While in Bernay with French friends on two different weekends, I was surprised to learn how many lovely hours had passed between when the appetizers and wine had begun to be served and when dessert and coffee was offered. Typically, appetizers began around 6:00pm and we were clearing the table around 11:00pm! Friendships were deepened as stories and laughter were shared. Of course, it was the weekend and surely not so long during their work week. However, with that thought in mind, my host mother is far more laissez-faire when it comes to dinner. She must first have her glass of wine before even entering the kitchen to prepare the meal. She is French, so perhaps wine is an absolute pre-requisite to unleash the creative chef within. She usually begins cooking, wine in hand, around 7:00pm. Dinner is normally served at 9:00pm, ending with dessert by about 10:00 or even 11:00pm!!! When morning comes, my alarm barely reaches into the abyss of my REM sleep at 5:00am. It takes every fiber of my being to force myself perpendicular and out of bed! I wouldn’t trade sleep for shorter meal times though. I can sleep when I get home! For now, I savor every delicious bite and story.