Restaurant Review: La Galette Berichonne

10 April 2013

Fordland, MO is not exactly the culinary capital of the world. That’s why I was surprised to hear rave reviews about a French restaurant in Fordland called La Galette Berichonne. With a Gallic sense of skepticism, I decided to try it for myself.


First Impressions. The building itself is modest but decorated with little French touches. Each meal came with a house salad and homemade vinaigrette and an abundance of freshly-made bread. All food is made from scratch using local ingredients whenever possible and the quality is reflected in the great taste of each dish.

The Menu. La Galette Berichonne is a bakery/cafe so the menu includes lots of pastries and sandwiches. A chalkboard lists the hot entrees, which change on a regular basis. Everything on the board looked good to me so I peeked into the open kitchen and asked the chef for his recommendation: he suggested the Seafood Croustade and I was favorably impressed with the result (see below for pictures).


Seafood Croustade

Spinach quiche

Spinach quiche



Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Fellow diners after a great meal (notice the open kitchen in the background)

Fellow diners after a great meal (notice the open kitchen in the background)

The Verdict. What a surprise to find authentic French fare (though in American-sized portions) prepared by a genuine French chef at very decent prices in the heart of nowhere! This restaurant is a real jewel.

Casual lunch? Date night? This restaurant would fit any occasion and any budget. One suggestion: call before you go. They are open different days for different meals, and even offer a once-a-month 7-course evening dinner for those who reserve well in advance. Chef Parny offers some culinary classes as well.

Why Fordland, MO? So why did Chef Roland Parny choose Fordland, a town of 684 situated 20 miles east of Springfield, for his restaurant? Apparently this part of Missouri is similar to Le Berry, the region of central France where Parny grew up. “Berichonne” means “from Le Berry” and “Galette Berichonne” is a savory stuffed pastry typical of Le Berry.

Bon appétit!

A Fruitful Garden

14 April 2012

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. — John 15:4

When my dad planted his “orchard” in our backyard, I thought it was a bit quixotic of him. Every spring since then we’ve eagerly watched for any sign of fruit — in vain. But lo and behold, third year’s a charm and now we have beautiful little fruit babies growing on our trees.

Double-click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version. I especially like the peach ones because you can see the fuzzy texture. (Click on the back arrow to get back to the blog.)


Our Orchard

Here are some pictures of our peaches.

Can you guess what these are?*

Our nectarines (below)

Can’t wait for these strawberries to ripen!


* Plums!

Small Church, Big Future

4 March 2012

Today, Dad and I drove about 30 miles to a church in Crane, MO. As a full-time missionary, Dad is on his year of “itineration” where he gets to travel from church to church, sharing reports of what God is doing around the world and especially in French-speaking countries.

And, exceptionally, I had the privilege of traveling with him.

The small town of Crane calls itself the “neatest town in Missouri” but in my opinion the neatest thing about the town is the church we attended and its pastors, George and Margaret Burnash.

The Burnashes are friends from my college days. Both are incredibly smart and have huge, welcoming smiles. God brought them to this struggling church several months ago and has given them an intense burden for their community.

Walking into the church, the first things I noticed were the missions posters all around the sanctuary with the “red and yellow, black and white” faces from all over the world: Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America … It made us feel instantly welcomed.

Pastor George, Margaret & son Joseph

The church and its pastors have a pioneering spirit. The church itself looks like the epitome of a little country church, with its white facade and sturdy wooden pews, but the congregation has thinned out over the years through a variety of events. But though the church may be small, it has a big heart and a big vision.

We had a wonderful time of praise, worship and prayer (as well as great donuts and coffee, I’ve got to admit it!), Dad’s sermon was good and he didn’t require that I sing, like he did when I was a little kid (I’m very happy about that).  We all sense that God is getting ready to move in a big way in Crane.

As I read in a devotional book yesterday, “When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!” If you are facing a challenge that looks pretty scary from where you’re standing, know that if God has called you, He will equip you. He’ll also send friends and companions along at the right time to stand beside you and help you in your work. Just be faithful to that call!

