autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

The weekend before last I made the now familiar drive up to Nashville to stay and collaborate on a dinner with the effervescent Ruthie Lindsey, with me on the food and her on the styling. It was a weekend of feasting with my fellow womenfolk; cavorting around East Nashville haunts, dives, and shoppes; and feeling far younger than I do in my day to day existence. I planned on a simple, French inspired menu (which you can find in it’s entirety below) that indulged all my Francophile tendencies, packed my huge Le Creuset Dutch oven in the back seat of my car along with various tools of the cooking & styling trade, and met up with Ruthie at a tattoo parlor where she was getting an exact replica of a white feather that fell before her eyes in a moment when, well, she needed a white feather to fall before her eyes.

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

We all have a story. Some wear their trials like a sad crown of thorns and use their pain as an excuse. Others use their stories to show just how resilient, buoyant, and adaptable the human spirit can be. Ms. Lindsey falls so very squarely into the latter category. You wouldn’t know the half of what’s she’s been through if you met her. As a matter of fact you’d be more likely to think she sprouted up like a wild daisy and has never known anything but a gentle breeze. Not so. She’s tough, cheerful, and earnest in a way I don’t think I’ve ever known another person to be. I can listen to arguably bad music with abandon, indulge my latent southern accent, and never once feel ill at ease when I’m around her. And as if her artless generosity of spirit weren’t enough, she’s also a mean stylist, art director, decorator, and all around aesthete. And her personal style is impeccable too. The fact we dress ridiculously similar (we look like little girls playing sister—or should I say Sistah!—when we hang out) has nothing at all to do with my saying how dashing she is. Hats. That is all.

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

The night before the dinner we met up with Evie Coates of Twelve At The Table at Rolf and Daughters for plenty of pâté, handmade pasta, and vaguely inappropriate story telling. Having been familiar with her work, I’d been dying to meet Evie for some time, and I was more than elated (and nervous!) to have her as a guest at our dinner the following night. We all convened along with RebekkaHannah, and Sionnie on Ruthie’s light strewn back porch for the dinner you see here & the menu below. I went with Poulet Vallée D’Auge a la Mimi Thorisson for the star attraction—it’s perfect: chicken, wild mushrooms, butter browned apples all swimming in a sauce of apple brandy, cider, and crème fraîche. I couldn’t imagine changing a thing. The only tweak I made was to use some raucous hen of the woods & chanterelle mushrooms I found at the market instead of cremini . For the sides I served my long standing favorite gratin dauphinois which is nothing more than baking potatoes thinly sliced and baked in irresponsible amounts of butter and cream. I discovered it in one of my favorite books, Jeffrey Steingarten’s It Must Have Been Something I Ate, and it’s a decadent dish that hinges upon technique to produce a bubbly, brown crust that makes you think there’s cheese where there is none. I also did some asparagus topped with poached eggs, lardons of pancetta, and a simple tarragon shallot vinaigrette. Obviously there is little to nothing autumn about asparagus; I recommend not doing what I did and finding some nice seasonal vegetables to give this treatment to! I think it would be amazing over fennel and leeks! Hannah provided a beautiful pear galette in a cheddar vodka crust with some Chinese five spice thrown in, and Evie assembled a stately cheese plate. She’s obviously a professional. A cheese plate is a litmus test.

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

From the moment I arrived to the moment I left Nashville, it was one lady’s night after another, the likes of which I can honestly say I’ve never experienced before. The next night I ended up at Miel with Ruthie, Rebekka, and James where I think we proceeded to make the waiter blush a record number of times. Both nights ended at The Crying Wolf where I was told you could “get drunk around taxidermy”. I did not get drunk. But I did smoke fake cigarettes and make faces in a photo booth. So it was sort of like being drunk. And there was definitely taxidermy. Oh! And I also just happened to bump into to Emily of Board and Bread while we were there—she’s recently transplanted to Nashville, and I admire her woodworking so much. Do pay her a visit.

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

It took a unique bunch of women to get me over my fear of female compatriots. I’m rough around the edges, have an admittedly crass sense of humor at times, am really into science fiction and video games, wear my past on my sleeve, and I disappear off the face of the earth without a word not bothering to return texts, sometimes for weeks at a time. Which is all to say, I’m not exactly prime friend material. I was one of those girls who always went around proclaiming that she “didn’t get along with women”. In college, for instance, I once lived with five men: four Andrews and a lone Zach. I’ve had to realize that my previous inability to have thriving female relationships was more about me than women. Long story short, I couldn’t hit on them or otherwise feminine wile them, so they confounded me. I’ve since grown up and found new and exciting ways of relating to people other than batting my eyes, and I feel like I woke up one morning having gone from about three long distance dude friends to having a veritable bushel of formidably talented, hilarious (in the Louis C.K. sense of the word), strong, appropriately dorky, drama free, and low maintenance lady friends. There’s a certain type of person, both male & female alike, that I’ll probably always freak out, but as for the rest? Let’s be friends.

