Vive le France!

“I need to eat more French food,” my wife, who has lived in both the Alps and Paris, announced the other day.

As it so happened, the day after she made this proclamation was Bastille Day. And always good for an occasion to build a theme meal around, I pulled out what is and will always be the best French cookbook of all — Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry.”

The master at work

The master at work

I don’t use cookbooks so much for recipes as for inspiration. I had picked up three plump soft shell crabs a few days before, and wanted to see if any of Keller’s preparations caught my eye. Sure enough, there was a Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab “Sandwich” — the quotation marks being Keller’s and indicating that the recipe was a playful riff on something you might be familiar with. More

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A Guerrilla in Skinny Girl Country

If you’re going to spend an afternoon with a guerrilla, what better occasion than Bastille Day — a holiday celebrating the storming of a symbol of monarchal oppression by the common man.

The “guerrilla” we would spend Bastille Day with would not be a camouflaged, gun-toting, beret-crowned rebel, but rather our family wine, Wine Guerrilla — and my mother’s long-time partner, Bruce, producer of the wine and himself often referred to as, “The Wine Guerrilla.” More

Storming the Bastille

We Americans like to appropriate other peoples’ holidays. I’m as guilty as anyone — on Cinco de Mayo we have friends over for fish tacos and margaritas; never does a St. Patty’s Day pass by without corned beef, cabbage and Guinness. And Chinese New Year always represents an opportunity for lacquered duck. But we the people haven’t seemed as taken, for some reason, with Bastille Day.

I was in Paris once for Bastille Day. I remember tanks on the Champs Elysees, jets flying low overhead, drunk Parisians everywhere, reveling. I’ve always been enamored of France, and Paris in particular. More