How to Soothe Your Longing for France: Start Cooking
As an avid traveller and French Riviera lover, 2020 has hit me very hard, and I’m sure most of you reading this article can relate. 2021 is not looking that great either, at least at the time of writing. Some readers of my blog have asked what I’ve been doing to keep the passion alive in this difficult time of no travel to France (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Short answer: I’ve become a more interested (and more adventurous) cook.
I started small by baking bread. A simple recipe shared by my Instagram friend Anina Belle Giannini (@lechefswife) led me to bake French baguettes, again and again. They are easy, crunchy, chewy, and oh-so-French! Anina Belle should know a good baguette, as she is married to Toulon-born chef Sébastien Giannini (@lechefsebastien). I recommend following both of them on Instagram for a thorough immersion in Francophile life on the North American continent. They share recipes and day-to-day life snapshots of their adventures as a family of four in Washington, DC.
After learning to make a decent baguette, I moved on to salads. Salade Niçoise is quick and delicious, and it instantly transports me to the Promenade des Anglais. I love mine with tuna and anchovies, and yes, I know that opinions vary on the presence/absence of anchovies. I love these tiny, briny creatures of the sea, and I include them in my cooking in any way I can, from pizza toppers to a gourmet anchovy spread to enjoy with toast.
I wish I could say that at some point in my culinary pursuit, I mastered Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon or Coq au Vin, but I would be lying. I prefer simple, no-fuss recipes and very little meat, so I didn’t even attempt any of them.
I do love a good French dessert, though. To soothe my longing for choux and pot de crème, I signed up for a series of online baking classes with Mardi Michels, author of In the French Kitchen with Kids. My 12-year-old daughter and I had a lot of fun learning how to make crème pâtissière and chocolate-drizzled choux, among other things. The classes are fast-paced, and there is a lot of hands-on work to do, but we managed to finish all the desserts within the 2-hour timeframe without any prior experience.
What’s next, you might ask? An excellent vegetarian quiche. Moules marinières, Croque Monsieur, or the ever-popular Monte Cristo are all valid options.
There are more recipe ideas on my blog: come say hello and leave me a suggestion. I might just be cooking that next!
French Recipes to Try
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