I’ve finally reached a milestone in my life because I am actually going on a book tour. Yes, I can barely believe it myself. After years of publishers hiding me, aka “the loose cannon,” they are releasing me into the wild. I’ll be heading to the U.S. and Vancouver for a series of events to mark the release of My Paris Kitchen. While I’d love to go everywhere*, there’s only one (1) of me, and fifty (50) states – not to mention the provinces, territories, and wilds of Canada. However, if anyone can get me to Hawaii and arrange an event close to the beach, I will work on my publisher to find a way to accommodate that one. (But you may have to invite them to come with me.) So, in spite of how easy the airlines make it to change tickets, and the low-fees involved in doing so, this is it.
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This Sunday, I’ll be doing a book signing with my friends at The House That Jack Built as part of their Valentine Jumble Sale. The event will take place at Le Mary Celeste (1, rue Commines, 3rd, Métro: Filles du Calvaire or République).There will be copies of The Perfect Scoop sale priced in hardcover and paperback, in addition to a limited amount of copies of The Sweet Life in Paris and Ready for Dessert.
I’ll be there from Noon to 3pm (the sale continues until 5pm) and you’re welcome to bring copies of previously owned books you’ve purchased elsewhere. There will be vintage items, cocktail punch, and Alison’s sweet-salty treats. So if you’re around this Sunday – stop by and say hi!
Garlic has a season, and depending on where you live, that season is usually spring through mid-summer. In France, we get ail nouveau, which are heads of garlic that are very plump and slightly soft, whose moist skin is tinged with a bit of pink. As it ages, the garlic becomes more rosy in color, and there is even a special “rose” garlic in France called ail rose de Lautrec, whose status is certified by the French government. As the months progress, garlic season ends and the remaining heads go into storage.
In France, garlic that has been kept is often referred to as ail sec, or dried garlic. And in many cases, during storage, those cloves of garlic will develop a green germ inside that is said to be bitter and should be removed. I know, because I’ve said that myself. But I’ve never really put it to the test. So when a friend, who worked closely with Marcella Hazan (an expert on Italian cuisine) told me that Marcella never removed the green germ (her reasoning being that since it was new garlic in the making, it was tender and not bitter), I figured it would be interesting to see – and taste – if removing it really did make a difference.
I was deeply saddened when I heard that someone who happens to have been a culinary icon (and hero) of mine, and who I was fortunate enough to work with in the kitchen, is no longer standing behind her stove. This morning I learned that Judy Rodgers the chef-owner of Zuni Café, had passed. I was fortunate the work with Judy for a few years on and off at Chez Panisse. Judy was incredibly dynamic as a person; so much so that I think even she had trouble dealing with all her energy! She was also a dynamic cook. And like the best cooks, her food wasn’t ever about her: It was about the food.
The roast chicken with bread salad at Zuni was the most iconic dish she made and was always worth waiting for. (Although once we drank too many martinis from the bar while we waited for it, and when I got home, I realized that I’d skipped out on the bill! – which I did go back and pay the next day.) The Caesar Salad at the restaurant was the best you could get, as were the pillow-light ricotta gnocchi and the excellent hamburger, which was perfect in every way. Whatever Judy made, was the best. In fact, one of the best things I ever ate in my entire life was a simple salad she’d handed to me one night at Chez Panisse, composed of escarole, rabbit loin, potatoes, and garlic confit smeared on toasts, all tumbled together with a warm, mustardy-dressing. I never dreamed a simple salad could taste so good, and I still remember the exact moment when I put the first forkful in my mouth – it was so, so good, and I still think about it nearly twenty-five years later.
Hey! I’ll be doing a booksigning at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on Sunday, December 8th.
The shop is located at 3885 Cesar Chavez Street (at Church) and I’ll be there from 3 to 4pm. Copies of The Sweet Life in Paris, The Perfect Scoop, Ready for Dessert and The Great Book of Chocolate will be on available.
Stop by and get books signed for holiday gifts, or for yourself. And if you can’t make it, or live elsewhere, you can order a signed book to be sent to you. Contact Omnivore Books to make arrangements.
A number of you use Google Reader to visit and read the blog through the RSS feed, which allows you to subscribe to the site using a “reader.” Unfortunately Google Reader is going away at the end of this month. But don’t fret – there are other reader options, which include Feedly (which allows you to migrate your data and feeds easily), Newsfire, Blog Lovin’ (thanks, deb), and The Old Reader (thanks, commenters.) If you’re on an iPad or other tablet or mobile device, Flipboard is pretty nifty, too.
Another option is to have blog posts/entries e-mailed to you, which you can do by filling out the form at the bottom of this post in that gray box that says “Never Miss a Post.” Your e-mail address is never shared from there and it’s only used to send you blog posts, which you can cancel at any time. But why the heck would you want to? ; )
This Sunday, June 9th – I’ll be at La Cuisine cooking school from 2 to 4 pm signing books and hanging out.
The venue is located at 80, quai de l’Hôtel de Ville (map) and you’re welcome to stop by and say hi! There will be copies of The Sweet Life in Paris, The Perfect Scoop and Ready for Dessert in the US and UK editions.
Parked alongside will be Henri from Glazed, with his ice cream truck, scooping up his intriguing and fabulous flavors.
More information is at the Facebook Event Page, and you are welcome to RSVP there – although not necessary. See you on Sunday!