Nutmeg, More Precious Than Gold

NUTMEG, France, gold, expensive, French cuisine

In the 14th century, a pound of nutmeg was purportedly worth three sheep and a cow; in the 17th century, the little, fragrant nut was valued higher than gold.

Thanksgiving 2023

crescent rolls, French, American rolls, France, Paris

What matters is that we are all cooking and enjoying time together at the table.  List or no, one thing I never forget is to make my grandmother’s crescent rolls, which have anchored every Thanksgiving I’ve known. They require a light hand and a lot of space, for once they’re shaped, they rise for hours; […]

French Comfort Foods

potage, soup, French soup, French cuisine

So as Mother Tongue is the comfortable language (which maybe makes us think of Mother), comfort food is that which inspires comfort in the individual. Which means it’s hard to categorize a culture’s comfort foods. But I’m going to try, with a short list of foods that give me comfort and, I’ve observed, give my […]

Cook From Your Heart

lemon tart, French cuisine, French pastry, Paris, Normandy

I cooked for a French family to earn my keep while I studied as an apprentice chef in Paris.  At first, I was completely petrified. Me, cook for French people?! I’d been an enthusiastic cook since I was a teenager so I dove in. Though I was immersed six days a week in a classic […]

Cook French: Make Tarts

FRENCH CUISINE, tarts, pastry, cooking classes

The most important part of a tart is not the filling. It’s the pastry. There are three major pastry categories in the French repertoire: pâte brisée, for sweet or savory tarts; pâte sucrée, which is cookie-like and best for tarts containing creams and fresh fruit; pâte feuilleté which, when made properly, rises to the sky […]

Cooking in a Small Kitchen

Paris, France, cooking, French cuisine, kitchen

It’s not space that is important, but how you manage it. My Paris kitchen has a gas stove, high ceilings, wasted corners, a big window, and easy access to the dining area. To make it workable, I immediately filled a wasted corner with a tall, narrow fridge that is almost invisible and doesn’t interrupt my […]

French Holiday Dishes

roast turkey, holidays, France, French cuisine

Capon holds court in many homes, with turkey running a close second. Usually they are stuffed, French style, with chestnuts, and surrounded in the pan by potatoes, more chestnuts, and mushrooms. Sometimes dried prunes or apricots are added to the stuffing. Shellfish Shellfish is a big part of the holidays here, with oysters being number […]


CASSOULET, French classic dish, France, duck

Confit: Mystery and Alchemy Making confit is fun, which maybe says a lot about my sense of fun.  But it’s hands-on, you have to be patient, and then you have to be patient some more.  There is an air of mystery, and one of alchemy because you are transforming a meat you know into one […]

The Truths and Mysteries of Duck and Fat

duck fat, appetizer, toast, pepper, fleur de sel, France, French food

Question: What are the best species of duck for eating? Here in France, the most widely available duck is the Barbary, originally imported from Central America by the Portuguese. It is the duck we most often see in the butcher shop and on the table, it has a rich, elegant flavor and, when cooked properly, […]

Wild Mushrooms and a Beautiful Dessert

What is the best way to cook wild mushrooms? Gently, respectfully, and only after they have been carefully cleaned. This year, wild mushrooms are nice and dry rather than soggy, the way they can be during a rainy year. This makes them easy to clean. Trim the stem ends, get a pastry or paint brush, […]

Pin It on Pinterest