Things I’m Liking…

cassolets

Les cassoles

I love my everyday bowls, which were gifts from my friend Kate who lives in Gascony. They’re from a semi-local potter which makes cassoles, the bowls for preparing Cassoulet. But I’ve loved these little fellas forever and use ‘em for my daily soup and noodle bowls. I’ve posted pictures of them on the site and folks have asked me where oh where they can find them. (Here’s one site.) But because they’re somewhat fragile to ship, and rather heavy, you might want to consider hauling them back from France yourself if you don’t live here*. However I came across them at the J’Go stand in the Marché Saint Germain des Près in the 6th. If you want them, and are coming to Paris – bring bubble wrap! (And some extra cash; they’re €24 each.)


chocolate with salt and olive oilArbequina olive oil

Arbequina Olive Oil

A few years ago I discovered Arbequina olive oil. Made from extra fruity-tasting olives, it is the base for a wonderful vinaigrette to pour over salads. But it’s also excellent drizzled over chocolate with flaky sea salt and the mingling of all those ripe, juicy flavors in the oil with bittersweet chocolate and salt is astounding. You can get Arbequina oil from presses in California (the one shown was a gift from them) or Spain (I like soTaroni which they usually sell at Da Rosa in Paris) – but your favorite olive oil or gourmet food store might have one. It’s great stuff, wherever you get it.


kitchen wooden counter

Osmo Top Oil

I have wood countertops and like how they get aged, with various nicks and stains and so forth. It gave the person who installed it fits when I started chopping directly on it, but tant pis. However the counters do need to be treated and nourished. I used mineral oil, but it just soaked in and the wood kept begging me for more. (I hear mineral oil presents some ecological problems, too.) So I wasn’t sure what to do. Until along came my pal Meg, who mentioned to me Osmo Top Oil. It’s a food-safe blend of oil and wax that you brush on in two layers, and protects the wood so much that liquid beads up on it and I can wipe it away. Spilled cocktails for everyone!

Oddly, it’s made in Germany, and available in the United Kingdom and the United States. But I could not find it in France. (So for those who see things in France that they can’t get elsewhere, I feel your pain.) Happily Meg gifted me two bottles from merry old England, and my counters, and I, are moist and happy – respectively.


lip therapy

Mini-Vaseline

I’m a sucker for anything mini. (Blame it on how much I coveted my sister’s Barbie Dream House – and maybe a few other things as well.) So I couldn’t resist this teeny, tiny, little jar of petroleum jelly that I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond last time I was in New York. Which was, of course, right by the register. And, of course, I had to pick it up. (And, of course, my French traveling companion could not understand why I was walking through this store, throwing everything I could in my shopping cart – until he tried on my memory foam slippers when we got home, then, of course, begged me to go back and buy a pair – as well as quite a few other things, for himself.) I have heard rumblings that petroleum products can cause all sorts of things, like turning your lips into unicorns or something. Yet it was too adorable to resist. And then, there’s those memory foam slippers…but I’ll spare you a picture of my happy feet.


sound conditioner

Marpac Sleep-Mate

Paris can get kind of loud at night, with bars, cafés, and people holding jump-roping contests on the hardwood floors above you at 4:45am. This nifty white noise sound conditioner blocks out most city noise –including rowdy folks getting out of bars and Parisian motor scooters that have had their mufflers removed because teenagers think it’s fun to ride around and blow out their eardrums. My Dohm is da bomb.

The one I mail-ordered here in France came from Germany, and came with an American plug. Um, okay. So I wrote to the company who responded immediately and let me know they have a distributor in France (a slightly hidden store Audilo, which is a good place to know about – and the staff is super-nice…I’m considering giving them my CV or resumé.) It takes a bit to get used to the constant whooshing noise, then it’s bliss.


