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December 2020 Newsletter
Last month I had a different feeling. I don’t know exactly why it happened, but I started to suspect I was bi. Maybe people do change? Or maybe just their desires do? I didn’t tell Romain as he wouldn’t have understood what I was going through. So I acted on it. I sent out a bi-monthly newsletter last month. A two-fer, if you will: two newsletters in one month. Not sure if the bi-life is for me, but maybe there’ll be another newsletter before the end of the new year. It’s certainly been a mixed-up year, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you but 2021 can’t come soon enough. 2021 is just around the corner and if anyone wishes 2020 stuck around a little longer, raise your hand…
Nope, no one. Well that’s that. Just a few days ago, at the end of November, the French president announced a relaxation of our national confinement. To be honest, the restrictions weren’t nearly as daunting as last spring when the streets and sidewalks of Paris were startlingly empty. In November, you wouldn’t have known much had changed. True most storefronts and all restaurants and bars were closed, but the streets, sidewalks, and markets were busy. Food stores and other essential businesses like electronic stores (although oddly, not clothing stores) remained open so you could buy a new speaker or curling iron, but not socks or underwear. To me, if I had to choose what was more essential, I’d go with the latter. But I seem to be in the minority.
This week the weather dropped to -2ºC (29ªF) and I was thinking of what to make that would help me feel warm and cozy - ta-da, kimchi! So I made a batch with a giant head of chou chinois I picked up in Belleville, along with a bunch of scallions and a bag of carrots a chef gave me when I passed her restaurant kitchen on my way home and knocked on the window just to say hi. If you’ve never made kimchi, give it a go. It’s easy to make and hard to mess up. The kimchi recipe I use is here.
The holidays are going to look a lot different this year, depending on where you are. Many in France are hopeful they’ll be able to travel and/or spend the holidays with families or friends, which the Président said will be decided if infection rates drop to below 5K/day by December 15. So we’ll see. In the meantime, December is extra-busy with holiday baking, posting on my blog, Zoom meeting and presentations, and doing some book events and a signing in Paris, listed below.
Darn you, Covid-19! But that’s not going to stop me from doing my best to eek in a few holiday events…
Dec. 11: Drinking French book signing at Café Méricourt, 22 de la rue Folie Méricourt (11th) in Paris, 3-4pm. Stop by to get a book signed for you or to give as a gift. Copies of Drinking French available at the café for purchase & signing. If you’re interested in purchasing copies of L’Appart and The Perfect Scoop, click here.
Dec. 13: I’ll be presenting a French apéritif seminar with Context Travel on the history, culture, and some recipes for using the iconic apéritifs. (Tip: There’s a promo code THANKFUL 15 for 15% off all their seminars before Dec. 6. which you can also use for my friend Jennifer’s French cheese workshops, too.)
Drinking French News
Was super-happy to find Drinking French included as a local favorite in the Made-in-France gift guide by 52 Martinis, this Parisian gift guide by La Cuisine, a round-up of best cocktail books of 2020 by Lush Life, and on this list of 6 Cookbooks That Take You Places by The Taste.
Many of you have asked about getting signed copies of Drinking French for the holidays. Since travel is off the agenda for the moment, Book Larder in Seattle will offer bookplate-signed books (in just a few days) in limited quantities.
There are also two Drinking French Bar Boxes available, each includes a bookplate signed book as well. One is from Slope Cellars in Brooklyn which includes rye whisky, Dolin vermouth de Chambéry (just the right combination for Manhattans and Boulevardiers), Forthave spirits red apéritif bitters (similar to Campari but locally-made and more botanical), and Citadelle French gin. Buy here.
And look for a Drinking French Bar Box that will be available in the new few days from K & L Wine Merchants on the west coast, which’ll features Chartreuse, cognac, Byrrh, and Dolin dry vermouth de Chambéry, and Raymond Ragnaud Pineau de Charentes, a delightful apéritif made from grapes and cognac. I’ll post on Instagram when that one is ready. Both of the Drinking French bar boxes make great gifts and feature spirits from small-scale or family-owned producers. Order one for yourself, or send one as a gift to anyone you care about.
Links I’m Liking
How great are these mid-century modern chairs made from champagne corks? Even better is they’re for a good cause. (DWR)
Sacre bleu! A couple discovers over 66 bottles of rare pre-prohibition era whiskey hidden under their house. (CNN)
Paris firemen urge the public not to call them when they’ve left their phone in a taxi, lost their keys, or have a “stuck” sofa. (The Guardian)
Famed tea (and hot chocolate) salon Angelina opens in New York City. (Eater)
Top landscape photos of 2020. (Atlantic)
Surprised to see the Amish clothing company I used to buy clothes from is still going strong. (Gohn)
Best drinking glasses (…and surprise, most are affordable) according to restaurant designers. (Strategist)
The always-intriguing Lottie + Doof Annual Gift Guide. (L+D)
Marie Antoinette’s shoe fetches $51,780 at auction. I’ll be searching furiously for the other one next summer at the flea markets… (CTV)
Recent Posts and Recipes from My Blog
November was filled with apples and spice and everything nice...
Seasonal tangerines found their way into a sunny Le Soleil cocktail. I always have a bowl of the orange orbs in my kitchen to brighten up winter…and the occasional cocktail.
If you’ve ever admired the Tartes fine aux pommes (thin apple tarts) at French pastry shops, you’ll be happy to hear they’re super-simple to make at home with this very easy “express” puff pastry which takes about 10 minutes of working time to make.
The trend nowadays is over-the-top cakes with lots of layers and so forth. But it’s hard to beat the classic Carrot Cake with traditional cream cheese frosting, which here has the untraditional addition of browned butter. If you’ve forgotten how good cream cheese frosting is, this cake is an excellent reminder.
The apple may not fall far from the tree but you’ll fall for this Far From the Tree Cocktail with spiced pears, apple brandy, and a dash of sparkling apple cider to liven things up. It just may be your drink of the holidays!
I revisited my favorite granola, which swaps out the usual overload of oil with fruit puree. It’s not too sweet but ridiculously crunchy and we’ve been putting handfuls over our bowls of fresh fruit and yogurt in the morning. Don’t tell, but I sneak in spoonfuls in the afternoon, fishing out the clumps and snacking on them when no one else is looking.
I know a lot of you can’t make it to Paris this year, and let me tell you, you are missed. Thankfully my sidekick Emily, who helps with the blog and other things I need help with, brings you the taste of France with this great Holiday Gift Guide: Bringing France to You and Others, offering up great addresses in France that’ll send you everything (even internationally) from loaves of iconic pain Poîlane (above), to Bernachon chocolates and vintage French glassware. We hope you have Joyeuses fêtes (Happy Holidays) wherever you are!