A French Girl masters the art of French cooking with a little help from special friends

Julia Child would have been 100 years old this fall. 
In her honor, I read the excellent new biography by Bob Spitz, Dearie. This made me respect Madame Child even more. How adaptable, fun-loving, and determined she always was, as she enthusiastically embarked on the roller coaster of life! When I reached the end of the book, I had to watch the Julie and Julia movie once again. One thing led to another, and I ordered Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, the DVD collection the great Julia – the original celebrity chef – taped with French chef Jacques Pépin a few years before she died. If you have never taken a look at these lively shows, I highly recommend them (the eponymous companion cookbook released in 1999 is also a good investment.) 
The book Dearie reveals that things did not always run smoothly on the set, when Jacques and Julia’s strong personalities clashed over some recipes. The best part about the shows is watching the old friends spar as they trade tips and techniques. Illustration:

(Jacques and Julia are making crêpes Suzette…) 

Julia (as Jacques pours orange liqueur into the pan and lights it up with too much gusto:) “Our viewers should know that it is NEVER a good idea to pour the alcohol straight out of the bottle. It is VERY dangerous! They should use a ladle instead.

Jacques (smiling sheepishly:) “Yes Julia, but zis is how I do eet!” 

Julia and Jacques… goofing around (and cooking) 

Some of you may be wondering why I ordered this instead of the much lauded  original Julia Child cooking TV series, the French Chef. Honest answer: I am not that interested in the cooking part.

The French Chef: Behind the scenes look

While I get a kick out of watching Julia-the-entertainer as she makes mistakes, jokes around, or argues with colorful Jacques Pépin in that unique voice of hers, I am not particularly interested in learning how to make French bread (shocking, I know,) or in preparing elaborate sauces or soufflés
It is time to spill the beans. 
Not all French women love cooking; are super knowledgeable about wine; can tie a Hermès scarf in twenty different knots. Some of them – the horror – even get fat!
Disappointed yet?
Don’t get me wrong. I can cook, at least as long as I have a good recipe to follow. Like every other woman I have met in our neck of the woods, I own the Ina Garten cookbook collection and have successfully prepared many of her favorite dishes. Do I enjoy making the occasional coq au vin or tagine in my time-tested Le Creuset dishes? Oui. Would I hire a private chef if I could dispense with the dreaded preparation of the family’s evening meals? Absolument
I will let you in on a little secret: When in the kitchen, I have always looked for shortcuts; ways to get things done quickly. La cuisine has never been my favorite room in the house, you see. As soon as I moved into my first place (a 240 square foot studio in Paris’ 11th arrondissement,) I invested in a microwave (a revolutionary appliance in France at the time,) to complement the small hot plate set up near the sink. Add a tiny fridge, and voilà, meet my first kitchen; not even a room, more of an afterthought, stuck on one side of the narrow hallway connecting the tiny bathroom to the main living space. 
Julia would not have let that detail stop her from preparing elaborate meals. She thrived as a budding cook, as she experimented for hours in her modest-size Parisian kitchen.

Julia, at the “Roo de Loo” (rue de l’Université) apartment, Paris (1950s) 

I am no Julia Child, but I remember my late 20s in Paris fondly. Ah, what fun meals I shared with my friends and co-workers. We went out several times a week and enjoyed delicious food at our favorite neighborhood restaurants. I also entertained at [my diminutive] home. What did I cook? Pas grand-chose (not much.) I did not have to: My friends and I had all invested in wonderful small appliances that are still best-sellers in France today. 
Two favorites: Crêpes and Raclette machines. 

These weren’t the fancy and overpriced versions found at Williams-Sonoma these days; more like their poor cousins, by reliable French manufacturer Tefal. They were so good and helped justify so many parties, I could not bear the thought of leaving them behind when we moved to the United States. I was undeterred by the purchase of a heavy and pricey adapter so I could use them here. 

Junior and his friends have often enjoyed making their own crêpes
with this wonderful contraption!

