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Posts tagged ‘Julia Child’

No. 361: Roo de Loo



Rue de l’Université has been my home for two years now, and I am going to miss it something fierce.


I will miss the tropical jungle, trendy café and the canned bird sounds that make up the gardens of the Musée Branly across the street. I’ll miss the twinkling reflection of the Eiffel Tower in the museum windows late at night. I will miss the cozy salon de thé down the way, the short cut to the Seine, and the easy access to les berges. I will miss my Vélib stands and le marché d’à côté with their friendly vendeurs who now smile and wave. I’ll miss the gay gardien a few doors down who looks like Mr. Clean and still eyes Taz suspiciously. And I will miss the lost tourists who shyly ask if I know if they are headed in the right direction, realize they are, and then light up with delight when they see the tip of the tower.

I feel like I know every single cobble stone on the final stretch of this street. All the flowers, doors, balconies and pee stained buildings are familiar and comfortable and feel like home.

It didn’t hit me until just a few moments ago that I am really leaving this place that I love so much. My kitchen table with my sparkling view, my winding staircase, and creaky front door, I will miss them all.


Sigh. I am sad. So I am going to sit with that sadness for a while and find a silver lining in the morning.


No. 185-194: Ten Quick Things I Love About France

I’m behind on my posts because I actually started my blog on September 23 instead of September 1. Oh, to know me, is to know I’m almost always running late. It’s my fatal flaw. Occasionally I get super stressed that I won’t be able to make my goal of finishing the 365-things-I-love-about-France by August 31, so I have to sneak in these bundle-post occasionally to make up for lost time. Je vous prie d’accepter mes excuses.

Donc, here are Ten Quick Things I Love About France…I can’t quite fill a single post with each one, but I love them nonetheless.

1. Salted Butter. Fresh creamy butter + salt crystals. Nothing more need be said.

2. International Hotel Chain Bathrooms. So clean and consistent, like a touch of home, plus they might even have a bidet. You never have to double foot it Turkish/French style. The trick is pretending you’re a guest. Ritz_bathroom_public.jpg

3. Straw Baskets for the Marché. They are simply charming.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child with her pannier typique.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child with her typique pannier.

4. Dodging French Families at the Bois de Boulogne (the large public park located on the edge of the 16e in Paris). Because if you are dodging them, three things are happening: it’s Sunday, the weather is good, and you’re on your bike.Bois_Paris.jpg

5. Aux Merveilleux de Fred Meringue Balls. “Heaven popped on a plate,” as Button would say.meringue_balls_paris_jpg

6. Adorable Children’s Clothing. I’ll have to stay in France until my (yet-to-be-born) grandchildren are grown.kids_clothing_paris.jpg

7. The Brits. As of 2012, there were 150,000 registered British Nationals living in France. Although they seem to prefer Spain—nearly 400,000 British subjects live there–I’m glad some have chosen to live here.churchhill_paris.jpg

8. Well-maintained Motorways. The tolls may be crazy expensive, but you get what you pay for, a smooth ride.AutorouteA71_france

9. Religieuses. Anything that looks this pretty and is deliciously edible is at the top of my pastry list.Religieuse1

10. Merde. It almost sounds pretty, or at least gentile in French. Most things do (sound better) with that alluring French accent.




Je vous prie d’accepter mes excuses: Please accept my apologizes.

No. 66-67: Croque Monsieur et Croque Madame


During November, I became slightly addicted to a bit of French comfort food, the Croque Monsieur.

It wasn’t great for my waistline, but it certainly helped me get through my daily intensive French class. I justified eating a couple a week (okay, sometimes four), by telling myself that I needed to speak French with the real French, in the real world (e.g. my boulanger), on the way home from my course. You know, to reinforce the daily lessons.

When made right, this creamy and delicious French sandwich is the answer to a really good and buttery greasy-spoon-American-diner grilled cheese sandwich, with the brilliant addition of béchamel sauce.”

Yes, you heard me right, béchamel sauce.

Julia Child may have said, “if you are afraid of butter, use cream”, but I would say, “if you are afraid of anything (par exemple, un cours de français), add béchamel sauce.

