I met all of you. And yes, some meetups still need to happen IRL. XOXO

  6. Cher, though we've never met in person, I feel like I "know" you from all of the sharing over the years. Amazing how the last 5 years have played out! I've so enjoyed cooking with you, and your honest, witty and kind assessments. Love admire your writing so much!

    I'm certainly looking forward to staying in touch. And who knows, I might make it for one of those meet-ups!! That would be fun.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend!!

  7. Perfect post, just perfect. The part that resonated the most to me (ok, the whole thing did, but I'm talking about the most), is about how this group provided you with something you didn't know you needed. It's truly been a pleasure to meet you and have you as my friend. Looking forward to seeing you in October. I wonder what new stories we will have to share by then. A bientot!

  8. Cher what any I going to do without your existential perspective on cooking... what will I do without your book recommendation??? I guess I will just have to hold my breath until the Fall.
    Can't wait.

  9. Dear Cher, it has been a pleasure indeed to "meet" you and your lovely daughters through AMFT - you have a unique and totally irreplacable sense of humor that I will miss for a while (but not for too long I hope...) - looking forward to many more cooking adventures with you an the rest of the group...who knows what the future will bring.
    Hugs to all of you - hope the girls are doing well and succeeding in their programs!
    If any of you ever feel like coming to EU, let me know...I do happen to know a few pretty good spots that one should pay a visit to.
    All the best for now and enjoy summer,

  10. Thank you - and really, all of the group - for always making me feel like a part of the group, even though I turned into a lightbulb Dorista during the last stretch. Also for humoring me when I turned on the writing quirks up to eleven.

    I'll call you next time I'm around New York, but only if you get your homework done on the train. It's an honor to be your plantain coach, my friend.

  11. A perfect post, Cher! You are truly a unique lady, with an amazing sense of humor, and I am proud to call you a friend. As long as you blog, I will be here reading the “Wonderful World According to Cher”!
    I also know this is not good bye…just the end of one adventure! I can’t wait to see what’s next! Peace out, my friend! Hugs!

  12. Beautifully said, Cher! I've enjoyed cooking along side of you and I will miss you on Fridays! I don't know what is happening with your move but I hope all goes smoothly! I hope to see you for a NE Dorista Meetup one of these days. Take care. Peace out:)

  13. Beautiful quotes, Cher! Definitely à propos and speak to the bittersweetness of the group ending. You have such a funny "voice" on your blog and I'd check in every now and then during my hiatus just to see what shenanigans you were up to. Cheers!

  14. There we are! I'm so glad you two made it up to Vancouver so we could meet.

    Your writing and stories, along with your tendency to 'go rogue,' have become such important touchstones in this group. I'm so glad to have cooked alongside you.

    The quotations you chose are a perfect way to cap off this project and you really captured what this group has become when you said, "brought something to my life that I didn't know I needed, and I am grateful." Absolutely.

  15. I love the C. Joybell quote. Really beautiful, and really beautiful post. I do hope to keep following your life through TWD. So much fun to hear what's going on every week.

  16. How did I miss your final FFWD posts?!?! Life, I guess. I'm all caught up now... Your posts were some of the ones I looked forward to the most every Friday, and I certainly miss them (and everyone one else too). You always hit the perfect blend of humor, food-talk, and life. If you are ever in Reno, or I am ever back East, I would love to meet you!


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