February 2017 Newsletter My friend Ann recently told me that I was her hygge, a Danish term (like terroir or umami) that doesn't quite have a counter

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February 2017 Newsletter

Persimmon margarita recipe

My friend Ann recently told me that I was her hygge, a Danish term (like terroir or umami) that doesn't quite have a counterpart in English. It's about keeping a pleasant state of well-being, especially a challenge during the bleak Scandinavian winters when there are just a few hours of daylight each day.

Part of hygge involves lighting candles, sitting by the fire, snuggling in comfy clothes, surrounding yourself with things like mulled wine and casseroles, and indulging in some calm. And if you haven't done it in awhile - yup, I'm guilty, too! - curling up on the sofa with a blanket, and a good read.

(I just finished Everything I Never Told You, an outstanding book, and am diving into the 814-page A Little Life.)

Unfortunately I haven't seen any specific references to eating French cheese and bread to pack in more hygge, but I'm making them a part of mine. And chocolate, too. We can't be "On" all the time and my social media streams bring forth a deluge of startling news on a daily basis. Needless to say, my bread and cheese (and chocolate, and wine) budget have gone through the roof.

Mushroom Bacon Farro Risotto-6

They say you never feel more American than when you leave America, since you get an outside perspective of the States that you don't get when you are there. You're seeing the place through a different lens. Ditto when people think of France. A reader was recently startled when I mentioned that France was facing a very contentious time as well, and she said, "We don't get that information in the U.S." (I sent her some links to articles from France24, which does a good job of reporting French news in English.)

I recommend, no matter what your political leanings are - right, left, or center, that you read and subscribe to at least one newspaper or publication to support them. Choose one that practices good journalism and verifies their sources. We're all free to read and curate Facebook and Twitter, scrolling through the opinions of others, but it's good to be informed about the reasonable, well-thought out points of view of others. Even so, it can be overwhelming, but I found this article quite good at how to cope with everything that's going on around us.

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One thing I've learned is to do your best, as best as you can. I'm happy to continue to provide some hygge, as encouraged by my friend Ann. I'm also trying to spend more time with friends, enjoying the experience of going to the outdoor market and chatting with vendors, meeting friends for lunch, hitting a new bakery in Paris, and sharing recipes.

Speaking of cooking, I was given a multi cooker and it's still in its box. (Where it's been for over a year!) I'm trying to figure out if - and how - I'm going to use it. I've always been one of those people that doesn't mind using things like microwave ovens and hot air French fry cookers, but not sure I can put everything in a machine, hit the ON button, and walk away until dinner is served. But we'll see.

I'm going to ask people on my Facebook page their favorite uses for theirs, and continue working on a beer tart for my site, which combines butter, brown sugar, and beer - a triple-dose of homemade hygge!

- David


Links I'm Liking

Although I've never seen any restaurants in France offering free drink refills (...but wouldn't that be nice if it applied to wine?), they've been banned. (The Telegraph)

The folks who run our national parks services started their own alternative National Park Service Twitter feed. Ditto with NASA, whose Instagram stream is one of my very favorites. Who knew science could be so interesting?

People got in a tizzy at this critique of the Bocuse d'Or French cooking competition. (Eater)

Need tips on how to hygge? (Amara)

Travel guru Rick Steves puts his money where his mouth is.

Need more money? Chinese recipes for the New Year that might help you get a raise, or a career change. Note: I didn't see one for more vacation time. (Steamy Kitchen)

Life "accordion to" Donald... (YouTube)

Irked by all those tooth-breaking unpopped kernels in the bottom of your popcorn bowl? How to make perfect popcorn really does work. (Simply Recipes)

Spending too much on coffee? They tested 13 supermarket coffees to find the best. (Extra Crispy)


Recent Posts & Recipes on My Blog

Mushroom Bacon Farro Risotto-3

I cooked up a big, generous pot of Farro with Mushrooms and Bacon. (Hmmm...maybe give that a try in my still-unopened multi cooker?)

When I turned over this Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake, even jaded me was wowed by how beautiful it looked.

I rediscovered a Paris classic, Moissonnier, a restaurant serving the type of French food that we all know and love.

Kugelhof also got revisited.

Pierre Jancou is part of the new wave of chefs in Paris. My video visit with him in his kitchen and wine bar made me hungry for more of the beautiful vegetables he prepared for me.

Nach Waxman's brisket of beef wowed even my French guests!

An Apple and Calvados Cake packed with the flavors of winter, with a welcoming shot of apple brandy.

My Paris Kitchen hi res
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