Bordier pimente d'Espelette butterBordier butter

Bordier Piment d’Espelette Butter

Butter flavored with Basque piment d’Espelette from Bordier is spicy…and some kind of amazing. This beurre has been rocking my world lately and is great spread on bread or tossed with pasta for a quick meal. From the “things you don’t want to hear”, it’s only available in France. (Enterprising DIY folks elsewhere could approximate it by kneading dried pepper powder into top-quality softened butter.) But if you’re in Paris, you can find it at La Grande Épicerie, Pascal Trotté fromagerie (97 rue Saint Antoine, closed midday), who also has excellent Comté cheese, Laurent Dubois, and L’Épicerie Breizh Café.


Buckwheat galettes

Galette fines au blé noir

Ok, so who’s a big tease, again? A Bretonne neighbor brought me a box of these simple La Bien Nommée buckwheat cookies and they were in-croy-able! Unfortunately I gobbled them down before I could show them to anyone else. (And I, uh, had to eat them before the expiration date.) But if you love buckwheat as much as I do, you can try to track some down. (I wish buckwheat wasn’t such a royal pain in the patootie to roll out, otherwise I’d try my hand at making them myself.) They only have five ingredients; buckwheat, butter, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and butter. Oops, was that more than five?


Related Posts and Links

How to Find Foods and Other Items Mentioned On This Site

10 Goofy Things You’ll Find in a French Supermarket

mmMule, Please Bring Me, and PiggyBee (Travel Schleppers)



*UPDATE: I got a message from the company that I listed that they do ship to the United States. They assured me that that they are well-packed and they haven’t had any problems.

98 comments

  • Oh, you cruel, evil man.

    • I know. People in Paris are going to flip out when they find they can’t get that Osmo oil…or the little containers of lip balm. (Or memory foam slippers!)

      : )

  • As always, so much to buy! Thanks so much for this list, and am definitely searching out the counter top treatment for our butcher block counters up in Todi. I just hope it’s not to late.

    When your noise blocker just doesn’t do it for you any more, I think I can probably get you hooked on Mack silicon earplugs. I stock up at Duane Reade for a year’s supply. They are, as described on the box, pillow soft. And not only block out rowdies in the street, but any snores coming from the other side of the bed.

  • Buckwheat crackers….wow…. any luck on finding a housewares mule for your overseas requests?

  • We don’t count butter, do we? :)

  • Love your cute everyday bowls! And since Berlin isn’t much quieter at night than Paris as you describe it, I might have to get hands on to a Dohm, too. Thanks for the hint. :-)

  • Elizabeth: I have those, but the machine works better and is more comfortable. But does take come getting used to. And I used to bring those plugs back to Paris from the US, too, until I discovered that the store in Paris where I got my machine stocks those as well. #win!

  • That butter looks incredible o.o
    And I think I need that noise machine… I seem to have new neighbors who like to watch tv until 2am, then get up at 7!

  • I found some recipes for buckwheat cookies that were cut from logs instead of rolled out. Maybe will try — they sound delicious…

  • As another Swedish kitchen counter victim, er, I mean owner, I am glad to know about Osmo Top Oil. Are the cassoles from Frères Not in Castelnaudary? That place is well worth a visit — you’d love it!

    • Yes, some are from NOT pottery shop. It’s pretty far from where I usually go when I’m in that region. But one day, I will definitely make the trip. They have even tinier ones – and I want a jumbo one as well. The cassole I have is large, but I want one of those giant ones.

      (And my wood counter literally drank up the 3-4 coatings I gave it of mineral oil, and was still dry. This stuff works well – was glad that my friend brought me some.)

  • You’re such a meanie! I have a set of similar bowls that I bought in the French countryside (Normandy I believe) some 30+ years ago. I still use them every day. The butter makes me drool! And as another fan of all things teeny I adore the lip balm! Question, in the picture of your countertop, what are the rectangles with three circles on the wall? Outlets?

    Oh, memory foam slippers are from angels!

  • I’m surprised to see that California Olive Ranch oil here! They carry it at the ghetto supermarket in my neighborhood, so I assumed it must be low quality oil masquerading in a fancy bottle. I stand corrected! (Having a soft spot for Greece, I usually buy my olive oil at the Greek fish market nearby, but perhaps I’ll give the Arbequina a try next time.)