La Raclette: A French/Swiss tradition best enjoyed on a cold day…

I always knew instinctively what Ina Garten and other chefs has been advocating all along: Who wants to slave away in the kitchen for hours (especially during the party,) when they could be sitting at the table with their friends, a glass of wine in hand? 

Other women seem to agree. A quick look at DARTY‘s website (the French appliance specialist) reveals an ever-expanding section of cute, colorful, magical contraptions, listed under “Cuisson Conviviale” (convivial cooking.) 

Among the time-saving cooking appliances sold in France, one reigns supreme: La Cocotte-minute – a.k.a. l’Autocuiseur. That’s right, the pressure cooker.

Gasp. I can already imagine every American reader – maybe even Julia Child – running for cover! The poor pressure cooker has never had a huge following on this side of the pond. Pressure cooker. These two words immediately conjure up horrific tales of exploding appliances, burned cooks, and traumatic meals. 

Is Holly Golightly (a.k.a Audrey Hepburn) to blame?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: The case of the exploding pressure cooker

Holly G.: Clearly more comfortable ordering out…

… Or could it be that Americans just don’t get the pressure cooker?

Note to children: Do NOT stick your head in a pressure cooker!
Car-exhaust powered pressure cooker, USA (1930s)

Well, les amis, les Français l.o.v.e. their pressure cookers; always have; always will. Interestingly, my homeland’s fascination for aesthetics (everything has to look/sound/taste great,) has carried over to faithful home appliances. Witness the evolution of the Gallic pressure cooker…

La cocotte minute, circa 1960
SEB‘s Clipso model in “Framboise” (raspberry) 

… or in “Citron Vert” (lime) 

SEB’s newest wonder: The revolutionary Nutri-Cook
Cute enough to be a fashion accessory, non? 

Who would resist using these fun appliances? 100% safe. Quick and user-friendly, they are the French cook’s best friend, and help prepare delicious dishes in a fraction of the time, with the same great taste. Mine came from Paris with me, when I was eight months pregnant (I don’t think airlines would let me bring it on board as a carry on these days, do you?) I use in several times a week, especially in the fall and winter. J’adore ma cocotte-minute!

Forget le Boeuf Bourguignon for a second (sorry, Julia!:)
Meet la Blanquette de veau au roquefort…
Le Pot-au-feu (don’t forget la fleur de sel!) 
How about a delicious crème caramel for dessert?

I should have quit while I was ahead. 

Last week, after sixteen years in the United States, I finally gave in and invested in a crockpot. Most of my American girlfriends have one. I knew the crockpot was the pressure cooker’s antithesis; the powered version of a Le Creuset cast iron oven; but, as adventurous as Julia back in the day, I thought: “Pourquoi pas?” (Why not?) It must be nice to leave the house and return a few hours later to a fragrant home, dinner gently simmering and waiting to be served…

I must admit it was a pretty little thing, sleek and shiny, with bells and whistles. 

Mine was almost as pretty as this one!

Well. Essai non transformé, as French rugby players say (Free translation for all of you football and baseball fans: “There was no touchdown and no home run.”) 

After just three hours (total cooking time was 8 hours,) the machine was already boiling on the slow speed setting! I felt truly sorry for the poor chicken sitting inside the infernal contraption. It was too late to rescue it. All I could do was watch for a while, then pull off the plug.  After just five hours – my Chicken Cacciatore had turned into… mush. Even chicken bones had all but disintegrated. Mon Dieu

I had to find out if Moi, the incompetent French cook, was to blame, or if there was another explanation. I spent one hour researching the topic online and found my answer. The old crockpots may have been renamed “slow cookers,” but most of the machines manufactured in the last five to six years tend to overheat and overcook the food (even on the slow speed setting,) resulting in countless burned meals and thousands of frustrated customers. In other words, they can’t be trusted, and the only way to get a reliable crockpot/pressure cooker is to inherit one from Grandma… or to find an antique at a garage sale! Seriously. 



