Of vines and designs. What do you see in these vines? Dancers? Waves? Share your vision, here in the comments box.

le pif (peef) noun, masculine

    : nose (slang), schnozzle

au pif = at a rough guess, at random
cuisiner au pif
= cooking by guesswork

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Being snowed in for the weekend brought out the pioneer-survivalist inside of my family and me, along with a snowy sprinkling of creativity.

What with the roads around our farm frozen full of snow...  my family and I got to thinking: did we have enough food in our frigo?

A quick inventaire revealed two pints of milk, four eggs, and a funny looking root... shriveled and tough as an old French boot!

So as not to be stuck with a chewy omelette de gingembre, I riffled through the cupboards, the congélateur and even the drawers!

A note in the freezer read "selle d'agneau"... lamb something... (What "selle" was I did not know... but we needed to eat, so out came the selle, and into a marmite!)

I added herbs and spices to the cubed viande...
turned the last bottle of vinegar balsamique on its "ear"... added two old potatoes (cubed), an onion, and a tomato for good cheer!

Four hours later and wouldn't you know... it all tasted délicieux—just like Provençal daube!

"C'est excellent, c'est bon! Encore, mamannous l'aimons!" Outside the window, the icicles grew and grew, but inside the farmhouse four presque pioneers enjoyed the magic of "make do".


Post notes: Read about how Jean-Marc eventually drove the tractor to town for groceries... and see a favorite photo gallery of our snowed-in farm in Cinema Verite.

Finally, if I am having fun in the kitchen, this is with many thanks to my friend Ann Mah. Ann invited me to speak last November, at the American Library in Paris... after which we had a bite to eat.

At the table Ann inquired, "Do you enjoy cooking?" When I mumbled something about not knowing, Ann said that she sincerely doubted that, and even suspected the contraire...

Ann's remark put espoir in my oven and a tickle in my teapot! And since, I have been cooking everything from croissants to beef—cracking open cookbooks, but doing things mostly au pif!


It is my pleasure to announce Ann's forthcoming book, Kitchen Chinese.

Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah I could list a dozen reasons why you should order Ann's Kitchen Chineseillico presto—instead, I'd like to simply say merci beaucoup!: without Ann, my Simon & Schuster book may have never seen the light of day: it was Ann, whom I had yet to meet and who, living in Beijing at the time, forwarded my blog to la grande maison d'edition. Five years later, and a move to Paris, and Ann's book is about to see the light of day. Would you please join me (via the comments box) in wishing her Hip hip hooray! (It helps to say it as the French do):


Eep eep oooh rhay! Eep eep oooh ray!

More about Kitchen Chinese:

After her magazine career craters, Isabelle Lee, the narrator of Mah’s super sharp debut, leaves New York to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her familiarity with the language and culture limited to “kitchen Chinese,” Isabelle lands a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and finds a circle of friends. However, her relationship with her big-shot attorney sister, Claire, who’s lived in China for a while, gets off to a rocky start, with the two not knowing quite what to make of each other. Isabelle’s Beijing immersion, coupled with her chick lit arc, provides a refreshing and fun narrative, helped along by a fantastic heroine whose insights into modern China and the expatriate experience will intrigue readers. It’s a great start for a writer with much promise. — Publishers Weekly

Thank you for ordering Ann's book illico and eep eep vite! Click here! Then tell a friend or a fellow foodie about it.


French Vocabulary & Audio file
(uncut! hear my daughter... and me... pronounce these French words:  Download MP3

le frigo (m) = fridge

un inventaire (m) = inventory

une omlette de gingembre (f) = ginger omelette

le congélateur (m) = freezer

la selle d'agneau (f) = lamb saddle

la marmite (f) = cooking pot

la viande (f) = meat

balsamique = balsamic

délicieux = delicious

la daube (f) = stew, casserole

C'est excellent, c'est bon! Encore maman—nous l'aimons = it's excellent, it's good. Mom--we love it!

presque = almost

un espoir (m) = hope

au pif = by guesswork

illico presto = right away

merci beaucoup = thank you so much

la grande maison d'édition = big publishing house

vite = fast (this word is not pronounced on our sound file)


A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Smokey Dokey

I think I'll be a photographer when I grow up. Here are my first two subjects: Grandma K (she thinks we need to find a better name for her... she has this thing with "words") and that's Robert Kral, who came to sample some wines back in November. No, Robert is not wearing a party hat, or even a reef--those are papyrus shoots (between you and me, they're the only greens that Gramma K can grow. Just don't tell her I told you so!)

love and bisous,


P.S.: who needs a yardstick to measure snow when a gool ol' paw will suffice?


Paris blanket  A Day in Paris France : Eiffel Tower Cotton Tapestry Throw Blanket
A high quality Woven throw, made in USA. Great decoration for home, office, excellent to hang on wall, fold on bed, etc.

French in Action : A Beginning Course in Language and Culture, the Capretz Method: Part One

501 French Verbs with CD presents the most important and most commonly used French verbs arranged alphabetically with English translations in chart form, one verb per page, and conjugated in all persons and tenses, both active and passive.

TRESOR by Lancome "possesses a blend of lilac and apricot, with lower notes with amber and musk."

Learn French with Fluenz software Learn French with Fluenz French.

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