June 16, 2010
It Happened in ParisIn the photo: Restaurateur Michel Jacob attended the book launch for "Cooking For Me and Sometimes You" at Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks.
Cooking for Me and Sometimes You: A Parisienne Romance with Recipes.
French Apple Press, 2010
“Did I tell you how much I love Paris?”
What could be more delightful than that? Unless it is the book itself, which is a compact little charmer with its cloth bound cover, satin ribbon marker and whimsical soft pencil drawings by local illustrator Bernie Lyon. The presentation is as elegant and misty as the French capitol itself during the gray month of February when the narrative takes place.
For those of us whose Paris fantasies are flavoured à la Julia Child, McIntosh hits the sweet spot again when she rents an Isle St. Louis apartment with a fully equipped kitchen – for the express purpose of exploring the bounty of her adopted neighbourhood's little food shops and markets, then bringing home each edible treasure to cook, reflect upon and savour. In diary fashion, she records the passage of each day, slipping recipes between each personal highlight like leaves of pâte à choux between the sweetened cream layers of a Parisienne mille-feuille.
The resulting book is what one might term a “Luddite’s blog”, and we mean that in a good way. It’s the way a blogger would have had to express herself before Wordpress, digital cameras and Facebook made the sharing of experience a pastime easily available to everyone. The fact that the medium of her hardcover book makes the imagery a little more opaque, a little less graphically realistic than the modern electronic version only helps us to integrate our own fantasies of Paris with that of McIntosh's, and thus participate more fully in her observation of it.
“But, I am disappointed with a rather plain piece of salmon, most likely farmed, accompanied with steamed white rice and sautéed green beans. Did I already say you can find bad food in Paris? I allow my thoughts to wander to create a recipe with wild salmon that would make me happier, by simply adding a pat of artichoke butter on a roasted fillet and serving it with a fava bean succotash.
The meal is finished with a delicious tarte tatin with heirloom apples, though the centre is a little chilly as the tarte was obviously frozen and warmed in the microwave. I decide to finish the menu in my head instead with sautéed apple wedges and Armagnac ice cream.”