This is a gorgeous piece that we’ve unearthed from my father-in-law’s belongings.  He tells me that he picked it up at a market in France way before I was ever even thought of and thinks it is 18th. century.
I am deeply in love with it.
I’ve plans to put it (and a collection of miniatures that are along the same theme) in my dining room on a wall painted Benjamin Moore “Gypsy Pink”.  I’ll reveal the whole shebang when we are finally out of reno mode.  I’ve been assured that we will be at some point.
This has made think of France a lot and with the chill in the air coupled with a trip to the farmer’s market I’ve made one of my favourite soups.  My friends’ mom made this for us when we would visit their place on weekends from school.  I had almost forgotten about it until I saw a version in this month’s “Food and Wine”.  I’ll apologize now.  My final photo (serving) was just beyond rubbish so you’ll have to use a bit of imagination.

Chop a 1/2 head of cabbage.

Take out your very last ham hock (the new piggy order comes in a couple of weeks).
Chop; 1 rib of celery, 2 carrots, 1 medium onion, 5 small potatoes, 2 garlic cloves and 2 T. fresh thyme.
Get out your favourite copper pot and heat a bit of olive oil.  Add in your onion and garlic, saute until fragrant and soft.  Add in your other veg. except for the cabbage and potatoes.
Add in 2 cups of cooked white beans (cans are just fine too), your ham hock and enough chicken stock to cover.
Cook on a medium heat until the ham falls off the bone, about 20 minutes in add your potatoes and 15 minutes before serving add your cabbage with lots of nice pepper.  Check for salt BUT under salt as when you serve you want to put a lovely mound of shredded cheddar (or gruyere) on the top.