Postcards from Europe, #14

Mademoiselle went to Paris for 3 consecutive weekends in November: the 6th-8th, the 13th-15th, and the 20th-22nd. This carte postale is from her 1st trip, when she stayed with family friends.

Their daughter Petronille stayed with us as a teenage summer exchange student for 3 weeks one year, and Mademoiselle stayed with them on the same program a year later. That was Mademoiselle’s very first trip to Paris (they live in a suburb, Montrouge), and it was before she had taken any French classes! But ever since, we have always credited Mademoiselle’s fabulous French accent to Petronille and her family.

Merci beaucoup!


I visited Petronille and her famille this weekend and it was charmant! We walked around the 6th arrondissement, went shopping, went to the Monet museum, and got sushi for dinner in Montparnasse with her friends! It was so cool to see them all and be able to speak French with them. Plus I forgot how good their cooking was! Both lunches were the most French things I’ve ever done!



In case this arrives very late, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Love you all and miss you! CONGRATS JACK!!! YOU ROCK! *


*Mademoiselle’s brother Jack (whose journey with cancer is told in ALL THE ABOVE) had just been offered and had accepted a job in NYC, to start next year!

What would Julia do? Faire la cuisine française

Anyone can cook, with butter.

– Anonymous

My husband and I heard that offhand comment a few years ago at a fête — and a new (ironic) family motto was born.

Because, not anyone (such as, well, me) can cook, even with butter — an ingredient that my husband doesn’t fear.* En fait, because he enjoys faire la cuisine (and since I don’t know how), he does the cooking in our home, toujours — every day — an arrangement that works for us, and one that’s never changed. 

(If he doesn’t feel like cooking, we order a pizza, eat leftovers, or go out.)

As you might imagine, some of our his favorite recipes are found in cookbooks written by Julia Child.

If I were Julia Child

So, whenever he tries a new and complicated recipe (which is often) — if it calls for butter (which is quite often) — someone in our family might remark to him that, well, “anyone” can cook with it.

Then, he laughs…and concocts something délicieux. 

I blame my inability to cook on my family growing up: my father did the cooking, so I thought that was normal. Evidemment, it was one of the qualities I looked for in a husband. That, and a sense of humor, patience, and optimism, among others.

But from what I’ve observed, cooking almost requires those three — at a minimum.

In my soon-to-be-available novel, the main character, Jenny, is a girl in college, and in one of my favorite scenes, her date cooks dinner for the two of them at his apartment. I’m not saying whether butter is involved, but wine is — c’est certain. But c’est la France, so c’est necessaire. The evening is a memorable one, but not because of the food. I won’t describe it further here, except in these words: guitar, bathroom, and (full) disclosure.

Jenny has her own list of qualities that the ideal man should possess, and I’m not sure they match my own. Let’s just say, she’s open to persuasion.

I don’t know what Julia would do. But – what will Jenny do? Il faut acheter le roman! (You have to buy the book!)



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