Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Rapture of Spring

In French there is an expression, sabrer le champagne, which means to open a bottle of champagne with a sabre. Before last night, I had never seen this trick performed in person. Sabrer le champagne is easily enough translated into English, but English possesses no equivalent expression to describe this wondrous spectacle, except the ultra-technical term sabrage. The […]

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Rapture for Cooking

Jimmie the Barman, who poured the drinks at many of the best-known Lost Generation drinking holes including the Dingo, the Falstaff, and the Trois et As, once observed that it was “remarkable that the leaders and organizers of Montparnasse were largely women.” Poets like Mina Loy, artists like Nina Hamnett, writers like Djuna Barnes, editors […]

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Montmartre Is Dead!

“Montmartre is dead!” screamed the headline of a February 1924 obituary in The Living Age, an American weekly review. The famed artists’ redoubt on a hill at the northern border of Paris had succumbed to an influx of American money and values. The penniless French artists and poets who had once gathered round the tables of the Lapin […]

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Cream Puffs Through the Ages

Baking is all about the magic of transformation. When it comes to savory food, I tend to subscribe to the Alice Waters school of cooking: keep it simple and let the ingredients shine. I prefer a roast chicken to a wrapped, rolled, stuffed, and sauced chicken roulade. Give me a steamed fresh crab, a cracker […]

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Eating Crow

According to Alexandre Dumas, author of the classic adventure novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Christo as well as a lesser-known cookbook, Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, the Roman emperor Heliogabalus once feasted on a pâté made from the tongues of peacocks, nightingales, crows, pheasants, and parrots (paons, rossignols, corneilles, faisans, and perroquets). Yet that didn’t satisfy his appetite for […]

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Joie de vivre is the keystone of the French cuisine

Waiting in line to buy apples from Evelyne Nochet’s family orchard Le Nouveau Verger at the Mouton-Duvernet Friday market today, my husband turned a big happy grin towards me and I felt the truth of M. Thérèse Bonney’s epigraph in French Cooking for American Kitchens (1929): “joie de vivre is the keynote of the French cuisine.” I love the frontispiece for […]

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