Today is Fête des Voisins —just think block party! It's an official date of celebrating and having a convivial moment with your neighbors. It's B.Y.O.B. and potluck. It was started up by a Parisian group of friends to strengthen neighborly relationships, to reinforce proximity, create solidarity amongst neighbors, and to mobilize them against loneliness and exclusion.
These people are still partying nineteen years later as an official association. With funding and sponsorship they have been able to help neighbors in difficulty; festive Christmas parties are held for those who don't have family near them, assistance is offered to disabled or elderly people, day care may be available to parents in need.
It's quite an organized event and it's a nice reminder to us city folks that we do live in a community... and that it is actually nice to have a chat with your neighbors. If no one is taking the initiative to throw a Fête des Voisins in your buidling just go to your local town hall and inquire about it. The town hall in each arrondissement offers Fête des Voisins posters to display in your residence so that your neighbors can't say they forgot about it. T-shirts are also given out to the organizers of the event.
We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that the rain stays out of the way. Our building loves a party and we usually spill out onto the pathway way past our bedtime.
Come on out now and show some neighborly love!
Tricolored Tian With Provençal Vegetables
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
• 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
• 2 tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
• 2 sprigs thyme
• black pepper and sea salt, adjust accordingly
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
Choose the vegetables with approximately the same diameter in size. Then wash and slice them into rounds.
Preheat your oven to 220° Celsius (approx. 425°F).
In an earthenware dish or baking dish add your minced garlic and diced onion. Mix it up with a splash of olive oil and place it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. You'll see the garlic sizzling and the onion sweating.
Take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly, then alternately lay your vegetables following a pattern of an escargot shell. Start from the edge of the baking dish and continue the pattern until you reach the center. If you have a rectangular dish just line them up in rows.
Generously sprinkle your choice of herbs (I used thyme this time), some sea salt, and black pepper.
Drizzle olive oil all over the vegetables.
Place it in the oven to bake at 220° C for 30 minutes and then cover the vegetables with a sheet of aluminum and place it back in the oven to back for another 15 minutes at 175° C (350° F). The vegetables should be slightly roasted on the outside and tender on the inside.
Let it cool and serve at room temperature.
The amount of vegetables I used above fit a 7 inch round (17.5 cm) earthenware dish.