La fuite d’eau

Anyone who has kids, or a puppy, can relate. I don’t have either, but after all we’ve been through together, I now have a similarly intimate relationship with my apartment. One afternoon at the end of last week, I came home from lunch and …

Anyone who has kids, or a puppy, can relate. I don’t have either, but after all we’ve been through together, I now have a similarly intimate relationship with my apartment. One afternoon at the end of last week, I came home from lunch and the moment I stepped inside my place, I felt something was wrong.

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Amer Picon

When you write a book, it goes through several editing phases. The first is the developmental edit, which happens when you’re sort of on your way there, and your editor wants to see it. (And make sure you haven’t been sitting around watching Netflix all day.) Once that is read, you get pages of suggestions for what you should change, what should be kept, what…

When you write a book, it goes through several editing phases. The first is the developmental edit, which happens when you’re sort of on your way there, and your editor wants to see it. (And make sure you haven’t been sitting around watching Netflix all day.) Once that is read, you get pages of suggestions for what you should change, what should be kept, what needs to be modified, and perhaps suggestions on how to do those things. Then, you go back to work.

The next few steps are more edits, including a pass for grammar and spelling, and someone to check to make sure you said when there is “1 teaspoon of lemon juice” in the ingredient list, that it’s sure to be in the instructions for making the cake or cocktail. When you’re looking at the same words for two years, an errant keystroke or a reviewing a three-hundred-plus-page document filled with digital notes, comments, and directions laid over the text, can have unintended consequences.

Drinking French

Every step of the way, every editor (the main editor…as well as the copy editor, production editor, and proofreader) questioned the same thing in Drinking French: It was about Amer Picon. What would an amer be called in English? Is it Amer Picon or Picon Amer? (Or is that moot, since the most recent bottles now are labeled Picon Bière?). But most of all, the editors were inquiring why was I including a liquor in the book that had an ingredient that wasn’t available in the United States. What was I thinking?

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Creme de Marrons (Chestnut Puree)

When I was sprier (and when I could eat all that chocolate!) I used to do culinary tours. One of the most fun things to do was to take people into places and explain some of the lesser-known items that, incongruently, France is famous for. I know. I had to think about that for a minute, too. I’d point out things like fleur de sel,…

When I was sprier (and when I could eat all that chocolate!) I used to do culinary tours. One of the most fun things to do was to take people into places and explain some of the lesser-known items that, incongruently, France is famous for. I know. I had to think about that for a minute, too.

I’d point out things like fleur de sel, salted butter from Brittany (doing my best to reverse decades of people insisting that gourmands only ate unsalted butter), the esteemed (and ridiculously delicious) Madame Loïk, Amora mustard, Kiri, and caillé. I even shared some of the goofier things here on the blog, which has been up for a decade but still has only 1 share on Pinterest and 17 on Facebook. So perhaps I overestimated people’s interest in pop’n fresh-style croissant dough sold in cardboard tubes, and rosé wine pre-mixed with grapefruit flavoring.

Still, he persisted. Take crème de marrons, for example. It’s hard to get people outside of France to pay attention to it. Heck, even the Wikipedia page for it, in French, when you head over to the English version, takes you to a page about candied chestnuts, not chestnut cream. It easy to dismiss the dubiously brown paste that comes in a tin, that’s admittedly a lot prettier than what’s in it. But if you’re not familiar with it, I urge you to consider it.

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