In other news:

A little interview & glimpse into the good, bad, & ugly of my typical (if there is such a thing) work day with Breanna Rose.

Imen’s writing a book! Hip hip! I, for one, cannot wait.

Aaand…coming to an internet near you soon…my pop up shop Sweet Gum Co., southern made & found provisions from me to you! Join the mailing list in the sidebar or here to be the first to know when we open & to be notified of shop updates.



autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

Autumnal French Feast

|To Start|

plate of local cheeses, fruits, nut, and honey


poulet vallée d’auge


blanched vegetables with poached eggs, pancetta, & tarragon shallot vinaigrette

gratin dauphinois


seasonal fruit galette


“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” | Ernest Hemmingway |

Cheers to not letting our wounds destroy us & not putting up walls.

autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design



58 Responses to autumnal french feast: local milk x ruthie lindsey design

  1. Mariela says:

    Dearest Beth,
    I need to thank you for the light that your writing manages to press into the gaps of my heart. I find myself constantly drawn to your phrases and the lilting comfort of your words that both push me into wanting to become all that I know I could be, yet also seem to hum a lullaby that reassures that there is time, and it will come.
    Thank you, really. Your photography/writing/personal aura will always pull me into your blog so effortlessly it will feel like floating.
    Mariela, xxx

  2. adrienne says:

    wow i love this piece; food, friends, what can be better…ps you sound a little like me , true friends understand their friends more than we know :)

  3. Katy Noelle says:

    Beth, this post just makes me want to LIVE!! (Not that I’m not already…. ;) ) Just love it all – pics – words – meanings – friends!!

    Thank you for it!!! =)


  4. Rachel says:

    I so often come to blogs for the images and let my imagination fill in the rest. And even though I am a reader through and through, I frequently skip the blog prose, but I never skip or skim your words. They pull me in, a sort of dark welcome. Your friends and the feast…it’s okay that I wasn’t there because you brought me in so well.

    • beth says:

      That means a lot to me. I can be a skimmer myself… life is busy and there’s a lot of words out there. So I truly appreciate you taking the time to read mine. Sometimes I resolve to write less for the sake of the internet generation’s tension span…but I can never really do it!

  5. Erika says:

    Making friends of the female variety is sometimes a difficult feat. Especially the older we get.Glad that you have found a bunch that you can share your passion with. I could go on and on about how much I adore your site. Your post about New Orleans (and going back) truly touched me. (as you can tell be me mentioning it weeks later) :)

    • beth says:

      I think having shared interests, passion, and vision goes such a long way towards making friendships as you get older. That and people who are willing to skip the fluff and get to the relationship meat! And thanks for not only reading…but remembering!

  6. “Some wear their trials like a sad crown of thorns and use their pain as an excuse. Others use their stories to show just how resilient, buoyant, and adaptable the human spirit can be.”

    You worded that SO well! I love it! and that menu looks AMAZING.

  7. Kate says:

    Lovely, lovely words and pictures.

  8. Hannah says:

    Now I wish I was not a college student. I wish it was not winter here. I wish I could plan a beautiful meal like this and take pictures of it and enjoy time with friends. Instead I will sit here and say “ooh” repeatedly. Very nice! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • beth says:

      I say you make a big old pot of delicious pasta & gather your friends around a candle lit table to celebrate a college winter! even the simplest of gatherings are so rewarding! do it! : )

  9. Chelsey says:

    This is such a great post. It’s amazing the power of positive female relationships. But I do appreciate the ease of male friends as well. I am so happy to be starting our long distance conversation and I hope that some day soon I can come down to the south and hug Ruthie again and spend a girls evening with you all. xo

    • beth says:

      It’s an evening destined in the stars….and I cannot wait to share a southern evening with you! In the mean time…plotting & planning!

  10. angie says:

    I absolutely adore this place! Everytime I come to visit, I am truly amazed at the beauty on those tables! If not for amazing laughs and just enjoying the written word, I also long to just have a taste! I will try to make something similar, but may not be as beautiful as yours! great blog and lovely photos!

  11. olivia says:

    so so so amazing beth! everything — the writing, the photos, the setting, the food! let’s recreate it next time i’m in nashville? maybe? xxxx

    • beth says:

      maybe nothing! yes, yes! email me next time you’ll be around & we’ll do it… it’s my favorite thing in the world to do so why not!

  12. amber says:

    I completely relate to having a hard time jiving with girls as well, but I think there is a group of talented young ladies that is popping up around here like wildflowers and it’s awesome! Also, the french feast looks wonderful (Mimi is my all time favorite.) Congrats on your lovely community of friends and all of your personal accolades. You are truly talented and deserve every last drop of success that comes your way. Thank you for inspiring the world with love for the life you lead!

    • beth says:

      It really is such a cool community of like minded people, women and men alike, that seems to be springing up more and more by the day here in the southeast…it’s so exciting!