  • For those readers in the U.S., I’ve bought Arbequina olive oil from California at Costco. A 2 pack of liter bottles for $13 or something like that. I usually stock up on the Tuscan stuff that has a pressed date on the bottle but it’s seasonal, not available, and I needed another option. I rather enjoyed it.

  • I want that piment d’espelette butter!! But since I can’t have it, I think I’ll make some with my piment d’espelette stash that I brought back last year.
    I also have butcher block counters and use tung oil that I get at Lee Valley here in Canada. It’s natural and food safe and also makes that water bead off. It does take quite a few coats and some curing time though.

  • I would love wood counter tops but for now will happily settle for a wood cutting board. I just got a new one. Do you suggest Osmo Top Oil for boards too?

    Hooray for the California Olive Ranch, good people doing good things and making great olive oil.

  • I’ve used white noise off SimplyNoise. Is that different to a conditioner?
    I’ll be making buckwheat biscuits for sure.

    • I bought one of those white noise apps. But I don’t like sleeping with my smartphone next to me, turned on all night, because I keep wanting to get up to check things on it and I can’t sleep well with it nearby. I do like the machine, which isn’t that expensive, and people say they last a long, long time. I consider mine a good investment..in peace & quiet!

  • Perhaps you have already seen these mini tins/travel size of Maldon sea salt but just in case…
    http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/badaily/2012/10/maldon-sea-salt-tin.html
    I love them, it was a gift from a friend and now I have salt where ever I go.

    • I have a mini wooden saltbox with a sliding wood top that I got when I visited the Guérande, at the cooperative, where they harvest the salt. It’s refillable and I love it, although I have to be careful showing it to friends because everyone – as soon as they see mine – they want one. And I’ve only seen them for sale at the cooperative.

  • For those in the US looking for Piment d’Espelette, there is a fantastic website with extremely high quality herbs and spices for outrageously low prices. They have the best tasting spices I’ve found. I buy in small quantities to keep fresh. And their Piment d’Espelette tastes fantastic. I use it everywhere…

    http://www.savoryspiceshop.com

  • I too love Arbequnia olive oil and in particula California Olive Ranch’s. I first had it at a Jose Andres restaurant where it was made into a sorbet and served with grapefruit segments. That was a revelation. Now, I drizzle the oil on half a grapefruit and sprinkle a little sugar on it.

  • David, you trend setter! Blown away by the countertops. I use food grade mineral oil on my cutting boards but love the reference to the countertop treatment.

    Sissy, bless you for the idea of buckwheat cookie logs! I mix 1/2 cup of it with 2 jars of meat babyfood and bake at 325 for 15 mins.
    Result? Kickin’ and healthydog biscuits for Rafter, the doberman pup. The logs will simplify our lives… Grazie Mille!!!

  • I can’t sleep without a box fan running. I just like white noise at night. The noise machine intrigues me, especially for my husband who works night.

    Vaseline :(

  • Thanks for the tip on Osmo Top Oil. I have been looking for something for my wood counter and this sounds like it.

  • I never heard of the white noise machine; read now everything there is about it and faved it on my computer. I am a terrible sleeper and have a lack of sleep of several lives…. but the idea of ‘creating noise’ to be able to sleep somewhat still is past me! Thank you so much for this tip; might need it when this is not getting better.

    The Top Oil tip is top! Thank You…. I love wooden worktops but so far would still have voted (and owned twice) kitchens with granite tops because I can cut on them, put hot and cold stuff on them with no worry, they clean super easily – but I do love the wooden tops – so maybe in my next kitchen I will have one.

    Loved the sea salt dispenser ‘Simone’! I still have a jar with Maldon Sea Salt, sitting proudly amongst my other various salt jars, and I use the hand harvested sea salt from Guérande – so I can keep the Marldon… so pretty too!

