Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Robert May's French Bread from 1660

Trophies of Cookery

Acorns were good until bread was found. 
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) 

As you may know – well, anyone who happened to read my article on Blanquette de Veau in The Art of Eating or Seeing Red: the Bittersweet History of the Radish in The Foodie Bugle knows that I am fascinated by the history of a food. How was a dish created, who concocted the very first one, how did it develop over the years? And very old recipes intrigue me even more than modern inspiration. I just have the idea that it was all so much more of a challenge way back when. So needless to say, I was very happy when I saw that Ilva had selected a recipe for September's Bread Baking Babe's challenge that was originally written in 1660.

Monday, September 15, 2014



Never, never, before Heaven, have I thought of you but as the single, bright, pure, blessed recollection of my boyhood and my youth. Never have I from the first, and never shall I to the last, regard your part in my life, but as something sacred, never to be lightly thought of, never to be esteemed enough, never, until death, to be forgotten. 
– Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Clams in White Wine


We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought 
in the measure to which we are responsive to it. 
- Lawrence Durrell 

What a hectic week it's been in France! A Presidential scandal, a parliamentary scandal involving a deputy, and the far right national party trying to muscle their way closer to the top. And la rentrée, the start of the new school year and the new changing time organization, five days of class instead of four, which, of course, has led to scandal among mayors and teachers alike. Sigh. I guess a demonstration can't be far behind. On a more personal note, the sun is out and has pushed the dreary, rainy summer out, now a faded memory. The air is crisp, cool, and foreboding good things, a bright future. And our lives are about to change, so this is a very good omen.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Honey Whiskey Bundt Cake with Honey Whiskey Butter Glaze


Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough. 
Mark Twain 

I am not a drinker. Neither were my parents although my father absolutely demanded a bar in the family room (big, hulking thing he built himself yet never finished even as it stood there for at least twenty years). That bar was filled with everything convivial: whisky, rum, Kahlua and Grand Marnier. Mixes for Tom Collins and bottles of bitters. Yet twenty years later those very same jars were still tucked away behind the bar glazed with twenty years worth of dust. But I digress. I am not a drinker other than my half glass of wine with a meal. Maybe a bit more with dessert or a box of fine chocolates.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Notes From Nantes


Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don't come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they're having a piss. - Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall 

Graffiti has become a real casse-tête in Nantes, a headache, a puzzle, an ongoing debate. As in every city and town across the country, I imagine. It is undoubtedly illegal, defacing public and private property. A prohibited activity, which has become a moral dilemma. The city spends millions of euros to clean walls, buildings, to erase, expunge, obliterate the unwanted, these blots on our society.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chocolate Chip Pecan Buttermilk Muffins


To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. 
- Oscar Wilde 

Comfort Food. It's all I could think of today. I needed comfort food. I wasn't sad, I wasn't heartbroken. I wasn't even wistful, contemplating better worlds and future hopes. Nope…. I was exhausted. Two weeks solid, non-stop of helping my younger son organize his internship in Germany, find housing, figure out transportation, yadda yadda yadda, Marty recovering from his surgery and older son off in the wilds of Senegal, working and partying amid the threat of ebola (images of The Masque of the Red Death dance through my head although I know I am exaggerating), not to mention our own waiting for our own plans to fall into place (fingers crossed). I was simply and utterly worn out. But don't get me wrong: all is good.


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