"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fruits de Paris

The Antiques and Ham Fair in Paris had these beautiful candied and dried fruits just sitting out in baskets. Didn't try them but they looked wonderful. I came upon these meringues while window shopping in St. Germain des Pres. I cannot get meringues like these anywhere I know of, but I've always wanted to try a Pavlova. A new trend in restaurants is to 'deconstruct' food, (originally called playing with your food?). Methinks an Eton Mess is just a deconstructed Pavlova. I think I would rather have the Pavlova for the aesthetics with a sprinkling of these various fruits to gild the lily.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Parisian Poulet

Grilling out for the holidays? Mmmmm! Chicken. Don't know about you, but I think I would pass on fowl if this is what I had to choose from at the market. There were feathers, legs, faces and feet, not to mention the head, like it was sleeping with its comb still on. Small birds, ducks and geese and rabbit too. Everything was not wrapped in plastic like our pre-packaged meats from the store. Some birds wore stamps or decals of some kind; my guess is it was to tell you where they came from. I am sure they were more flavorful than what we get at Wal Mart, but I just can't do the whole animal thing. I've never eaten one of my chickens (nor bunnies, turkeys or animals, oh my). They have names and as it is, I can barely choke down one of the eggs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Over Paris

Here's the zeppelin we parachuted out of somewhere over Paris. Okay, just kidding...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Les Deux Magots

Croque Monsieur?

Open faced sandwich?

Fois Grahahaas with shaved jambone?

Dessert? But of course!

In Paris, we stayed in the 6th arrondisement, St. Germain-des-Pres. There, we drank and dined with ghosts of the great writers, surrealists, existentialists and artists of the time. Les Deux Magots opened in 1813 and was named after a popular play of the day, The Two Magots of China. Not only was LDM the headquarters of the surrealist and existentialist movements, Max Ernst and Picasso and other greats painted and talked and wrote etc. John Paul Satre, along with Simone de Beauvoir, took their tea there each morning and he would write for hours. Hemingway was another regular. The two large Magots still grace the cafe walls. ( And, it is after 1:30 am and a bird is out my back door singing a plaintiff song and my peacock is honking his head off out somewhere in the night. Go figure.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Louvre Visit

Went to the Louvre. Breathtaking art. Happened upon this large, gorgeous canvas. What was the lady doing to the doves? Pulling them apart or instigating copulation? ??? Adjusted my glasses and saw the wooden plaque, Venus, from the 1500's. Frames are art at the Louvre. Unbelievable works. While we did see lots of paintings, this time I got to see more sculpture. I will share more of it later.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Parisian Street Fair

I love monkeys and this big one wanted to come home with me. I couldn't afford him anyway and feared I'd have to buy him an extra seat.

We happened along a sidestreet full of tents with antiques and decided to stop and shop. Loved all these old toys. The prices were only slightly better than the Ham Fair, but great stuff.

I loved these wooden painted animals and made home with a few of them. At 7 euros apiece, they seemed like a deal considering almost every other thing we had seen in Paris.

I love old molds but have many so I passed these up.

And what , pray tell, was this old sign lying in the street outside of the tent? "Is it for sale," I ask. I love old signs and she said, "Oui, 70euros." Oh but of course I had to have it. Pretty heavy and big but I was absolutely sure it would fit in my luggage.

My new find, my sign with the trefoil corners, was going to fit perfectly - until the night before I left Paris. I had brought two large hard sided suitcases. But, the sign wouldn't fit. I was about to go looking for a sledge hammer, but I finally got the 4 corners wedged/bent upwards. The security people left a note in my bag that they had checked it out. Nevertheless, it hangs in my kitchen and I am very happy with my Paris cafe sign.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Antiques and Ham Fair in Paris

What do you imagine this could be?

Well, it was the largest brioche in the world, I think. At least 2 and a half feet across and 6 inches high, they pulled off chunks of it and sold it by weight.

The toys were great at this fair; very old and unique. The prices were also great - as in very high.

I loved the Guignol puppet stage and the little metal table.

Old wall coverings.

Great chair.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Paris Antique and Ham Fair Pics

Just a few more random photos from the antique show. By the time I started shopping, I forgot about all the things I was going to look for while I was there. So, just pics of my ogling everything.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Paris Ritz Cooking Class

One reason we went to the Paris Ritz Hotel was to attend a cooking class. It was fun to see the otherwise unseen parts of the hotel. Though the dish was uninspired - stir fry - it was tasty. I guess they didn't know what level of cooks we were and I had hoped to make bread or a dessert of some kind.

Chef began with how to use the utensils. She spoke mostly in English.

Going over the ingredients.

My sister and the assistant chef listening to Chef's instructions.

After the preparation, we lunched in the kitchen library where all of the cookbooks lined the walled shelves behind lock and key. It was fun and though not very challenging, I did learn one thing. If you cry over onions (I am literally blinded when preparing them) slide the knife forward in a slicing fashion. Don't chop or push down on the onion. Another little tidbit.... There is a law in France forbidding the use of corn meal in bread. Who knew?