  • Have to say that I am with RV Goddess :-) But seriously LOVE all those things as well. My dad was an extremely accomplished woodworker and he made all of our cutting boards at home. To clean a wooden cutting board ( or a wood counter!) after chopping things like onions or other “aromatic” things sprinkle the counter with some kosher salt and then use half of a fresh lemon and rub away! Wipe the board or counter down and viola – no more smells! Another great item for keeping boards and counters conditioned is “board butter” – a concoction you make yourself from beeswax and mineral oil. You just rub it in and buff it – Barb at Creative Culinary has the directions on how to make the board butter on her site!
    Finally, that piment d’ espellette butter does look like “de bomb” – so happy I brought some piment back with me… getting some good french butter to make this today!!

    • I asked a pretty well-known food scientist about wood vs plastic cutting board, and he really said plastic was better and more hygienic, especially because you can put them in the dishwasher. Which I do. (I love wood, though – but only cut things on my counter that won’t stain, like beets – and I don’t cut meat on it.) It drove me batty trying to find mineral oil in Paris a few years ago (the shops all told me to rub olive oil on my counters, which is kind of icky because it gets rancid_ but I finally found it at Ikea. However these counters really drank that up so I’m glad I have this oil, which works really well.

  • Well now I’m in a bad mood from wanting all the things that I can’t buy in the US. I guess I’ll console myself with some mini Vaseline and memory foam slippers.

  • @David,
    I can’t find any actual machine where I live (Sweden). Was just googling and this particular machine seems readily accesible in the US, was looking for another alternative (machine). I could order, I guess, from the US directly but then there’s the appropriate plug and current thing. Too much of a headache to do.

    On the table top oils. Ikea has a pretty good oil, too.

  • Hi David,

    On behalf of Marpac, thank you so much for mentioning us. We’re very glad that you like our product, and pleased that we could be of assistance to you. Calling us “super-nice” and the sound of our Dohm “bliss”… well, we are both flattered and appreciative :)

    Best wishes,
    Liz

  • Oh Arbequina oil! I discovered it just a few weeks ago, quite incidentally, after reading about olive oils that are sold in the US. Almost all imported oils are no good, their quality is far below of what should be expected from good olive oil. The author of the article suggested local domestic US oils from California. On my next shopping visit to Stop & Shop (!) in Massachusetts I stumbled upon this wonderful oil! It is so good that I probably will never buy any of imported oils anymore. This oil has a date when it was pressed on the back label – a sign of a quality product.
    BTW, this oil serves not only to pamper one’s palate, but also wonderful for the skin – better than any commercial cream. :)

  • @Liz of Marpac,
    any clue as to where I can find the sound conditioner in Scandinavia? If possible at all.

    • That was nice of her to stop by but if you write to them via their website, they will likely get back to you right away. (They were really responsive.) I bought my first one via Amazon.fr which came with an American plug, which was odd because the place that sent it is in Germany and they seemed surprised that that wasn’t appropriate (which was odd, because they knew I lived in France!)

      I don’t know the outlets in Scandinavia but the place I got mine from in Paris has excellent service and they can probably send you one with the different voltage requirements, although not sure about the plug.

  • David, this posting is fantastic and very timely–I’ll be in Paris in very soon and am going to be cooking chez moi quite a bit this visit. I’ve got to get my hands on some of that Bordier Piment d’Espelette Butter–it sounds incredible! Thanks for posting the shops where it’s available–I’m right up the street from Pl. Maubert, so I’ll be running down to Laurent Dubois to pick some up :) Do you have suggestions on where to buy jars of Piment d’Espelette in Paris to bring home? I’ve never looked for it before, but already had it on my shopping list for this visit after coming across some recipes that call for it. Do they have it at regular grocery stores (i.e. Carrefour), or do I need to go to a specialty shop or Grand Epicerie? And what about those cookies–can we get them in Paris?

    • You can get piment d’Espelette at a lot of place, including Da Rosa, Le Grand Épicerie, and Goumanyat. Keep it in a dark place as it tends to fade quickly. It’s great on scrambled eggs! (and in butter..too) Don’t know where to get those cookies in Paris. Their website doesn’t list where they are available, unfortunately.

  • $35 for OsmoTop @ Amazon! Any better prices in US?