  13. Daniella says:

    Such beautiful words, and looks like a lovely meal! Getting together with a few close friends really can do wonders for the spirit.

  14. What a dream-like setting! I love the simplicity of the table setting, just so pretty.

  15. Rebekah says:

    I am counting down the days until my better half and I make our home in Nashville. I’ve never heard a negative remark about the town, and I’m so glad to see there are fine people who call such a place home and that you enjoy your visits. Thanks for the links! I can’t wait to check out all places!

    • beth says:

      Oh you’re going to LOVE it! Honestly if I weren’t a hermit crab in love with my little town of Chattanooga, I’d definitely move to Nashville. But I’m so close I get the best of both worlds & go up there all the time for work and play alike. I’ll be posting a bit more about weekending in Nashville in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for a few more of my favorite spots (think shopping and coffee!)

  16. Demetria says:

    Goodness, i love your photos. i love the high contrast and intimacy there. i understand what you’re speaking about. When i was growing up it was hard for me to bond with other girls, but upon getting older i’ve discovered there are plenty of ladies who are just as dorky and dry as I am. What a lovely gathering.

  17. What an amazing setting for dinner. Absolutely gorgeous and inspiring photography.

  18. sarah says:

    Wow!! Wow! My mouth was in a constant ‘o’ looking at these photographs. So.beautiful.

    I’m glad that you are discovering how wonderful female friendships can be. When you find good ones, those soul sister-type ones, it’s so wonderful. I’ve been lucky to have a few, here and there, throughout the years.

    Also, I recently took a quiz that told me I should be living in Tennessee, not Minnesota. I think that it might be right. xo

  19. Joy @ OSS says:

    aww always love a good girls’ night out (or in in this case)!

  20. Joe says:

    Wow Beth. I am so happy for your female companionships. I was scratching my head while reading, wondering if even you knew what a radical change this was for you and then you addressed it directly as if you were reading my mind and removed all doubt. I can’t wait to meet your new friends some day. First there was Julia, not all that healthy but still a great friend, then Ruthie, but family sorta doesn’t count but yet it does, and now you’ve really taken root and blossomed. Yay!

  21. Vanessa says:

    these photos are BEAUTIFUL!

  22. Helen Leah Conroy says:

    You and your friends really know how to live — and provide so much inspiration, in so many ways. Thank you for creating this blog and sharing your world. ;o)

  23. Jo says:

    i don’t usually pop over to your space here, but do enjoy your prolific pinning in that other space… however, I’m glad that i did visit, such beautiful words and pictures, and the paragraph about ‘your fear of female compatriots’ oh my, that’s me to a tea. I am also pleased to say that as I have grown older I’ve found a beautiful array of ladies {without the drama} to have as my dearest friends, and there is nothing like being surrounded by your sisters. x

  24. I have been underwhelmed by the sea of blogs out there, until I found yours. I am captivated and inspired by your prose and photographs. They are warm. Elegantly, thoughtfully, crafted. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Boyd Greene says:

    Awesome images as always and marvelous storytelling to boot. I love the styling in the images as well.

  26. […] to know what was served at this fantabulous feast?  Check out food blogger Beth Kirby’s post for all the yummy […]

  27. It looks so beautiful, such an inspiration for events I curate. x

  28. […] from Flickr | Apple Orchard Dinner from SB Chic |  Table Setting from Local Milk | New York Home from NY […]

  29. VIKIO says:

    […] Local Milk Blog […]

  30. […] to know what was served at this fantabulous feast?  Check out food blogger Beth Kirby’s post for all the yummy […]

  31. […] via Domi’s London // 2. via Better Homes and Gardens // 3. via Amy Atlas // 4. via Local Milk  // 5. via Garden Style […]

  32. […] Beth at ‘Local Milk‘, who, btw, has won numerous awards for her food and photography blog (Visit! […]

  33. […] 1. Local Milk Blog. 2. My Paradissi. 3. Photobucket. 4. 1 Kin Design. 5. 1 Kin Design. 6. 1 Kin Design. 7. Style Me Pretty. 8. Chicka Bug. […]

  34. […] Local Milk Blog. 2. Live Sweet Cinnamon. 3. West Elm. 4. Design Love Fest. 5. Wayaiulandia. 6. enmiespaciovital. […]

  35. […] Loving this outdoor space. […]

  36. Annette says:

    Hi! Looks soo cozy! Just wondering about the cheese dish – wouldn’t that usually be served after the main dish? I’ve been living in France for a couple years now, and I’ve only seen it done that way here… but maybe it’s not the only way! Otherwise everything looks so yummy – especially the galette!

  37. […] Autumnal French Feast by Beth Kirby, Ruthie Lindsey, and Rebekka Seale […]

  38. […] I found the Braverman backyard photo here. Other photos found here and here. […]

  39. […] Understated but charming little tree in a bottle, spotted on Local Milk. […]

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