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Elizabeth David & Coming Home

When Elizabeth David came home to Britain in 1946, after spending the war years in Egypt, her agonies from the the flavorless diet she rediscovered drove her to write a cookbook recollecting all the wonderful things she had eaten during her absence. Britain was at the height of postwar rationing and gristle rissoles were on the menu, along with flour […]

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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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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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Kitchen disasters

Recently, an old friend emailed to tell me has been enjoying the blog, especially since he started managing a 1200-acre organic farm in upstate New York last winter and he’s been learning how to cook the wonderful ingredients that come with the job. I off-handedly replied that great ingredients require so little alteration, they make […]

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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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Canard à la Presse

Growing up in America during the late 1970s and 80s, my juvenile imagination equated the word “Paris” with one thing: gourmet food. And if there was one fancy restaurant in Paris that I knew the name of as a child, it was “La Tour d’Argent.” The silver tower. The words had a ring to them, they […]

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