  • Just purchased the Dohm – DC is very noisy at night! Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Hi David- Here’s my recipe for Celtic cookies. I made it up after becoming addicted to them. I spend half the year in Brest so I have access to Farine Sarrazin but any buckwheat flour can be used if your readers want to make these.
    Oven: Preheated to 375F
    In a bowl: Sift together 2+1/2 Cups buckwheat(sarrazin)flour
    3/4 tsp. baking powder
    3/4 tsp. baking soda
    3/4 tsp. salt(I use fleur de sel)
    In another bowl: Combine 1 Cup regular sugar
    3/4 Cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
    Add 2 large eggs to the oil/sugar mixture, beating well after each addition
    Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar/oil mixture all at once and beat well to combine
    Shape into 1/2″ balls and flatten with the bottom of a glass to about 4mm or 1/8″
    Bake for 10-12 minutes on a parchment-lined pan Makes at least 3 dozen highly-addictive cookies. Bon Appetit

  • Hah! I love that you threw in the mini vaseline in the middle of all those fancy, gourmet products. But yes, it’s a life-saver this time of year.

  • Just realized you might prefer to use a fancy butter for the Celtic cookies so I’d say about 3/4 cup of butter might work as well, if not better. You might want to add extra buckwheat flour to get the dough less sticky. I often roll my cookies between the parchment on the cookie sheet and another over the dough. In that way, I can just remove the excess dough and not worry about them sticking. They should be watched carefully to see that they don’t get too dark. A light to medium taupe color is what I aim for.

  • A second on Calfornia Olive Ranch arbequina, which I’ve been using for years. It’s a huge commercial operation–I believe the biggest olive oil producer in California– but the quality is excellent, especially the arbequina.

  • Le Fanion – West 4th St at Bank St, NYC. has cassoles from time to time. Not lots and lots like your Paris magasin. Just a thought.
    Dws

  • What a great list of “likes”! And you’re right, Vaseline (which contains petroleum) is not good for you. If you like, I would be happy to send you one of the 100% pure lip balms that I make and sell; they contain (only) shea butter, babassu butter, candelilla wax, avocado oil, with lavender and peppermint essential oil or bergamot and melissa essential oils. They’re cute, too!

  • Thanks so much! I love trying new herbs and spices so the ideas of what to actually DO with them are invaluable.

  • I have terrible news for you, David. You can buy those buckwheat galettes, by the kilo no less, at http://www.labiennommee.com/galettes-fines-ble-noir.html for an amazingly-reasonable 19,50 €. 150 of the little darlings, so pig out! Let the wallowing commence!

  • That Dohm looks sounds like the business David…for anyone this side of the pond I found this UK supplier http://whitenoisemachine.co.uk/

  • I love the deep orange hue of the cassoles pictured. Are they oven-proof?

  • I love to know what others’ kitchen favorites are. We all develop very interesting preferences through the years.
    However, as an ex-potter, I am always very careful about purchasing rustic, attractive low fire ceramics. They are usually still full of lead, which doesn’t burn out when fired in those temperatures. Do the French issue cautionary tags on low fire pottery?

  • Alice Medrich has a wonderful buckwheat butter cookie with cacao nibs recipe that the blogs were raving about a few years ago. Some said it was their favorite cookie of all time… If you don’t like cacao nibs she says to use chopped hazelnuts instead.

  • Thank you, Artephora, for posting that spice shop link! I’m going to order some piment d’Espelette to mix with my favorite butter, Buerre d’Isigny.
    Thank you, David, for the idea!

  • OMG. I need that butter. I will search every épicerie until I find it.

  • Vaseline is not a moisturizer, because it blocks moisture from going into and leaving your skin (lips). But this same property makes it an excellent barrier and protection for skin because it prevents moisture loss and chafing. Which is why it keeps your lips soft and moist. It’s a godsend though for babies because a generous layer in the right places prevents diaper rash and chafing.

  • I’ll have to try the butter. I grew several Piment d’Esplette pepper plants in pots last summer here in a shady canyon in Los Angeles. I got the seeds from a Canadian company and they did very well. I actually still have some peppers hanging on the withering plants outside, but I will restart the seeds and grow fresh ones this year. They are an absolutely fabulous glossy textured red color when they ripen.

