Archive for February, 2011

French cuisine good and bad

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

     Debates continue about the state of French cuisine, in France at least. Some critics say the best chefs have left the counry for America and other ports. In my humble palate opinion, there are way too many tourist traps. However, I ran into the same experience in Florida where tourists seached for fresh seafood, and in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia where fast food and chains replaced white tablecloth good food establishments-Paula Deen and Mrs. Wilkes notwithstanding!

     So what’s a foodie to do in France. If you have an apartment with a kitchen, shop the markets and put the meal together yourself with fresh fish, seasonal vegetables, ripe fruit, and some gifts from the food gods- citron mayonaisse, almond croissants, fresh brioche bread, salted buter, salted caramel ice cream.

    Go out for crepes to the Montparnasse quartier or the 15th arrondissement, to Angelina’s for  hot white chocolate, to the 13th- Lao-for the best Asian food around.

   Keep it simple, avoid tourist corners, enjoy the sights-food for the senses. As for me, I will enjoy a glass of red wine at a corner stand-up bar later today.

     So what

Sweet and sad life in Paris

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day! A French chocolate maker told me this past week the French still don’t get Valentine’s Day- I guess that’s because they live it every day. Visit my friend Adrian Leed’s site, for her love-ly Paris column today.

Saturday we attended the American Women’s Group gala at the Marriot Rive Gauche- a  festive  evening with dinner, a wine auction, a silent auction and dancing. We brought home a lipstick red Eiffel Tower lamp.

More French differences for you to ponder:

Scarves around the neck are not for elegant fashion-the French believe the neck is the gateway to the body and thus must be protected.

These tibits to keep you out of trouble at the table française from my friend and author Shari Leslie Segall:

Do not order coffee with lunch or dinner-“this will cause an international incident.” Order it with or as dessert, though the waiter may insist on serving it after dessert as has been my experience-Pam. Did you know dessert comes from the word desservir- to clear the table.

This one from Shari I did not know- Jim and break this rule frequently. Shari says “Don’t pickat the basket of bread until the meal comes. It’s mal vu.

Sad news- We join with Jim Bitterman of CNN and his friends across Paris, the USA and the world in sadness at the sudden loss of his wife, Emmy-award winning producer Patricia Thompson here in Paris. Pat died at the age of 62 in December following a cerebral hemorrhage.  I met her twice last year and we laughed over our beginning days in television, mine as the Romper Room doobie in the 1970s at WFLA TV in Tampa, and hers in the newsroom at WMAQ in Chicago. There are some wonderful tributes to Pat on the Web. Jim is an incredible man and journalist and so was she . Who can forget Jim telling the world so many years ago that Diana was dead in Paris. He told us last year that he stayed on the air for many hours over those days. He and Pat were having a CNN labor day weekend party at their home when a tourist called CNN alerting that “something was going on at the Ritz.” Our best thoughts to Jim.

To end on a Happy Note, we celebrated 29 years of marriage on February 6, and still marvel that WE LIVE IN PARIS!!


Some differences here

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Some words and meanings differ between France and the USA.

For instance douche means an all-over bath, not the intimate cleansing definition in the US.

To be invited for a cocktail means the time of day- usually 6 ish and wine or water is usually served, seldom a mixed drink unless some yanks are throwing the party.

A cafe following a meal usually means a petite espresso or a noisette- a nut of milk in the espresso. And lot’s of luck getting your coffee with your dessert- the French usually serve the coffee following the sweet, even if you are paying the tab.

The bathroom is where you take a bath here- the toilette is where you know, and many toilettes are unisex.

HAVE A GOOD DAY, Pam in Paris