“Je n’en ai pas besoin, mais…”

Those are words I constantly tell myself when I’m at a flea market or brocante (antique or secondhand shop) and come across something that I like (or want). Piles of gorgeous French linens, mortars without (or without) pestles, French jam jars, and no longer loved café pitchers, get a once-over from me, as I ask myself that question: “I don’t need it, but…”

While I’m asking myself that question, I might share a photo on social media, and soon others are chiming in with other questions, like “Where do you put all that stuff?”

For the record, I don’t buy everything that I touch, or photograph, although it sometimes seems that way, I suppose. I do use a lot of the things that I buy for cooking and baking, although I think people would get irked if I posted a cake recipe that was made in some highly unusual (and unusually sized) cake pan or tart ring that I found in the bottom of a box at a flea market. So being a people-pleaser, I do practice more restraint that people imagine.

What I do buy, or more specifically, where I put it all, can be answered in L’appart, my book about building my kitchen.

So those enquiring minds (or inquiring minds) who want to know “Where do you put it all?” can rest assured that I didn’t buy everything shown in this post. Although I did regret not buying this baguette cutter, even though I don’t need it, mais

But another question I get is, “Where is this?!” which I’m happy to answer here. While it’s true you can score things at Paris flea markets and thrift shops, most of the good stuff is found digging around outside of the city. So you need to get out of town, like we do in the summer.

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Staying with friends in the countryside for a few days last week, we were fortunate to discover that a neighbor was making his own bread, which was excellent. The young man bakes just a few loaves a couple of times a week. Romain, in his wisdom (a trait he may have picked up from me: buy as much as you can, when you come across something…

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Being a baker, summer is my favorite time of year. Not only are peaches, nectarines, cherries and plums abundant at the market, but as the seasons progress, the volume of fruits lowers the price, and I stock up on whatever I can, whenever I can. At Paris markets, I try to search out producteurs, the vendors who grow the food they sell, and every summer, one in…

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Two things have surprised me recently*. One is the sudden surge of small-scale ice cream shops that have opened in Paris. Which means my ship has definitely passed on opening my own place as others got to it first. Shops like Senoble, Glaces Glazed, Une Glace à Paris, Sucre Glace, and La Paleteria are churning out ice cream across Paris, some even staying open in…

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The first time I had chicken cooked caramel sauce was at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. “Caramel? With chicken?” I thought. But once I tasted it, I didn’t need to wonder why it became their signature dish. Back then, The Slanted Door was a small restaurant in the Mission, on a street that was notable for Latin markets, edgy bars, and burritos. Things have…

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Middle Eastern restaurants that focus on freshness and quality of ingredients have been proliferating in places like London (Ottolenghi and Honey & Co.) and in the U.S. (Glasserie and Zahav) over the last few years. And now, we’ve got a spate of new ones arriving in Paris. The foods of the Middle East had mostly been relegated to kebab and falafel stands, but new places are…

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Summer is a great time for ice cream. It’s cool, it’s creamy, and I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like ice cream. It’s the absolute crowd-pleaser when the temperatures climb. Add toasted marshmallows, salted butter chocolate sauce, and Graham crackers? I’m in, all the way. Unlike others, I don’t have nostalgic memories that involved S’mores, so I’m making up for lost time. This S’more…

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I once got into a Scrabble tiff when I was challenged for using the word “ade.” I’ve played Scrabble in English, and in French, and I’ve determined that it’s impossible to win if facing French players due to the astounding selection of verb conjugations they have at their disposal. Except for this guy, who doesn’t even speak French, but memorized French words in the dictionary….

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Once upon a time, there was something called I Hate Peas – French fries with ridges that you baked in the oven, aimed at kids who wouldn’t eat their vegetables. They supposedly had all the nutrients of peas without whatever it is about peas that apparently some kids don’t like. They didn’t last long, and I (or my mom) was fortunate because I always loved vegetables, including…

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