  • I love love love timber bench tops. They always look so earthy, modern and beautiful.

  • In spite of the fighting in Syria, I managed to get some of my favorite Aleppo Pepper from a Turkish supplier, and I’m going to make a beurre composé using some of the Plugra that’s waiting in my fridge. Brilliant idea, and thanks for the inspiration, Daveed. Greetings from chilly Ann Arbor.

  • What kind of butter (salted? unsalted?) for making the Piment d’Esplette butter?

    Thanks, David.

  • Tung oil is hard to use unless cut with a solvent to help it penetrate. All the solvents I am familiar with are not edible and most are poisonous. I just read about possible side effects if one has a serious allergy to nuts as the Tung is a nut. I have used mineral oil for years on my 100 year old chopping blocks but am definitely interested in a better solution.

  • @Jack Etsweiler

    Thanks Jack – just ordered a tin of these biscuits – my family are galettes-monsters!

  • That butter….moaaannn….

    I would never be so brave as to chop on a wooden countertop, but one of the prizes I brought back from my last US trip was a HUGE wooden chopping board. I love my usual one, which is deep and really heavy, but sometimes that’s just not enough room. It’s great to chop tons of stuff for a stir-fry without it flying off in every direction.

  • Hi from Seattle, David!
    Let me tell you that, along with my coffee and my o.j., your blog became mandatory reading in my religious early morning routine and web “strolling”. Cannot start the day without stopping by. It comes right after NYTimes but way before Facebook!
    I am learning so much from your posts. And having tons of fun with your book (sweet life in paris).
    Thank you! This was another very valuable post.
    Thamis
    (I live in seattle for 8 years but i am originally from Brazil)

  • David, I love those bowls !
    A cabinet maker friend made my oak counter tops, and when we talked about oils, said ‘just use olive oil – wouldn’t you like to know that the food that you prepare on these counters is touching good natural food oils ? ‘ … so I do, and it’s perfect … wooden counters are very forgiving :)

    • I’m hesitant to put olive oil (or, as some suggest, walnut oil) on counters because both of those oils go rancid after a while.

  • Yes, Le Fanion in Greenwich Village usually has some selection of bowls similar to yours pictured. I have several in many sizes. Her stock changes frequently, but there is ALWAYS something wonderful to purchase!

  • Re: the buckwheat cookies.

    Life has never been easier since I stopped rolling out cookies and started using the slice n’ bake method. Could you make a regular shortbread dough using half buckwheat, half AP, and report back to us?

    • I sometimes mix half buckwheat,1/4 plain flour, and 1/4 stone ground yellow cornmeal to do the Celtic cookies. I also sprinkle a few grains of fleur de sel on top of each cookie just before putting it in the oven. They’re really not hard to make at all. If you don’t want to wait till they chill to make the cookies you can form small balls and flatten them with the bottom of a glass which you’ve covered with plastic wrap. This will keep the cookies from sticking and get the job done much faster.

  • My husband and I are planning a kitchen renovation, and I am utterly transfixed on solid wood counters – the richness and warmth of that look makes my heart sing! Unfortunately, even the salespeople at the local design store diverted us from wood counters, saying that they would quickly be marred by nicks and dings. My husband was more dismayed by the once-a-month maintenance requirements.

    Oh well, in the event it ever happens, at least I know with what to oil down the counters!

  • ooh I must try those buckwheat cookies- they are GF! Do you think the lovely folks at the Briezh epicerie could carry those? I’ll definitely be cooking with the spicy butter when I come to Paris in April. Thanks for a great post!

  • I have one of these-the littlest vaseline tub. A handy thing to have around for chapped lips and feet, among its other uses.
    You have a delightful list of your favourite things, David.

  • The mini-vaseline was a life saver (okay lip saver) for me last year! Have you tried the one with cocoa butter yet?