Please take a moment to pray for George and Margaret and their two children:

  • For protection over their lives and their work
  • For strong Christians to come alongside them to help in the ministry
  • For financial provision for the Burnashes and their church
  • For courage in the midst of adversity and joy in the midst of discouragement
  • For God’s intervention in the lives of the people of Crane, esp. in the area of deliverance from unhealthy habits and addictions

“When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!”

Little House in the Ozarks

26 October 2011
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder, one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, wrote her famous Little House on the Prairie series right here in the Ozarks?

Even though I consider myself a history buff and a great fan of the Little House books, this news came as a great revelation to me. I was going through some keepsakes boxes in the attic recently when I came across a hardback book called Little House in the Ozarks. Curious, I opened it and discovered it had been given to me by my paternal grandparents for my birthday in 1995. I had never read it.

In the first few pages, I discovered that after a childhood spent traveling from place to place in the American West, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almanzo settled in Mansfield, MO (45 miles east of Springfield, MO) and lived there longer than they had lived anywhere else. They were married sixty-four years. Laura outlived her huband by eight years and passed away on their beloved Rocky Ridge Farm at the age of ninety.

Another fact that suprised me was that Laura spent twenty years as a pioneer woman journalist before ever starting her Little House series. Little House in the Ozarks, edited by Stephen W. Hines, is a compilation of Laura’s rediscovered writings from this journalistic period of her life, when she wrote about life and social issues for various Missouri farm papers and national magazines. Among her contemporaries, Laura had a reputation as good neighbor and someone who “gets eggs in the winter when none of her neighbors get them” — apparently a high compliment in these parts.

The Ozarks

I’m just a few chapters in but so far I’m finding it a fascinating read, with such an interesting mix of universal themes (you’d think she was writing about the 21st century!) and quaint descriptions of amusing scenes from bygone days. I’d definitely recommend it to any Little House fans, young and old.

Who could have predicted sixteen years ago — except, apparently, my grandparents — that I would someday live in another “little house in the Ozarks”? Like many of the books my grandparents gave me, I certainly didn’t appreciate it at the time and have only in recent years recognized the wisdom and foresight of their choices for me.

P.S. There’s a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield that I hope to visit. It closes November 15th until March, so I had better go there soon. I’ll let you know whether it’s worth the detour.

Lambert’s Cafe: Missouri Dining at Its “Finest”

22 October 2011

Lambert's Cafe

Lambert’s Cafe
1800 W. State Hwy J.
Ozark, MO 65721
(417) 581-7655

I was raised in Paris, France, where food is sophisticated, the dining atmosphere is quiet and reserved, the service is unobstrusive, and the portions are small. Gastronomy is practically the national religion.

At seventeen, barely recovered from jetlag, I encountered Lambert’s Cafe. It was like landing in someone else’s family reunion, complete with embarrasingly loud, obnoxious, backwoodsy relatives. I had never seen anything like it. Frankly, I was appalled.

We had to wait forever, the line stretching around the building. Inside, the restaurant was crowded and loud. Once we were seated, waiters came around with cauldrons full of hot food they call “Pass Arounds”: fried okra, fried potatoes and onions, macaroni and tomato, and blackeyed peas. They scoop out portions of the fried okra and drop it on a paper towel in front of you. You can probably imagine my astonishment. (Fortunately, they did provide us with flatware!)

When the food came, the portions were HUGE. I had never seen such large portions in my life. Naively, I ordered a salad because I assumed it would be the lightest, smallest thing on the menu. Wrong!! It came in a massive breadbowl. At the end of the meal when I’d hardly made a dent in my salad, I asked for a to-go box, which ended up being my second mistake. They do not provide “doggy bags.” Instead, the waiter brought me a clear plastic bag, stuffed my salad inside, and tied it at the top with a knot.

And yet, despite my own horrific experience, I looked around the restaurant and everyone seemed to be having so much fun! They laughed, they ate, they smiled … and they ate some more. Everyone was having a wonderful, relaxing time.

I didn’t go back for another seventeen years. By then, I’d grown a little more used to American ways and enjoyed Lambert’s not as a wide-eyed French girl but as a tourist on an adventure in good home cooking and dining entertainment — Country Style.

Oh, and just a bit of friendly advice. When you hear the waitstaff call out “Hot Rolls!!!!!!!” — Duck.

They don’t call it the “Home of the Throwed Rolls” for nothin’!