La Gastro

When I used to get sick in America, I would get congested, a sore throat, sometimes a runny nose, and a fever. In France, whenever I get sick, it bypasses every other organ and heads straight to my stomach. I don’t know if it’s the rich foods, the dubious rules of storage, or a new set of germs as foreign to me as the 14…

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Although we can’t expect things to be like ‘back home’, many of us do miss certain things and for us bakers, it’s often a challenge to adapt to new ingredients or ones that behave differently than what we’re used to. Here’s a list of commonly used baking ingredients and where you can find them, or what you can use in their place. Buttermilk, Heavy Cream,…

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Site News

We’ve been tinkering with the web site and blog here for the past few weeks, making some changes and adding some features based on some of your feed back. As the blog continues to evolve, I realized that it had quickly outgrown some of the previous formats so I’ve been working with my long-standing (and long-suffering) web master to improve the site Wondering where you…

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You won’t often find much in the way of vegetables on the menus of many cafés in Paris. I don’t mean the over-hyped restaurants with the fancy chef names attached that the slick food magazines tend to worship. There you might find a coin of grilled zucchini, a dot of sauce, and perhaps a leaf of parsley as a carefully-draped garnish. But most of the…

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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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