Published November 3, 2016
Books we love , Bookselling in the 21st century , Community , cooking and food , Current Events , Memoir , Politics
Tags: Breakfast in America, Chicago Cubs World Series Championship, Craig Carlson, Hillary Clinton, Obama, Pancakes in Paris, presidential elections, Romney, Trump
Undone by the relentless vacillations in this year’s presidential election polls, to say nothing of that nail-biting late-night extra-inning rain-delayed World Series Championship win by the come-from-behind Chicago Cubs (whew!), I just had to consult our Parisian pollster and restaurateur Craig Carlson.
Do you know his amazing memoir, Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France? This highly recommended read takes us on a wild ride from Craig’s “crazy” idea of opening an American-style dinner in Paris, to realizing that dream complete with pleasures, pitfalls and panic-attacks along the way. Sort of like those Cubs, rallying after near elimination! Craig is victorious with three popular Breakfast in America locations in the culinary capital of the world! Craig read at Canio’s in September, and yes, we even served pancakes with Vermont maple syrup.
So how is the Breakfast in America “presidential election” going in Paris? Back in 2012 his restaurant offered customers “an election” choice between two blue-plate specials: the Romney Omlette and the Obama Burger. They kept count, and announced the overwhelming winner: the Obama Burger by a landslide!
This year he’s featuring a choice between the Hillary “Hot & Nasty” Hamburger served with hot sauce, a nod to Secretary Clinton’s penchant for Tabasco, and the Trump “Totally-Rigged” Wrap with a “wall” of tortilla chips. The count right now: 34 hamburgers to 4 wraps. Voila! That settles it for me! Bon appetite and happy reading!
We love good books; we love an excellent cup of tea. We thought we’d combine the pleasures of both and offer a selection of “Literary Teas” to accompany your next novel or poetry purchase. We’re featuring black and green tea blends inspired by Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, James Joyce and Emily Dickinson. Each is a distinctive blend that captures elements of the writers’ works whether it’s the jasmine scent of Emily’s rose inflected blend, or the bold golden malty cup of the James Joyce variety, these high quality teas (certified Kosher) from Simpson & Vail known for their superior teas since 1929, make a lovely Mother’s Day or host gift. Or just treat yourself to an experience that reminds us, life is beautiful, one cup at a time.
A chance meeting with our friend, the artist David Slater led to the discovery. “Hey,” David said across Espresso Market where I stopped for some minestrone. “Did you see your name in the paper?” he asked excitedly. Well, no, I hadn’t. “What did I do?” I asked. He pulled out the December issue of the big glossy Hamptons Magazine, and there on page 38 was indeed my name, Maryann Calendrille, 16th under Steven Spielberg who heads the list. Hmm, good company so far. David Slater’s name appears at the tail of that first column. Three names later we find photographer Kathryn Szoka, right after Martha Stewart and Nelson DeMille. How our names were chosen for this list, and what it all means, remain a mystery.
“It’s the list of cool people,” David explained. “Great,” I replied. “I’ve finally made it.” Just then my soup was ready. “Let’s have a party,” I suggested. “A list party,” David rejoined. We’ll be inviting some of the others on that list: Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lopez, and Katie Couric to name a few. We’ll want to include other East Enders: Sag Harbor art gallery owners Laura Grenning and Richard Demato, poet Marvin Bell, sculptor Diane Mayo, playwright Jon Robin Baitz, poet/painter Sarah Plimpton, and artist Elisca Jeansonne. Documentary filmmaker Jacqui Lofaro, painter Frank Wimberley and artist Michael Rauch will also be getting an invite. Since Ina Garten is also listed, not that we’re name-dropping or anything, we’ll just have to try of few of her new recipes from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? Sounds like a cool party!
Published July 6, 2012
Books we love , Bookselling in the 21st century , cooking and food , Environment , Gardening , Uncategorized
Tags: American Grown, community gardens, garden to table recipes, healthy eating, Michelle Obama, organic vegetables, square foot gardening, victory gardens, White House kitchen garden
It could be because we’re grandchildren of immigrants and fondly remember our grandparents’ bountiful backyard vegetable gardens. It could be because we support and advocate for community gardens. This year we’ve created our own front yard raised-bed garden following Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening methods. Or it could be because First Lady Michelle Obama’s first book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America is bursting with beautifully photographed fresh produce just plucked from the South Lawn. But American Grown is our current favorite summer read for more reasons than this. It’s about kids and families enjoying healthy food; it’s about the pleasures of planting and caring for the Earth. It includes interesting history, and hope-filled stories about community gardens across the country. Not since Eleanor Roosevelt’s WWII victory garden has food been grown on the White House lawn. Two Thomas Jefferson beds have been planted with seeds collected from his gardens at Monticello. An office building in Texas agreed to create container gardens out on the hot concrete of Houston. Workers on each floor assume responsibility for one container. They’ve got squash and okra and sweet potatoes and tomatoes thriving. Mostly, American Grown shows us how one supremely intelligent and insightful First Lady can share her enthusiasm about vegetables and change a nation one backyard at a time.
It’s not that I’ve had a lot of experience whipping up a delicate sauce mousseline sabayon. It was Marcella Hazan who taught me most of whatever it is I know about cooking. (It was, historically speaking, the Italians who taught the French about cooking, but never mind.) When reporter Stephanie Clifford called from the New York Times, I thought for a moment of that slightly similar scene in Julie and Julia. Ms. Clifford, however, wanted to know how sales of Mastering the Art of French Cooking were going what with all the movie buzz. (See immediately, The New York Times, Monday, August 24, front page! ) Great! I’d just seen the movie, loved it, and wasn’t much at all bothered by the Julie Powell character. It was a thrill to be mentioned in the same article with booksellers from Elliot Bay Books in Seattle, Barbara’s Bookstore in Chicago, and the venerable Powell’s in Portland. And even more so, to be linked in some vague and general way with the Master Chef herself. Best of all was to hear from old friends and former students, far flung and who’d just happened to see the paper that day. So inspired, I went home and whipped up an airy sponge cake to bring to a dinner party, just for fun. And yes, the books are flying off the shelves. Sometimes they leap out all on their own…kind of like that lobster jumping out of the steaming pot. Bon Appetit! ~ MC