Plat du Jour

Susan Herrmann Loomis’ new cookbook “ Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy” is a virtual journey to culinary France via recipes, photos, anecdotes and tips. From French “plat du jour” means dish of the day. Loomis is talking about “those dishes you find on handwritten menus outside French bistros or cafés, the ones that beckon everyone inside to sample a restaurant’s mouthwatering menu.” She says “Most plats du jour are classics lifted from the heart of French regional cuisine, dishes that evoke the essence of France, the spirit of terroir and grandmere… from Boeuf Bourguignon and Blanquette de Veau to Bouillabaisse and Croque Monsieur.” Continue reading “Plat du Jour”

Christmas Markets, Paris 2021

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La Defense © F. Eckert

Paris’ Christmas markets are among the things that make the holidays special in France. The markets are found all over the city from the Tuilleries Garden to Saint Germain des Pres to the Parvis de la Mairie du 15e. But the biggest (10,000 meters) and most diversified market (200 stalls) is found at Paris’ La Défense. The earliest Christmas markets date back to the late middle ages and have their origin in Germany. The Dresden “Striezelmarkt”  is said to be the oldest Christmas market and was first held in the 15th century. The Bautzen Christmas market and the Vienna “December Market” are supposed to be even older dating back to the 13th century. It was in 1570 when the Christmas market tradition found its way into Alsace, France’s easternmost region bordering Germany.

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Paris Cemeteries, the Saints Go Marching

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Oscar Wilde’s grave

November in Paris begins with yet another long weekend away from work – le pont de la Toussaint (All Saints Day) – one of many strewn along the French calendar year. As Paris florists bring out their stock of chrysanthemum for the annual commemoration of Parisians now gone, and as other Parisians pack their cars and pile up at the exits of the city for yet another frantic weekend on France’s chock-a-block highways, why not use this most appropriate time of year for a less stressful outing to one of the capital’s cemeteries. This should be completed with the purchase of Georges Brassens’ “La Ballade des Cimetières,” a perfect way to record your outing and do your French homework. Continue reading “Paris Cemeteries, the Saints Go Marching”