Conclusion: Unless you are making chunky soups, chili or pulled pork (all tasty but less than aesthetically pleasing concoctions,) it is best to stay away from today’s *slow* cookers (or to cut the recommended cooking time by 50%, but at that stage, I’d rather use my time-tested pressure cooker.) 

Ironically, the French have been preparing similarly shapeless – yet fragrant – mixtures for years – not that the average American would dare touch them… 

Rognons à la moutarde (kidneys in mustard sauce) 

Tripes à la Catalane (Catalan-style tripes) 
Escargots (slugs with shells in garlicky sauce) 

My short, and unproductive partnership with the American crockpot is officially over. I have decided there are only two people who would have dared sample the Chicken Cacciatore that came out of my new slow cooker this week… 

Refined gourmet Hannibal Lecter

and Casimir(*), French children’s favorite monster…

Casimir and friend enjoying their favorite dish: Le Gloubiboulga

Bon Appétit!

(*): Casimir. L’Ile aux Enfants TV show. France, 1970s.

How to make Casimir’s Gloubiboulga: Mix mashed, overripe bananas, chocolate shavings, Dijon mustard, Toulouse sausage, some anchovies, and top with whipped cream) 

Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

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  1. Anne Touraine on October 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Oh Véronique,
    Your post made ma laugh so much!!!
    Next week I am teaching… a French cooking class, a scarf styling class, and a “dress thin and elegant class”… all these topics which are truly – or not truly – French.
    So I read your post with the greatest interest and I have so many comments that I am afraid I’ll be stuck in front of my computer all night long…

    – Julia Child: she was a real stitch.
    Yet, between you and I, her cooking recipes are freakingly complicated even to someone who loves French cooking. I once looked at her boeuf bourguignon recipe… endless and discouraging (whereas it can be the simplest recipe in the world). Julia Child was a perfectionist but all her recipes are an ordeal… No wonder why Americans still don’t get French cuisine after reading her books…

    – No, not all French women are stunning cooks. Yet, many I know are doing a pretty good job compared to other friends I have in the US. Sorry to say. No offense to our beloved American friends who have other talents!

    – Yes, some French women do get fat… No further comment on this sensitive point!

    – Scarves? Please acknowledge that Parisians are pretty good at tying scarves…

    – Cooking tools
    . Crockpot? I am with you!!! After a few miserable attempts trying to use the one I bought, I finally gave up…
    If anyone is interested in getting one for free, please let me know…. JE LE DONNE AVEC PLAISIR!!!
    . The raclette and crêpes Tefal dishes: so many fond memories come back to my mind from the time I was young ( my “studio” was rue Cambronne – 15e)
    . Rognons: the best deal ever, here in the US. Cheap, cheap, cheap and so good. Unfortunately, I was never able to convince any of our American friends to eat “rognons à la crème fraîche” flambléed with cognac. Oh well… My husband and I can easily work on one or two packs of rognons for dinner!

    Now about the cooking tools we couldn’t live without? Mine is a wok…
    Not really French but perfect for so many recipes. One of my favorite cooking classes is called: “cool French cooking in a wok”. A hit ( and a personal ode to my mother-in-law whose Brittany fish stew in lobster bisque is to die for!).

    OK, enough with all these frantic comments I made… Hope I didn’t bother.
    Thanks for this fun post. You are the best!
    Bien amicalement,

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Ha! Loved your comment, Anne. Thank you for taking the time! I knew you, of all people, might react when reading the scarves part of the post 🙂 It sounds like I will have to come and visit you in Florida soon. I am very curious about that “rognons” recipe, and that fish stew in lobster bisque… Miam! Bon weekend!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      … and I repeat: “Miam-Miam!” Thank you so much for this family recipe, Anne. Will definitely try it! Do I need a wok absolument or can I use another type of cooking dish?

    • playingwithscarves on October 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      For you Véronique and for all our friends who love good (and easy) French cooking:

      My mother-in-law Brittany fish “bouillabaisse” (serves 4). Bon appétit!