The story surrounding the Croque Monsieur (literally, crunchy/crispy mister) is that a couple of French laborers “invented” it when they accidently left their lunch pails filled with ham and Gruyère sandwiches by a hot radiator in the morning, and by lunchtime found themselves enjoying warm and gooey grilled sandwiches. Who knows if this is true, but by the early 1900s, the Croque Monsieur was a standard on every French café menu, and the rest, as they say is history.

So, what is a Croque Madame? It is a Croque Monsieur with an egg on top, because the ladies, of course, can always do better than the gents.

And, just incase neither the Croque Monsieur nor Croque Madame is decadent enough for you, you could always try the croissant au jambon (with béchamel sauce, bien sûr).

Still need a little bit more? Here are some delectable variations on the original:

  • Croque Auvergnat: substitute blue cheese for Gruyère cheese
  • Croque Campagnard: substitute hardier bread, country ham, and add a mix of three cheese: Comté, cheddar and Parmesan
  • Croque Norvégien: substitute smoked salmon for the ham
  • Croque Provençal: add tomatoes
  • Croque Savoyard/Croque Tartiflette: substitute Reblochon cheese for the Gruyère cheese and add thinly sliced fried potatoes.

If you don’t have a French café nearby, try this recipe from at home:

Croque Monsieur  (Serves 4)    


8 slices sandwich bread

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

8 thin slices of Ham

176g/6oz Gruyère cheese, grated

2 tbsp Butter, softened

120ml/4fl.oz. COLD Bechamel sauce


  1. Preheat the grill to hot.  Spread 4 slices of bread with the mustard then top each with a slice of ham
  2. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cheese and divide the remaining cheese between the ham topped slices of bread, sprinkling it evenly over the ham.
  3. Place the 4 remaining sliced of ham on the cheese and top with the remaining 4 slices of bread to make a sandwich.
  4. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet, butter the top slices with the butter then grill for 4- 5 minutes until well browned and crisp.
  5. Turn them over, and grill for a further 3-4 minutes until well toasted.
  6. Remove from the grill, turn them over again then spread the top of each with the cold béchamel sauce, sprinkle with the reserved cheese, place back under the very hot grill and cook until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.


boulanger: baker

croissant au jambon: croissant with ham

par exemple, un cours de français: for example, a French course

No. 6: Crème fraîche

photo: vermont creamery

Excuse me while I take a moment to pop the top button on my skinning jeans and ask, “What is not to love about crème fraîche?” Bien sûr, it holds a place on the 365-things-I-love-about-France list. And who’d of thunk that before I landed in Paris, I’d never even heard of it.

According to people in the know, all you need is one willing dairy cow, a set of nimble milking hands, a simple means to separate the milk from the cream, and a little time to let the natural lactic bacteria take over, et voilà, before you know it: crème fraîche; the most delicious and divine “sour cream” you can imagine, albeit with a MUCH higher fat content. I shudder to associate American sour cream with French crème fraîche, there really is no comparison, especially when you buy it from the lively M. Laitier at le Marché Saxe in the seventh arrondissement in Paris.

In regards to French cooking, Julia Childs certainly had it right when she said, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” And boy do the Frenchies know how to use cream. Each time I take a French cooking class, at least one, if not all five recipes call for a minimum of one generous tablespoon. Crème fraîche is used in sauces, dressing, pastry, custards, and soups; with, poultry, beef, pork, fish, chocolate, tartes and crêpes. Of course it is exquisite with fresh fruit; or if you are like me, you could always eat it straight from the pot. Its unique sweet and slightly tangy flavor and creamy texture is, as Button would say, “Like heaven popped on a plate!”

Blanquette de Veau

Blanquette de Veau

Velouté d’Oseille

Velouté d’Oseille

Poule-au-Pot Sauce Suprême

Poule-au-Pot Sauce Suprême

Can’t find it in your favorite grocery store back home, try this do-it-yourself recipe from Emeril Lagasse.


bien sûr – of course

crème fraîche –  fresh cream

le laitier – milkman, dairy farmer