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Let’s Eat France!

Of all the books I own on French cuisine, Let’s Eat France is one of my favorites. First up, the book is huge. I don’t mean in terms of scope, which it is. But physically the book is enormous. Think the size of the tablet listing five of the ten commandments, and just as heavy. The book is 13+ inches (33cm) tall and clocks in…

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Benoit Castel Pastry Shop

There’s an exciting wave of pastry places opening in Paris. The last time that happened to such an extent was when Pierre Hermé kicked off a new wave of excitement about la pâtisserie nearly two decades ago. What new is that many of the pastry shops are outside of traditional areas. Visitors often say they want to go to places “off the beaten path,” and the combination of…

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Maison Landemaine Bakery in Paris

It’s a great day when a new bakery opens up in your neighborhood. I don’t mean to brag, but there are six bakeries in my neighborhood. One of those “great days” was when a particularly lame bakery closed, and a really good one opened up in its place. And although I don’t like seeing people go out of business, another bakery that was, for lack…

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Panifica bakery

I used to cross Paris to buy a loaf of bread. That was when I was more of a débutant and kept a list of bakeries that I wanted to visit, and I’d make it a point to check off as many as I could, to try their bread. But few in Paris go farther than their local boulangerie to get their bread. Since it’s…

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Weekend Out of Paris

May is the month of holidays in France. There are eleven public holidays a year, called jours fériés, which we might call “bank holidays” in the United States. They’re official holidays/dates when government offices, schools, banks, and most stores are closed, except for a few supermarkets, convenience stores, and bakeries, which need to follow certain rules as to when they can close in the summer, so they’re…

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Bread, on the table…s’il vous plait

One of the things that I see when dining with visitors to France is that right after they pluck a piece of bread out of the bread basket that is invariably set on the table in cafés and restaurants, they start looking around – a little nervously – where to put their bread down. While the conversation is going, I sense a bit of multitasking…

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At the Market: Bitter Turnips and Smoked Garlic

I regularly visit the outdoors markets in Paris to do my shopping. It’s a lot nicer than the supermarket and I’ve gotten to know many of the vendors personally. Last Friday I took a lovely journalist from Poland through the market, who was writing a story about me and my new book. And I thought I’d be fun to take her shopping with me. She…

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Five Books on French Cuisine

The Whole Fromage Look, I like cheese a lot. But didn’t think I could get into an entire book on the subject. And as I read the first few paragraphs of The Whole Fromage, my suspicions were almost confirmed and I was considering putting it down because, like cheese (which I’m surrounded by on a daily basis – and I’m not complaining!), a well-edited selection…

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In Praise of Sesame Baguettes in Paris

I suppose I’m doing all those things the diet-police are advising against – namely having fat and carbohydrates for breakfast in lieu of “healthier” options, like having a bowl of kale-flecked quinoa or downing a cilantro smoothie. But as much as I like fruits and vegetables (and herbs), the only thing I am able to face first thing in the morning is something a little…

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