      . 8-9 cups Lobster bisque or fish soup
      . 2 pounds firm flesh fillet cut into big chunks (salmon, tuna, mahi-mahi, grouper, snapper, swordfish, monkfish)
      . 8 shrimp, uncooked
      . garlic croutons
      . 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
      . 4 big potatoes, cut into 4 pieces

      Peel the potatoes and hard boil them.
      In the meanwhile, heat in a wok on medium high heat the lobster bisque. Add in the fish chunks and the shrimp. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
      Serve in individual plates with the garlic croutons, the shredded Gruyere cheese and the potatoes.

    • playingwithscarves on October 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      You are welcome, Véronique:-)
      Other cooking dishes will work too BUT the good point with a wok is that you can use it on the table and “cook” in front of your guests/ family members. That’s another reason why I love a wok. It’s perfect for fun and convivial cooking.
      A bientôt,

  2. Une Femme on October 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    My mother had a pressure cooker that she used mostly for artichokes. I’ve been pondering one, may have to take the plunge. My issue is NO time to cook, at least during the week. I’ve never had much luck with crockpots either. My in-laws were fans of raclette, and we inherited at raclette machine from them. Will definitely put it to use this winter.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Well, it sounds as if you could use one of these cute pressure cookers. How about the Nutricook? I would LOVE to get it, but I fear it is not available outside of France. Let me know if you “take the plunge,” and how things turn out for you. I can recommend a couple of good recipe books too.

  3. Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder on October 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Dearest Véronique,

    This is hilarious! You and I could be sisters… for using Le Creuset and so many French things in the kitchen. Guess what? We had an outlet in 240 volt built into our kitchen so I could use all the kitchen appliance that I brought from Europe. I was not going to sacrifice them. Works fine, still does. I’ve never had a crock pot either… even though certain friends pressured me. One friend’s daughter moved to Brussels and was missing her American crock pot so badly. Funny world.
    Enjoyed this story, you are a great writer!
    Hugs to you,

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Merci for the supportive message, as always, Mariette. Happy to entertain my readers when I can 🙂

  4. Lydia Nguyen on October 4, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I never cared for the crock pot or the mush that comes out of it, but you have sold me on the pressure cooker. I’ll take one in Framboise, someone tell my husband, please 😉

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Isn’t that Framboise one absolutely dah-r-ling? Who would not like cooking dinner in it? I tell you, the French know how to make things look goooodddd… 🙂

  5. Richard Moisan on October 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Peu importe l’époque. Une bonne cuisinière est toujours une bonne cuisinière, et les bons plats régaleront toujours les invités.
    Bonne journée, Véronique!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Ben oui, tout à fait d’accord, Richard, mais la bonne cuisinière, ce n’est pas vraiment moi 🙂

  6. Jennifer Fabulous on October 5, 2012 at 9:23 am

    First, that behinds the scene look at the show is INSANE.I remember pressure cookers. My dad used to use one for cooking Indian food all the time when I was a kid. But he doesn’t anymore, and I don’t know why. All of the sudden, the pressure cooker disappeared one day. Hmmm…I need to investigate that.I think you’re spot on about today’s crock pots. My mom invested in a new crock pot and she hates it. It burns everything and doesn’t work the way her mom’s old one used to. The one she sold in a garage sale to get a new one. Lol.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Bonjour Jenny. Isn’t that a great photo of Julia “and crew”? It takes a village, as they say… Do let me know what happened to Dad’s pressure cooker. We already know it did not blow up in his face. You would have remembered seeing contractors all over the kitchen to repair the damage! Ha! ha!