  • Found a buckwheat cookie recipe in the LA times. Looks like it’s worth a try.
    http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fo-buckwheat29b-2008oct29,0,3627514.story

  • I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your book, “The Sweet Life in Paris” – the text does blur in some parts from laughing until tears run down my face – maybe you could find a font that wouldn’t blur so? :0) Thanks for the awesome writing – the beautiful humor -in the book & your site! It’s pretty wonderful to get an peek into France – with the authentic flavors you’ve captured. (Things to like here in California? Well the streets run with Arbequina and of course Target stocks mini Vaseline with Cocoa butter… and Trader Joe’s has crunchy,chewy,savory Rosemary-raisin crackers.)

  • David, believe it or not, I found the small bottles of vaseline in the Indian Quarter at the Cash and Carry – really!!

  • I’ve alread searched for the Osmo Top Oil and as someone else mentioned, it is available through Amazon but the price I saw was for $29.95. Suffice it to say it’s now in my cart so thank you for the tip!
    I can’t wait to try the dark chocolate, olive and salt combo! Sounds oddly delicious.

    The mini Vaseline is adorable, I get the cuteness factor but I don’t use the stuff anymore…so many better and healthier options available these days.
    I like the white noise machines. I use one at work outside my office so people in the hallway can’t hear conversations inside. I also bought one years ago from Sharper Image for home which gives you a choice of 20 different sounds to fall asleep by. They include the typical white noise but other things like the ocean, a thunderstorm, windchimes, rain, etc.
    Thanks for a cool posting today as I love lists like this. It’s always fun to see what you’re enjoying.

    • I used half a can to treat the counter (in the pic) two times, so I don’t think that’s all that expensive. And considering the cost of replacing a kitchen counter, I think that’s pretty reasonable. Someone told me Ikea has a beeswax product that’s $6,95/can, although you have to spend a day at Ikea… and I’ve spent too many days there.

      I’ve seen (and heard) some of those sound machines that recreate waves, birds, etc. . but they often sound “tinny” to me. But I do like the idea of falling asleep to rainstorm overhead!

  • It’s great to see a part of your world :). Great things, bowls especially! :)

  • I have that white noise machine and I can’t live without it! So much so that I have a white noise app on my iPhone for traveling because I am now unable to sleep without a constant background whooshing. Given the choice between packing an extra pair of shoes and the white noise machine I have to pick the shoes (duh!). The app is not quite the same as the real deal, but it works.

    If the white noise machine came in mini-vaseline size then all of my problems would be solved….ok, I might be exaggerating.

    Great list. Thank you!

  • Boiled linseed oil works really well on my wooden chopping blocks and serving platters. It penetrates well and seems to seal the surface against moisture quite adequately. Readily available at DIY stores and is not expensive.

    Great to have another buckwheat product/recipe!

  • Whoa arbequina n chocolate! Has anybody tried using the oil to make a ganache (with a few sprinkles of salt =p)? Sounds like a plan! Arbequina n chocolate macarons!!!

  • I hope you keep that little Vaseline container handy. Petroleum-based products tend to be like salty snacks: they make you want more.

    When you run out of the Vaseline, I suggest you replace it with Lansinoh. It always soothes and when you run out, your lips will feel fine, be less slippery-slimey, but also very healthy and plump.

  • Love this post but Im nostalgic From Paris:(

  • I couldn’t sleep last night and was thinking about those buckwheat biscuits (like you do!). I agree with those who say roll into a log and slice, which is how I would tackle them. I suppose it is just a basic shortbread recipe with buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour and semolina? I think I would roll the log in sugar before slicing, like the nicest biscuits in the shortbread selection that everybody goes for first of all, leaving you with the rather dull shortbread fingers instead!

    Could you make them and let us know how it works? If not, I might, but my oven isn’t good at cakes and biscuits, never has been….

