Pecans are the great American nut and at no time of the year are they more in demand than around the holidays. There are a lot of different nuts grown in the United States; walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts, but a pie made with toasted pecans is a holiday tradition and every year I have the urge to make one.

Recently an American membership-only store opened in France, and while there are many French hypermarchés (mega-stores), this one caused a splash, particularly amongst Americans, because they have things like big rolls of their famous plastic wrap with that superlative cutter, IPA beers, and from what I hear, big bags of pecans.

There’s always been Metro, a similar mega-store that carries more restaurant-supply items. But there’s a huge refrigerator filled with every kind of French cheese (and butter) that you can imagine, sold whole (like an entire wheel of Brie) or butter in large blocks, and they give you down jackets to wear because you want to spend so much time in there. It really is that cold. But you need to be a professional to go there.

I don’t have room for an entire wheel of Brie – and I’m not talking about in my stomach (which I’d be up for trying…), but in my refrigerator – but I do have room for pecans, which I stockpile as the holidays get closer and closer. Over the years, I’ve made Ginger Pecan Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie with my precious pecans that I haul back from the States because I’m not schlepping out to the boonies on the outskirts of Paris to get a bag of pecans when I can carry them 5500 miles over the Atlantic. (And sometimes pay extra in luggage fees.) That makes sense. Right?

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It’s that time of the year again. When bakers, cooks, and even bartenders, are baking, roasting, and shaking things up for the holidays. Here’s a round-up of recipes from my blog, my personal favorites, that are great for Thanksgiving and winter holiday fêtes. There are cakes, cocktails, spreads, dips, candied nuts, cheesecake, ice cream…and more! Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Ginger What’s more traditional than pecan…

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To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of L’Appart, I’ll be at Shakespeare & Co. at 939 Lexington Avenue (between 68th and 69th Streets) in New York City on Tuesday, November 13th, from 6:30 to 8pm. I’ll be in conversation with Justin Spring, author of The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy. We’ll be taking questions, as…

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Potato pizza sounds a bit odd, until you try it. The first time I had it was in Rome at Pizzarium, which I still remember almost fifteen years later. My memory isn’t what it used to be (as people insist on pointing out…), but I think I also had it at the Forno Campo de Fiori as well, and couldn’t get enough of it. I…

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The story was a long time in the making, from deciding to plant roots in Paris, to finding an apartment and tackling a renovation. As often happens, things didn’t quite go as planned. There were obstacles to overcome and I had to expand my French vocabulary. (Who knew there were so many different words for sinks?) There was one too many trips to Ikea, the…

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I always wonder, when I open a cookbook, what recipe is going to jump out at me? I sometimes head for the dessert chapter first, but since man (and everyone else) can’t live by dessert alone – unfortunately – so I scan everything, from appetizers to main courses. I’m often drawn to cookbooks on French foods, of course, but also Spanish, Portuguese, and the areas…

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A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to the Savoie, a region of France that was once a dukedom of Italy. As you travel through France, especially away from the center of the country, you see more influences from neighboring countries, such as in the Basque region, where cornmeal and chile peppers figure into the cuisine. In Nice, pistou and socca from Italy are…

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Hoo-boy, a lot has changed in blogging since I started. Back then, people relied on RSS feeds to read blogs. Something changed, and now it’s social media and direct email notification that readers use to connect. I used to think newsletters were adding yet another – sigh – email to my Inbox. But now I find myself looking forward to my favorite newsletters showing up in…

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There isn’t quite a word for “pie” in French. Tourte describes a double-crusted, enclosed pastry of some sort, but isn’t quite the same as pies in the States are. Like dishes from other nationalities and cultures, pie represents a tradition to Americans. Pies are a dessert we look forward to baking when fruit and berries come into season, and they are an essential part of our holidays, like Thanksgiving…

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