  7. Lost in Provence on October 5, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Oh my, you are going to roll your eyes at this American but the cocotte-minute freaked me out so much that I got rid of it! 90 € out the window!!! I think I did indeed have Audrey on the brain. Sigh. Oops.
    Bon weekend!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Arf! Arf! Arf! You American girl, you! How could you turn your back on a fancy 90 Euros cocotte-minute (and how could your French boyfriend let you get away with it?!) 🙂

  8. Alison on October 5, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Ha! You remind me of my second French host parents. They both told me if I had come hoping for some of that famous French cuisine, theirs was not the right household for me. I was changing host families, from one where Maman made a delicious soupe aux légumes nearly every night in her pressure cooker. I’m kicking myself today for not paying closer attention!

    Never fear, though, I did not starve with my second family. In fact, they taught me the proportions for a basic vinaigrette, which is certainly a sign of culinary elightenment, n’est-ce pas?

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Well, you have got to appreciate your host parents’ honesty AND they did teach you how to make the perfect vinaigrette! The pressure cooker makes soup making a snatch. Too bad I am the only one in my house enjoying la soupe aux légumes!

  9. Bluebells and Lavender on October 5, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Oh dear..sorry you haven’t had much luck with the new crockpots. I’ve had my slowcooker for about 15 years now. I only ever make soup in it…I don’t like mushy food at all, so soup is about as mushy as I will go…mine’s probably the older version, perfect soup every time…back to the long way of doing things for you it seems… Have a great weekend!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      You definitely own an older model. Hold on to it. In a few years, it might sell for more money than a washer on Ebay! 🙂

  10. miss b on October 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

    So much here made me smile particularly not all French women can tie a Hermès scarf twenty ways ….and some even get fat! I loved the film and have the paperback version of Mastering the Art of French cooking. You reminded me about my old Crock Pot at the back of my cupboard and the Raclette machine. I must get them out again -ideal for this time of year. I do like my kitchen gadgets (my friends laugh about my growing collection!)and I would definitely like one of those crêpes machines.Now I wonder if they sell them in the UK……..

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Welcome back miss b. There is nothing wrong with loving kitchen gadgets. I don’t like slaving away in the kitchen (you had already guessed that part,) so any contraption that is going to 1. keep me entertained and 2. save time, is ALWAYS welcome!

  11. Virginia on October 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    We must have been channeling Julia at the same time this week. I watched Julie and Julia all over again. I will tell you my daughter prefers Ina Garten’s beef bourguignon to Julia’s and I”ve had it and it’s divine. Have I made it? NON.I can still hear my grandmother’s old pressure cooker whistling away and will admit I was always afraid the top would blow off and cover the kitchen in pot roast, as we all had heard the tales of that happening…somewhere.Great post today dear. Thoroughly enjoyed it and as only Julia could say it….”Bon appétil!”V

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Bonsoir V. Your daughter and I see eye to eye. I think Ina may understand the modern woman better than Julia (sacrilege, I know…) Her recipes are so easy to make, and yet so delicious – probably as a result of the ENORMES amounts of butter and cream she uses, always, but to quote Ina, “How bad can it be?!” 🙂 Come back soon!

  12. Parisbreakfasts on October 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

    So much turf covered here…
    But I can get over you once had a 240 square foot studio in Paris
    ! ! ! !
    this is like palatial in today’s Paris – a loft practically.
    Even 24 meters is huge for many places – I think I stayed in 12 last time – very convenient but tiny by comparison..or is it
    meters vs. sq ft.
    qui sait?
    now I want some melted cheeeese!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 6, 2012 at 7:56 am

      My dear Carol, I hate to tell you, but it sounds as if you got tricked into renting a MASTER CLOSET last time you stayed in Paris 🙂

  13. Parisbreakfasts on October 6, 2012 at 6:55 am

    PS I don’t have any of those contraptions but a microwave dearly loved.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

      Well a great one to get since you live in NYC and it gets cold in the winter, would be the wonderful raclette machine. Bear and your other friends would LOVE it!

  14. Parisbreakfasts on October 6, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Originally I was going to say before being distracted by yr huge apart in Paris that I almost got DEARIE yesterday but thought it too big to read in bed (500+ pages)
    Now I shall have to go back and give it a whirl

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 6, 2012 at 7:59 am

      Remember the new French word I gave you yesterday? Well, here’s a great use for it. This is a reply with several [epaisseurs!] Ha! Loved reading your comments this morning before I head out to the local community college where I will be teaching my travel workshops all day. Bon weekend et bonne lecture!