  • Simply cannot wait to serve bittersweet chocolate with olive oil and salt at my next party. Sounds fabulous. California Olive Ranch is the olive oil we use. the “Everyday” version is the best value, balanced, smooth, mildly fruity. And all the special blends and single varietals are terrific. We had an olive oil tasting with their entire line. Huge fans.
    LL

  • Hey David! Great Post, I just wanted to point out that you miss conjugated your link to Le Grand Épicerie, it should be La Grande Épicerie. Love your blog :D bye

    Oops. For some reason, I always get that wrong & have to double check it. I think it’s because I’m always worried that I won’t get the accent on the “E” right : ) thanks.. -dl

  • Hi David:

    I don’t know who your food scientist was (with regards to the wooden vs plastic boards), but I was rather surprised (as a microbiologist) to find that the University of California at Davis had done the research on this and that the results were not as expected. Pretty cool huh?

    http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm

    I have a plastic cutting board, but have definitely thought about changing to wood!

    It’s a pity about the bowls, but anyway the website that you link to only has brown, so not a great loss. I much prefer the red. Maybe I’ll tell my stepmother to look for them for me. . .

    With regard to the piment d’Esplette butter, I am thinking of having grilled piments d’Esplette with butter (I’m a gardener and it sounds as though growing the peppers might be the way to go here).

  • I just started reading Sweet Life in Paris and I can’t put it down. Thank you for delightful armchair travel. I am remembering my wonderful experience there. Keep writing!
    Please add my email to your blog list.

  • Je dois avouer que je n’a

  • ok, je recommence! Je dois avouer que je n’ai jamais mangé de biscuits au blé noir, et cela m’intrigue; pourraient-ils détrôner mes Traou Mad chéris? A suivre…
    Ma mère possède ces cassolettes en terre cuite et d’autres énormes, mais elle les achète en Espagne, juste de l’autre côté de la frontière car c’est moins cher et d’aussi bonne qualité. J’en ai 2, dont une très grande et je les adore!
    Je suis en train de lire votre livre “the sweet life in Paris” et j’ai déjà éclaté de rire plusieurs fois, ce que je fais rarement en lisant, alors kudos pour ça, mais je dois dire que je ne suis pas parisienne, alors forcément, vous apportez un peu d’eau à mon moulin de provinciale ne dédaignant pas quelques bonnes plaisanteries sur ceux et celles de la CAPITALE…Bonne journée à vous!

  • Perhaps you have heard already, but it is possible to order the Osmo Top Oil from the UK. I just ordered 2 containers of Osmo Top Oil from the Amazon UK website. No delivery problems to France. Amazon UK said it should arrive in 7 to 14 days. We will be installing all new wood counter tops in our kitchen at about that time. I am so glad to have read about this product on your blog. Thanks!

    • Thanks. I was hoping to find in in a store here but my friend was coming so she said she’d bring me some. But Amazon.uk is a lifesaver for a number of things, especially baking equipment that I can’t find in France. Apparently this is a good beeswax product at Ikea (Behandla) that’s a lot less, although you have to go to Ikea to get it!

  • You can also find the piment d’espelette powder on Amazon (for the US)!

    http://www.amazon.com/Piment-dEspelette-Pepper-Powder-France/dp/B002J6ARK6

    Then again there is very little you cannot find on Amazon.

    If you are ever back here and venture to your local Costco you should check out their memory foam pillows with COOLING BEADS (or gel or something to that effect). So that you never have to flip your pillow over to sleep on the cool side. Ingenious.

  • Just back from Laurent Dubois…no Bordier piment d’Esplette butter. David, did you buy it ALL?! ;)

  • Pascal Trotté fromagerie is all out too. David, I am beginning to worry that you might turn orange from consuming all this butter ;) Checking Le Grande Epicerie next…

    • That’s odd you can’t find it, but as I say (and experience), if you are searching for one thing in Paris in particular, they will have everything but that one thing that you are looking for.

      Bordier makes several flavored butters; yuzu, smoked salt, vanilla, etc..but I do like the Espelette the best – try it spread on bread with ham, when and if you find it : )

  • I just received my shipment of La Bien Nommée buckwheat galettes and can confirm they are incroyable. Thanks David! ;) Some of the other cookies look great too…

  • Success at the Grande Epicerie! They have lots. I saw several other people buying it too, so it must be popular. I’m enjoying it on baguette right now–it is quite good! Thanks David!