November 20, 2012
This summer, I was rudely awakened by a girl on the Paris Metro wearing American flag knee-highs and a stars & stripes bandana. My stomach turned; I knew something was terribly wrong. I had completely forgotten it was the 4th of July.
When the leaves start to fall in Paris, my heart turns to the U.S.. Although Pere Noel is already camping out on the shelves of the supermarche, this time of year always makes me miss the States a little bit more. After completely forgetting our most patriotic of American holidays, I promised myself to make a concerted effort to maintain my own personal traditions despite the preoccupations of my new life in France. Thanksgiving appeared as the perfect cultural bridge between my two homes.
I have been itching to push all of our tables together and host a Thanksgiving dinner of my own. Although a party of two is just fine for Christmas, Thanksgiving requires a big bird and a full house. Rattling off my guest list to my French husband, I realized that after several years of long-distance dating, we have never spent a real Thanksgiving together. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 6 Comments »
November 7, 2012
As an aspiring food writer and someone who puts peanut butter on everything, I often question my relevance in a country of haute gastronomie. But much like Tiffany Iung, I eventually found my niche, retelling traditional culinary tales as an outsider looking in.
Tiffany, the brains and bicycle behind Tifamade, Paris’ best sandwich vendor on two wheels, has been sharing her inspired sandwiches with Parisians since 2010. She can be spotted catering events throughout the city and peddling her handmade sandwiches from a vintage suitcase strapped to the back of Pink Lady, her pink bicycle. Using seasonal ingredients sourced from farmers markets and eco packaging, Tiffany has given the ubiquitous jambon beurre some fierce competition. But what is it about the humble sandwich that has Tiffany so impassioned? “A sandwich is not fussy. You hold it with your hands, and all of the flavors are experienced at once, so there isn’t too much thought about it. It’s just meant to taste good, and I think it gets the job done.” That’s good enough for us!
Not only do Tiffany’s 2-wheeled adventures inspire her sandwich creations, they led to the initial business idea too. “I was living in the banlieue, the Parisian suburbs, at the time and was riding my bike along the canal everyday into the city center. Continue Reading »
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October 31, 2012
Since an early age, my mother tortured me by resisting my pleas for pre-packaged princess costumes in favor of handmade couture confections. Much of growing older is recognizing the tremendous sacrifices my parents have made to help me realize my dreams. One year in particular, no effort was spared to transform me into Catwoman for a few short hours. My mom locked herself away for the evening, applying decorative puffy paint stitches to my impeccable Catwoman costume until she sent me off to school the next morning, exhausted but not forgetting my parcel of orange Rice Krispie treats. Hereditarily, I have adopted the same do-or-die approach to the holidays. The festivities cannot begin without at least one all-nighter, a tearful breakdown, and a nail-biting countdown. Luckily, in France, holidays lack the high stakes of their commercial counterparts stateside. I can finally take a deep breath. But despite the tedious door codes which prohibit competitive trick-or-treating, Halloween is slowly infiltrating French culture…
France has not remained completely immune to the Hallmark holidays that result in a front-yard inflatable for every month of the year Stateside. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »
October 15, 2012
Chef Kristin Frederick’s Le Camion Qui Fume was first in line in the recent food truck brigade to hit Paris. And Paris has not had enough. 2-hour waits, sold out services and tv spots, she has blown up into a local food celebrity. So what is next for Paris’ most in-demand Californienne? Frederick’s new cookbook ‘Les Burgers du Camion Qui fume’ is taking her authentic American burgers from the streets into the comfort of home, minus the two-hour wait.
Le Camion Qui Fume has been a tremendous success since it dished up its first burger this time last year. It has turned the Capital of Gastronomy upside down by questioning the approachability of good food in a culture still dependent on a fork and knife. Kristin is still surprised by the enormous — and instant — success of her little-Camion-that-could, “It has never ceased to amaze me. People not only come out, but come back again and again. In the summer, in the winter, in the rain. In all seasons.” Before Le Camion Qui Fume, burgers in France were an afterthought, limited to Big Macs and regrettable 18 € bistro burgers. “For me, a burger is a blank palette with a lot of possibilities“, Kristin told me. Continue Reading »
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October 1, 2012
When I was reluctantly packing my bags for Paris, I was worried my suitcase of vintage dresses would not cut it. Having obsessed over Paris’ notoriously chic female species since I picked up my first fashion glossy, how would my frumpy Midwestern duds ever stand up to the Capital of haute couture? My anti-fashion upbringing has left me with an inherent interest in clothing. Growing up on peanuts, I was begrudgingly outfitted in my older brother’s hand-me-down superhero t-shirts. Or better yet, my mother dragged us along to the thrift store long before it made its comeback. But as I thumbed through the rows of color-coordinated sartorial rejects, all I really wanted was to dress in Limited Too and Gap Kids like everyone else at school. And have blond hair and finally learn how to do a cartwheel. But as I grew up, I started studying fashion magazines. A quarter vintage, a quarter suburban fashion mall, and a half my own scary sewing projects, I curated a very colorful look of my own. Long before I picked up a paintbrush, fashion was my daily dose of self-expression.
When I got off the plane at Charles de Gaulle, I was boldly armed in my favorite ruffled, red Chiquita banana dress. And I quickly learned what I had become: a big, fat foreigner. I crossed some impeccably chic French women on the street with their ritualistic blowouts, invisible makeup, and enviable silhouettes. Continue Reading »
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September 19, 2012
I am a real foodie now. I have committed to buying locally and seasonally. So long sweet pineapples; see you sporadically. Most expats have their sentimental reasons that keep them in France. A perfect café crème, a favorite terrace, or unpasteurized cheese can easily outweigh all the persistence, courage, and patience it takes to build a life in Paris. Continue Reading »
Posted in HiP Recipes, Parisian Living | 10 Comments »
September 7, 2012
Collective grumbles and groans fill the Metro and all public places. Reacquainted with their suits and heels, there are no smiles behind those suntans. Kids arm themselves with freshly sharpened pencils and tall tales of les vacances. Vive la rentrée! Since Paris clears out in July and August, losing its habitants to warmer climates, the first week of September kicks off back to school and back to the grind. Knits, boots, and frowns automatically replace the brief bare-leg season in anticipation of Paris’ notorious grey months ahead. But before booking a one-way ticket back to the Côte d’Azur, rest assured : Paris comes out of hibernation and is reborn this time of year. And uncovering the joys of Paris in September can ease the pain of la rentrée.
Picnicking: Since summer hit Paris bizarrely late this year, I am optimistic that a few weeks of picnicking can be milked out of September. And the best part about a picnic in September? Since everyone is back in town, FRIENDS! Whether perched high on a hill overlooking Paris at the parc Buttes Chaumont or in a clearing deep in the woods at the Bois de Vincennes, the adventure begins with the guest list and the contents of the picnic basket.
Reuniting: September is also a time of rediscovery. Going back to my neighborhood green market and getting reacquainted with my favorite vendors is a pleasant reunion. And there is so much to catch up on: the weather, the cheese monger’s vacation in Corsica, the economics of figs, and finding inspiration in the lineup of fall produce.
Bread: Similarly, the boulangeries have reopened their doors! The doughy Monoprix supermarket imposter baguettes that subsidized our tomato salads this summer (affectionately dubbed crétin bread by my picky French other half) can be banished until next August. Instead of the summertime half-hour search for a baguette, now I all I need to do is choose from one of the three bakeries on my block. Continue Reading »
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