  15. M-T on October 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Ma chère, this post really brought back soooo many memories. Where to begin?

    My Mother brought back a pressure cooker from France when they moved to the US with little “moi” in tow. She was always afraid of it and never used it.

    We cooked our artichokes in a big stock pot in boiling water with a touch of red wine vinegar and a bay leaf. To this day, I would sell my soul for a perfectly prepared artichoke, and I prepare them the same way my Father did, with a vinaigrette (dijon mustard, vinegar, sea salt, pepper, chopped shallots and a Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to dip the leaves and that fabulous “coeur.” I have never bought a bottled dressing in my life. Why would you when you can make a fresh vinaigrette so quickly and so easily?

    Someone gave me a crockpot when I got married 35 years ago, and I gave it a valiant effort (repeatedly), but everything always came out gray and mushy. I do use it to keep things hot when I serve food buffet style for a party, but only after the food has been cooked.

    Oh, raclette, I simply adore it, but it’s just not the same here as in France. Maybe it’s the ambiance and the tradition.

    I can’t wait to try Anne’s recipe. Oh…..and I have a somewhat simplified version of a cassoulet from Jacques Pépin, if you’re interested. It’s an absolute winner.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Bonjour M-T. What? Your mother, a FRENCH woman, was afraid of the pressure cooker? It sounds as if she was ready to move to the United States all right 🙂 Your recipe for artichokes sounds perfect to me. As for the Jacques Pepin cassoulet recipe, I would not mind taking a look at it. I like Monsieur Pepin and trust his skills dans la cuisine.

    • M-T on October 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Don’t be too surprised about my mother. She’s only half french. She may be bilingual and binational, but she was raised in the US and her mother was British and never at home in the kitchen. My father, who was indeed 100% french and raised in France, was a fabulous cook. Sadly, he died too young, but everything my brother and I learned about cooking we learned from him. Grandfather Eugène was the head chef in a very high-end restaurant in La Rochelle (I don’t remember the name).

      I’ll pass along the Pépin recipe via separate e-mail. It’s sooo easy, and you can add your own special French touch.

  16. Owen on October 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Oh my gosh, you really cover a lot of ground here, like slugs at night in the garden, only, errr, aren’t escargots snails ??? Snails I can stomach, indeed I love their little chewy bodies in garlic butter sauce… but slugs, no, never, not in a million years…Can remember seeing Julia on TV as a kid, so this brought back lots of memories. But of course we are shocked that you spilled the beans, and funny, Le Silence des Agneaux was on TV here very recently, speaking of which, un bon gigot d’agneaux peut être une vraie délice, non ? MMMMmmmm, je commence à avoir faim tout d’un coup !Merci pour toutes ces saveurs!PS May I ask if could be so wonderfully kind as to vote for a photo I entered in a contest here in France ? The link is here :http://photos.oise.fr/en-cours/categorie/plus-de-18-ans/photo/cavalier/From the US you may have to enter a fictitious phone number on the voting form, in French format, ten digits, no spaces, and starting in 01 or 06 or whatever… Mille fois merci…

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Oh, Mr Toad. Slugs, escargots, quelle difference? They are all slimy, aren’t they? And who is going to be able to tell them apart once they are immersed in that delicious garlicky butter sauce? 🙂 This post made me hungry too. I have been using la cocotte minute all week. Cooking a garlicky lamb stew right now, in fact…Bonne chance for the photography contest. I did vote.

