From my French Kitchen window in Gascony, I see a small but beautiful world that meanders across a continent—a long village of canals and rivers that link cities and villages to my neighbors, the people who turn dirt into good food.

I live on a big slow boat, the Julia Hoyt, moored to an 18th century canal-side farmhouse, the French Kitchen at Camont in southwest France. From this privileged setting, I witness the passing of hundreds of years of artisanal gastronomy and reach out to grasp some of these French moments before they become just a memory from another century.

The French Kitchen is my workshop/cooking school; the Julia Hoyt is my 85-foot floating home. It’s not all about food in the Long Village, but we don’t stray far from the everyday good cooking that my neighbors from Bordeaux to Toulouse teach in the markets, on the farms and in the home kitchens of Southwest France.

This is the longest day, an appropriate time to begin a meander through my Long Village as seen from my French Kitchen window. Welcome aboard!