Archives

Salons of Paris, Then and Now

The quality of the eating, without a doubt, could make or break a Parisian salon. Today’s nostalgists may fantasize about the gathering of minds that took place each week at Gertrude Stein’s apartments on the rue de Fleurus near the jardins Luxembourg, but for many participants the buffet table held equal appeal. Stein’s lover Alice B. Toklas paid so much […]

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Legendary Paris Dinner Parties

Scads of American memoirists have rhapsodized about their wonderful meals in Paris’s restaurants, but Janet Flanner, who for decades wrote a fortnightly “Letter from Paris” column for The New Yorker under the pen name Gênet, preferred to recall the dinner parties. It requires a certain longevity spent in a city before invitations to dinner begin pouring in. […]

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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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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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There is no Ibérico or serrano, only Jamón

The novel most responsible for the everlasting romanticization of Jazz Age expat culture in Paris, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, takes place half in Spain. When the pressures of drinking wine and eating oysters in the cafés of Montparnasse became too much to take, Hemingway, his friends, and the characters he modelled after them, escaped to San […]

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Truffles and Haschich

The recipe for haschich fudge that makes Alice B. Toklas’s 1954 cook book notorious may, at first glance, appear out of keeping with the general tenor of the work. What could this set of instructions for a concoction designed to produce “euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter” have to do with the twenty-three recipes for […]

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The Book of Salt

Embarking on a new reading list is, to me, a highlight of starting a new research project. It gives me an excuse to visit bookstores and libraries and collect stacks of unfamiliar books. It would be more sensible, as a scholar, to build a project on the library I have already assembled – both on my shelves […]

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