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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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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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Cassoulet

“To the untrained American ear cassoulet sounds like some sort of ambrosia.” – Julia Child For Americans in love with French food, cassoulet holds an almost magical significance. It evokes an unattainable ideal. Made with ingredients that are difficult to find or too expensive to afford outside of France – confit d’oie (preserved goose), haricots lingots (a French […]

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The Dud Avocado

It’s easy to get lost in Paris, despite Baron Haussmann’s best efforts to impose order on the city’s street plan. Sometimes I get turned around by one too many adventurous forays from a main avenue, and wind up pointed in the wrong direction. I have google maps to sort me out of course, but is […]

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My Life in France

The title to Julia Child’s as-told-to 2006 memoir could not be more generic. “My Life in France” is a name that might be given by countless English-speaking Francophiles to the stories of their années françaises. Which makes it a very fitting title, since from its opening page Child’s memoir captures an absolutely archetypal experience. She describes her […]

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The State of French Food

One of the best restaurants in Paris today is Spring, owned by chef Daniel Rose. Or so I hear, not having had the chance to eat there myself. But last night I did have the chance to hear from Daniel Rose, at a panel event hosted by the American Library in Paris, a venerable institution […]

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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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