  17. Sandy on October 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Oh Mon dieu ce n’est pas possible! Some french ladies can’t cook and get fat?! 😉 This was another wonderful post and thanks for sharing your kitchen experience in Paris.lol Now you have me drooling for dinner. What to make that’s easy?=)

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 12, 2012 at 8:47 am

      So sorry to have shattered your illusions about French women, Sandy. 🙂 You must have solved your dinner dilemma by now. Mac and Cheese is pretty easy… so is ordering take out! 🙂

  18. helen tilston on October 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Hello Veronique

    You certainly have mastered the art of the pressure cooker and you are right to stay with it. Your results look delicious.
    I succumbed to a crock pot two years ago and used it twice and decided it was taking up too much storage space, so disposed of it this summer.

    I used like when Jacques Pepin cooked with his daughter in the tv series some years ago.

    Have a great week

    Helen xx

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

      I wish these were actual photos of my “creations,” Helen, I really do… I remember Jacques cooking with his daughter Claudine. He was pretty strict with her as I recall. He never tried the same tricks on Julia, though. She would not have put up with it! 🙂

  19. Leslie on October 8, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Hi Veronique!

    This is a wonderful post! Great pictures and a bit of history 🙂 I received the Julia Child DVD’s for my birthday last month. They are great aren’t they? My favorite picture is the one in her small Paris apartment.

    Her battle with breast cancer was news to me! She never allowed anything to stop her from following her dreams. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had such a will to succeed?

    The crock pot.. I do have one put don’t use it much. It’s so bulky and difficult to store.

    Enjoy the start to a new week!


    • French Girl in Seattle on October 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

      Hello Leslie. Thank you for stopping by. I, too, have great respect for Madame Child. She was a strong, strong woman. Dearie is a must read for all Julia fans out there, and there are many!

  20. Peter Olson on October 11, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Again ,what a pleasure to read your posts! I’m now looking forward to the one where you will explain the twenty ways to tie a Hermès scarf! 🙂

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

      Funny, Peter, very funny 🙂 As soon as the post is ready, you will be the first one to know! 🙂

  21. Ann Mah on October 11, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Goodness, thanks for the warning! I was just eyeing the shiny slow cookers at the store the other day. Now I know that I can stick to my trusty Le Creuset cocotte!

    I loved reading this post about Julia, always an inspiration, but even more so as I dive into Dearie!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 12, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Et voila. Just saved you $50 at least. Aren’t you glad? 🙂 Did the same for a lady I saw at the store last week. She was about to buy one for her daughter. Hope she got her a pressure cooker (or a Le Creuset) instead…

  22. Sarah on October 11, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Another fun post. Thank you! Hope all is well with you and your family and that you are enjoying a delightful fall.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Absolument Sarah. Fall is busy, but going well so far. Too bad the rain has finally returned to Seattle (I can’t say that we missed the wet stuff over the last three months…) Bon weekend!

  23. bee bon on October 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Great post I must start following instead end of hopping over from blogs!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 28, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Yes, why don’t you?

  24. Splendid Market on October 13, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Lots of fun “fooder” Love the behind the scenes shot with Julia and all of your fun stories. My mother used a pressure cooker. I think I am the only person who doesn’t have a crock pot, all my friends rave about the meals they are able to make in them, with ease. Bon Weekend!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 28, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Well, your friends must own older models, as demonstrated in this story…

  25. PerthDailyPhoto on October 17, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I’m totally with you on this one Veronique..Most of my girl friends and both my sisters have le Crock Pot..pas moi, way too scary, on saying this so to is le pressure cooker haha! Love Julie Childs, Meryl Streep played her so well in the movie don’t you think?

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

      I love Meryl in the movie. I just found a fun montage on YouTube where you can see Meryl and Julia side by side saying the same lines. I thought she did great, but not everyone agreed apparently… Oh well. Can’t please everyone I guess.

  26. La Table De Nana on October 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    You write so well.:-) I have a newer crockpot..tout blanc..but also have the second one in your photos:-)
    I love being in the kitchen..and now you have made me think of s Presto:-) My mom loved hers..the knob scared me.I see big differences..cute cute!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Merci beaucoup Nana. I enjoy writing. This is my main creative outlet… TWO crockpots? You are one brave woman!

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