Best of May

Meet them at the door laughing

• The manuscript for my upcoming cookbook Tasting Paris is fully edited, and the photos have all been shot by the amazing Nicole Franzen. We are now working on the layout of the book, and I will soon get the manuscript back from the copy editor whose job it is to make sure everything is straightened out. I am loving how it is taking shape, and I look forward to giving you a sneak peek soon. The book will be published in the US in the spring of 2018.

• I have been leading quite a few private walking tours this month — May is deservedly a popular month to visit Paris! I’ve had guests of all ages, children, students, chefs, teens, passionate cooks, cheese fiends, chocoholics, writers, dreamers, all of them Paris lovers. I get such a thrill out of showing them around, being their best Parisian friend, and sharing everything I know about French food culture, and how to make the most of every meal in the city. If you’re planning a trip of your own, please get in touch and we’ll discuss the possibilities.

Steak au poivre at Champeaux; Australienne at Comptoirs Poilâne.

• I returned to Champeaux for a wonderful dinner with friends from out of town. I love the space, under the new canopy of Les Halles, and the menu of renovated French classics, such as the steak au poivre above, which figures in my Tasting Paris book! I also have a version of their lemon spatchcocked chicken in there. Both have been hits with my recipe testers and I’m excited to share them with you when the book comes out.

• The Poilâne team has rebranded the Paris lunch counters from Cuisine de Bar to Comptoirs Poilâne and updated the menu to feature innovative recipes around their high-quality flours and grains, such as a delicious corn bread and a barley muesli. Don’t worry, the tartines are not going anywhere, and naturally I love their avo toast, dubbed l’Australienne.

Breakfast with a good book.

Breakfast with a fine book and my mostest beloved mug.

• My friend Catherine Taret released her first book called Il n’est jamais trop tard pour éclore (never too late to bloom) about late bloomers. It’s a wonderful, inspiring account of her journey, with collages and photos and doodles. It will soon be published in English, but if you read French, I recommend it.

• As part of my monthly museum challenge, I visited not one, but two exhibitions in May: Le Pouvoir des fleurs at the Musée de la vie romantique, and Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting at the Louvre. The former served as a wonderful complement to the Jardins exhibition I told you about last month ; the latter was turned into a fascinating game of riddles by the wonderful Catherine Rosane, whose guided tours I love.

Flore and the Milk Maid

Flora caressed by Zephyr by François Gérard ; My humble Milkmaid, sketched at the Louvre.

• My poem of the month was a gift from a reader named Carl, who sent me a link to Rumi’s poem The Guesthouse, translated by the American poet Coleman Barks. It is marvellous, I love everything about it, and it echoes much of what I’ve been sharing on my new podcast (in French), Change ma vie.

• In my recent study and memorization of poems, I’ve been interested to take note of the lines that jump up at me. In each poem, there’s typically one that makes my heart swell as I read it, one that strikes a particular chord. I like to use these in my hand-lettering practice, as I have above. (If you want to get into hand-lettering yourself, I recommend Teela’s Bounce Lettering and Fantastic Flourishes courses.)

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