Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Belly of Paris

Although he managed to escape Paris – and starvation – during the Prussian siege in the fall of 1870, the French novelist Émile Zola returned to the city in March 1871, in time to witness the bloody rise and fall of the Paris commune. The following year he moved to Les Halles where he wrote Le […]

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French Clichés

Once a week, I meet for coffee with Nathalie, a French friend who is hoping to improve her English, as I am hoping to improve my French, and we spend a couple of hours talking in a mix of both languages about whatever is happening in our lives. Unsurprisingly, in the course of conversation the […]

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Égalité of the stomach, at least

Outside every public school in Paris the French flag flies above the door and the lintel is engraved with the nation’s motto, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.” The government of France is so committed to the idea of equality in its public school system that the socialist president François Hollande caused a stir in 2012 by proposing […]

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Consuming the Paris Commune

A few days ago, strolling goggle-eyed through the glitz and glam of Bon Marché, Paris’s ultra-upscale department store, I passed a menswear display named for the Paris Commune of 1871. The historical irony smacked me in the face so hard, I nearly got whiplash. To discover that the first worker-controlled state in world history was […]

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Truffled Turkey

Thanksgiving food writing is full of recipes and histories of the dishes that we find on the American table, like roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. But I would like to tackle the history of a once-popular dish that I suspect nobody ate last Thursday: the dinde truffêe. Since I’ll never have the chance to […]

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