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August 2019 Newsletter

In last month's newsletter I mentioned Paris was having the hottest temperatures on record, but by the end of July, those records were shattered when it hit 108ºF (42ºC) in the city, and man...was it hot. While people elsewhere, particularly in the U.S., chimed in that it was hot where they lived, most have air-conditioning or use fans, both of which aren't used in France much. Fans have become a little more popular, but people generally don't like breezes or les courants l'air (drafts) when inside, even when it's 108ºF/42ºC out, attributing them to being the cause of a variety of maladies.

Air-conditioning is less-popular and while I'm not a big fan (no pun intended) of over-air-conditioned spaces, quite a few didn't make it through the last major heatwave in 2003, so they've been more vigilant about telling people to stay hydrated, to find places to cool down (although there are only so many hours you can spend in Monoprix supermarket), and to check on elderly people.

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We kept hydrated with lots of tomatoes - I'm pretty sure the amount I bought supported the farm stand for the month of July. The overload of tomatoes found their way into tomato salads, panzanella, and gazpacho. (I used my gazpacho recipe, in My Paris Kitchen.) Also, there were Spritzs, as well (above), with ice from my heavenly ice machine, a surprise I discovered when my refrigerator was delivered while renovating and I pulled out the freezer drawer and saw an unfamiliar, but now welcome, sight: an ice maker.

Another popular cool-down was Tzatziki, made with fresh cucumbers and herbs, showed up for a cooling dinner during the blast of heat. Like panzanella, it's something you can make in a big batch and keep in the refrigerator.

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In July, I took a trip to Normandy to watch butter and cheese being made at Isigny Sainte-Mère, near the D-Day beaches, which were moving to visit. I watched local milk being gently warmed, curdled, poured, stirred, and drained, until it formed the famous Camembert de Normande, Pont l'Évêque and Mimolette cheese of France. And there was butter, yes - glorious French butter. We cooled down with ice cream made from the famous crème d'Isigny, but we met our match as the ice cream was so rich it was hard to get through a cone of it. Although I did my best. I also brought home a handful of the outstanding caramels d'Isigny, made with that luxurious cream and butter. I hope to get those stories up on my blog shortly.

August means vacation and I'll be taking some time away to rest, restore and reinvigorate. I hope to be hopping in some oceans and swimming pools along the way. Romain has instructions not to stop at any vide greniers or brocantes (bric-a-brac sales or flea markets) since I've got plenty of, well...everything around here. But I guess it never hurts to look ; ) so we'll probably make a few stops along the way...

Enjoy the rest of the summer and see you next month!

- David


First Call for Last Call

I'm excited to announce I'll be at the Strand bookstore in New York City on October 30th, in a Q & A with Brad Thomas Parsons, author of Bitters, Amaro, and his newest book, Last Call, featuring rituals and recipes from his favorite bartenders across America.

Space is limited so I'm announcing this a little early in case you want to get a jump on coming. This is a ticketed event and you can attend either with the purchase of a book or gift certificate. For more information, and/or to sign up, head over to the Strand website event page pronto.

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Recent Recipes and Posts on My Blog

I will never complain about having too many berries, and was especially happy to use them in these Mixed Berry Shortcakes.

My friend Anne at Prêt à Voyager shared her insider tips for planning a great food trip to Paris.

Some favorite weekend reads and links, and more weekend reads (and recipes.)

Panzanella; the classic Italian salad with bread, tomatoes and basil. The ideal do-ahead summer salad.

A visit to an audacious new Paris bakery, The French Bastards.

Is it too early for a drink? No one asked me, but you might want to wait until happy hour for one of these fairly potent Breakfast Martinis.

Cool down with these tasty Nectarine-Berry Popsicles, which I made in my vintage French popsicle molds. (Proof that scouring all those flea markets over the years does, indeed, have its rewards, other that filling up my kitchen cabinets.)


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