Monday, April 11, 2011

Normandy, where poodles are ombré

-I spent the weekend at a chateau in Normandy, thanks to an invite from Rachel Hills. Whee! Made for a slight change from the dorm.

-Originality, please! The "Armchair Ethicist" is a fun idea, but the question of what to do if your coworker and friend suddenly drops dead and leaves behind correspondance that would be upsetting to their spouse, and you of course are knee-deep in that correspondance because it is for whatever reason your job to do this, has already been addressed.

-Now that my academic still-in-Paris goals are where they need to be (appt to meet a prof, books and books and microfiches galore reserved, etc.), I'm thinking of what I need to do otherwise prior to leaving. And by "otherwise" I mean cookbooks, in particular a good one for recreating a boulangerie at home, as well as measuring implements for metric so as not to have to constantly look this up when switching between cookbooks. Specific suggestions re: cookbooks/easy-to-transport and cheap French kitchen-improvers are most welcome.

8 comments:

eamonnmcdonagh said...

did you sleep well under the crucifix ;=??

Phoebe said...

When in Rome.

helen said...

Cookbooks: anything by David Lebovitz or Patricia Wells. But then again, since I'm not a francophone, I'm partial to those by the Americans living in France rather than those by the French themselves.

Phoebe said...

Helen,

Thanks for the suggestions. I've read Lebovitz's blog but have yet to look through his recipes. Wells I'll check out back in the States, but yes, my hope is to find some books where all the secrets of French cooking they don't want us to know are revealed, and to recreate croissants and pavés de rumsteck sauces, etc. Thus the need for metric implements.

Maria said...

Re cooking in metric - buy a 20 EUR digital scale at BHV or the like. It is essential, especially if you're interested in boulangerie/pâtisserie. And be sure to take along some pink packets of levure chimique, as I have never quite mastered the precise composition of the stuff, which is a combination of sodium bicarbonate and baking powder. Also you'll need a metric mesuring cup, preferably a large one up to 1L. You'll likely never want to go back to standard mesurements because metric is so logical and precise, one wonders why it never caught on in the US with all our Saxon habits.

Re the cookbook, may I recommend the Elle à Table books. I've got the Tartes et Cie. and Cakes, Etc. ones from this collection and have made most of the recipes therein. Really délicieux, and quite original too. Do think to take along those staples of pâtisserie not easily or cheaply found outre-Atlantique (eau de fleur d'oranger, gousse de vanille, eau de rose, poudre d'amandes, etc). For breadmaking, I recommend buying a bread machine with a French program (I've got the Kenwood BM350 which to my knowledge is also available back home). The final product is really close to une miche / pain de campagne. There are many books here in France with recipes for making bread by machine; I've only ever used the book that came with my machine ("Pains du Monde") and it has served me well. Breadmaking like this is really much more economical than going to the boulangerie and it takes very little time compared to making it by hand.

Phoebe said...

Maria,

Thanks! Your comment will be my shopping list for BHV/Gilbert Joseph.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos, esp. the poodles. JM

Phoebe said...

JM,

Expect more poodle pics soon! There are lots more in Paris as well...