Man in the Kitchen: Savoring France from Afar

Man in the Kitchen: Savoring France from Afar

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savoring France
@Alexis Duclos for Inspirelle

Everyone remembers their first time. For me it all began at the movies. I fell in love with the young French threesome in Diane Kurys’ brilliant early film, COCKTAIL MOLOTOV, about a confused college woman and her two male pals running from their families and the establishment during the student riots of 1968. Kurys would later to go on to win an Oscar for ENTRE NOUS. I obsessed over her work, went on to become a filmmaker, and to this day listen to France Bleu radio over the Internet to transport myself whenever the French muse beckons.

What is it about Paris? Is there any other city that burrows itself so indelibly into the heart?

Paris cafe scene
© Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE. All rights reserved.

I suppose it was Hemingway who wrote the book on the romance of the ex-pat lifestyle for a certain creative type. Renowned painter David Hockney recently purchased a Normandy estate on a whim. Here he is chatting about it in the Wall Street Journal magazine:

“I’d like to just work and paint,” he says, lighting another cigarette. And to be able to smoke and eat in a restaurant at the same time,” he adds. Thank God for Normandy, then: “The French know how to live. They know about pleasure.”

Savoring France is a trend that, as an unrepentant Instagram fan, I’ve noted has evolved with the times. In my very small and humble feed @foodformarriage, I get to wake up, dine and finally bid the day adieu with a panoply of effusive writers, artists, oenophiles and photographers who provide a window to Paris on a daily and hourly basis. La belle vie without ever leaving your Manhattan desk. Who are some of my go-to’s?

© Rebekah Peppler, Rebeka Peppler website home page

In her Instagram bio, @rebekahpeppler identifies as a writer, stylist and eater based in Paris, NY and L.A. If that is not enough to make any American drool, her feed is a combination of glorious food shots, humble self-styled portraits, and vintage cocktail photography – all the more appropriate since her latest work is a book called Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way. We’ve never met and yet every time she posts, I wish we were best of friends.

Lindsey Tramuta, who runs @lostNcheeseland, embodies the spirit of the American writer who has decamped to Paris. A former Philadelphian, she authored The New Paris and her professional musings and recommendations can be found at the likes of the New York Times and CNN. And while we are thinking about cheese, how can you not envy @chezlouloufrance, who fills her feed with fabulous fromages and to date has sampled and listed 246 varieties on her eponymous website.

Cover of Lindsay Tramuta’s book “The New Paris”

Lest one thinks transplanting to Paris is as easy as getting your passport stamped, I find myself drawn to the tales of @saraglieberman, a seasoned journalist and former Long Island clam-monger who now calls herself “writer, editor, wanderer, overthinker and chief cockle popper.” When she is not writing about her travels for the Washington Post or Conde Nast Traveler, you might find her sharing a weekend cassis and crémant in Burgundy as you jealously eye your own feed from a bar on 7th Avenue.

Spend enough time on the ‘gram following these modern-day apostles and you start to think everyone but you lives in a vineyard or perhaps amidst a field of lavender. I suppose that is why we take the occasional Insta-detox. I’m all for putting down the phone. Yet somehow I am happy to forgive and forget when it comes to Insta-Paris. Things aren’t so sweet and gentle in America these days. My little Insta-stroll through the 15th, or virtual visit to Le Marais as I wolf down a Subway sandwich in my Chelsea cubicle is a lovely reminder that somewhere in Paris, people are still smiling. And slowing down just a smidge. And enjoying life the way we used to. Not perfect, perhaps. But reminiscent of something timeless that I’d rather not forget. I’m checking fares IRL before I get back to the daily grind.


Homemade Peach Cobbler. © Ken Carlton

Peach and Plum Galette Recipe

What better dish to welcome the fall! I have cooked all my life and yet never flirted with pastry, because it seemed so…precise. My cooking style tends to be more haphazard, bordering on tornado-esque. This recipe is borrowed and doctored from Bon Appetit. The measurements are accurate but I went bold on the lime juice and zest. My family was not displeased.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs/1 kg peaches and plums
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 package store-bought pie crust (contains two 9” crusts)
  • Parchment paper
© Ken Carlton

Method

–Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
–Remove pits from fruit and chop into ¾ in/2cm chunks and slices.
–In medium glass bowl, combine lime juice, sugar, corn starch, lime zest, salt and vanilla.
–Add chopped fruit and mix well with two hands.
–Place parchment paper on a large rimmed baking sheet.
–Lay one pie crust flat on parchment.
–Scoop your fruit mix into a neat pile in middle of crust.
–Fold over into the shape of a galette (this is easier than it sounds).
–Use extra dough to patch any holes that appear.
–Paint the outside crust-edge of your galette with heavy cream.
–Sprinkle sugar on the moist crust.
–Place in oven and lower heat to 375°F/190°C.
–Cook for 45-60 minutes, checking until it has a warm brown crust.
–Remove when fruit is bubbling and crust looks so good you can’t believe you made this!

Bon appetit!

Ken Carlton
Ken Carlton is founder and editor of Food for Marriage, a web magazine for parents who like to read, think and eat! He is the author or ghostwriter of eight books, including the award-winning memoir, THE HUNGER, the story behind Greenwich Village’s celebrity hotspot, The Waverly Inn. Ken wrote the "His Point of View" column for Cosmopolitan and appeared as a dating expert on OPRAH. His television credits include shows on ABC, CBS, HBO and PBS. A New Yorker and Parisian at heart, he has scripted conferences in Paris for CNN and Fortune magazine. Ken and his wife, a professor, split their time between Brooklyn, NY and Chicago.

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