Blueberry buckle with lemon syrup

We sure do have some goofy-named foods in America. Britain has their “fools” and “messes,” and France has “bêtises,” which translates to “stupidities” – as well as pêts de nonne, which, because I’m polite, will only say that refers to the wind that comes out of the backside of nuns – and leave it at that. Stateside, we have our grunts, buckles, and pandowdies, as well as burgoo. And it’s hard to explain to foreigners, but we also drink mules. Go figure.

But most of our quirky dessert names reference baked fruit or berry desserts, which seem a little tame in comparison to our bolder European counterparts. But I’m fine with that, as I’m not sure I want to eat anything with “flatulence” in the title. 

There are a couple of theories for the name “buckle.” One is that the berries “buckle” under the weight of all the topping. Another is that a young woman made this in a Pillsbury Bake-Off, claiming that it was so good that it made boys “buckled under” when they tasted it.

Blueberry buckle with lemon syrup

This particular buckle is adapted by Rustic Fruit Desserts, a friendly little cookbook by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson that came out a while back, which I’m revisiting now that it’s blueberry season. It’s the kind of baking book you want to keep handy, especially when fruits like blueberries, nectarines, and even rhubarb is in season. It’s compact, but filled with home-style fruit recipes, the kind we all want to make. No matter what you call them.

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It was quite a summer, starting with sipping homemade cherry wine, a picnic at Versailles, checking out the Le Creuset factory, and frying up a batch of “French” fried chicken in a sizzling pan of duck fat. A few weeks later in the season, I was pulling a cherry clafoutis from my oven, grilling deviled chicken, and pickling strawberries, to take care of the overload from the outdoor…

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While in the states for a vacation this summer, I took advantage of the overload of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, fresh ears of corn, and generous bunches of basil at the farmers’ markets to make this salad over and over (and over and over) again. Romain agreed with me that we could eat this every day. And I think we did! This salad doesn’t have a lot…

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Being stateside in preparation for les vacances (vacation), I thought I’d corral Elizabeth Karmel, who I’d had dinner with last spring when we did a special cooking event together, into grilling dinner for me. I know, it was a little forward, but Elizabeth was the chef/consultation to Hill Country Barbecue in Manhattan, which has the distinct honor of pleasing even true, hard-core bbq aficianados. She’s also…

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Ice & Vice

One of the best parts of summer in the U.S. is heading out for ice cream on a warm evening. Even if you’re someone like me, that always has a freezerful of ice cream, it’s fun to head out somewhere and join others who are cooling down, lapping up cones on the streets and on benches. The most famous ice cream shop in Paris, Berthillon closes at 8pm (and…

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  Last year, for summer vacation, we did a fabulous tour of France. This year, we crossed the pond to do a tour of New England. More specifically, Cape Cod. Since I grew up not too far from the cape, or le cap, as we came to call it during our trip. (Cap Cabillaud doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same way.) I was particularly…

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Whoops! A big problem with being a seasonally based cook (and in this case, cocktail drinker) is that things go in and out of season. Compound that with the fact that different things are available in different parts of the world at different times – hello my friends in Australia and New Zealand! – and it’s hard to hit it right for everyone. I don’t…

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One of the first books that made me fall in love with France, and French cuisine, was Roger Vergé’s Entertaining in the French Style. Vergé was the chef and owner of Moulin de Mougins, his world-famous restaurant on the Côte d’Azur, near Cannes. I never went, but used to page through the book, admiring the relaxed, friendly lifestyle that always seemed to revolve around a table,…

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Le Trumilou

I was walking down the Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville on a recent warm summer night and passed by the outdoor tables of Le Trumilou. I like eating outside on a terrace in Paris but when they implemented the non fumeur law in France for restaurants cafés, the smokers went outside. It was kind of vexing because it was so nice that everyone could go outside…

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