When I was a kid, it seems like everyone was wearing Lacoste polo shirts (they were also called Izod shirts back then). The shirt was introduced in 1933 and named for French tennis star René Lacoste who was nicknamed “the alligator” after winning a game bet, the prize being an alligator suitcase. The shirts came in a riot of colors during the 60’s and 70’s,…

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One of the nice things about working at Chez Panisse for so long was that I got to meet a lots of famous and important chefs and cooks. James Beard would walk through the kitchen and say hi, Richard Olney brought bottles of Y’quem for us to taste, and Danny Kaye grabbed the whisk out of my hands while I was making soufflés to show…

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The city of Torino (or Turin) is one of the great centers of chocolate. In the early part of 1500, a Italian named Emmanuel Philibert served hot chocolate to celebrate a victory over the French at Saint-Quentin. And in 1763, Al Bicerin opened it’s doors and began making a celebrated coffee-and-chocolate drink called il bavareisa. The hot drink was a soothing mixture of locally-produced chocolate,…

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Have you ever tasted passion fruit? If not, I suggest you do as soon as possible since now is their primary season in many parts of the world. If it’s your first taste of this amazing fruit, you’re in for a real treat. Slice one in half and spoon the seeds and pulp right into your mouth. That explosion of flavor is indescribable; a melange…

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As the shops re-do their store windows after les soldes, in their half-finished state, there’s always a little note (usually hand-written), saying something along the lines of, “Please excuse us, the window display is in the midst of réalisation” An elderly couple, parents of a friend who live across the street, invited me for dinner last night. Both are in their early 80’s and their…

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Garrett’s caramel corn for breakfast… Is that wrong? (Merci Louisa!)

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Some people love it, and others leave it. It’s White Chocolate, that controversial melange of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk (more on that later). Often there’s vanilla, or vanillin (a synthetic vanilla-like substance) added as well. Many people will say they don’t like white chocolate, citing a preference for the dark side. “It’s not chocolate!”, you’ll hear. Well, no, it’s not. It’s different. A different…

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I ain’t Mr. Organic. I’m one of those people where “local-trumps-organic”. And taste trumps everything. But I do generally prefer to buy from a local grower if possible, rather than from someone far away. (Unless it’s Target…then all bets are off!) That’s what I like about daily life in Paris, those things are still important. You need to know the boulanger, the butcher, the fromager,…

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A baker takes advantage of the sub-zero temperature of Paris… …where rooftops multi-task as cooling racks…

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