The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
In English and en français
Now it its 13th year
C’est la 13ième année
The French have adopted our custom. C’est vraiment too much!
Celebrated in my mother’s hometown of Châlons-en-Champagne
My literary trip to New England
Notes on my next cookbook
Recipe: a repeat for Thanksgiving
My great-grandmother’s cassolita
Links of interest
Idiotismes Gastronomiques: or brush up on your French idioms
A new farm stand: The Golden Door Spa stand in San Marcos (CA)
It has been a month since I returned from a literary tour to New England to view the leaves turning in Massachussets, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. As usual, my friend and colleague Susan McBeth, founder of Adventures by the Book (website) had pulled out all the stops. Our 9-day tour flew by, with a private tour of Beacon Hill homes in Boston, a magical evening inside the city’s legendary Athenaeum library, visit with local authors, and to the homes of major American literary figures such as Loujsa May Alcott, Longfellow in Portland, ME, Thoreau, and Robert Frost’s enchanted forest and its tree-lined Poetry Trail.
A thrill for me was to “visit” my book, Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, on display in the gift shop of at the quirky and awe-inspiring Isabella Stewart Museum in Boston. I love finding my books in such famous “homes.”
Boston has discovered fish tacos (so has Paris, by the way…but that is another story.)
One of my quests? To eat as many lobster rolls as possible. I am happy to report I overdosed. We did see the leaves turn, we walked under a covered bridge, and we ate more lobster rolls. Oh yes! We even went on a lobster fishing expedition near Kennebunkport, ME. Good news: the lobster catch this year is excellent. Lobsters have returned to the waters of New England.
One of the most unusual items I discovered along the way is this Moroccan Rose and Grapefruit flavored vodka—in the wilds of Vermont. Really? Tasted like pure vodka to me!
Smugglers’ Notch Distillery® is a father/son partnership in Jeffersonville, Vermont. The distillery was founded in 2006 at the foot of the famed Smugglers’ Notch, site of many a clandestine bootlegger’s run through this rugged Vermont mountain pass.
(I will spare you a repeat of comedian Art Buchwald’s column on Le Jour de Merci Donnant (where he explains Thanksgiving to the French, but I still think it’s hilarious!) And cassolita is the perfect side dish for turkey
Moroccan Squash with Caramelized Onions
1 lb Mediterranean pumpkin or butternut squash
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted
Place unpeeled squash in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel and cut into serving pieces and place in baking dish.
Cook the onions in the oil, with the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and cook 5 minutes longer. Spread the mixture over the squash, sprinkle with the almonds, cover with foil, and return to the oven to heat for 20 minutes.
PS: This can be made a day ahead. Copyright 2021.
Here’s the BEEF!
Do you buy meat wholesale? Own a restaurant or a catering service? SUKARNE may be the answer. Beef ribs, tomahawk steaks, riblets, Porterhouse steaks anyone. This Mexican company has opened a store in San Diego’s North County, in Vista. There are apparently over 1,000 stores in Mexico. The beef they sell is raised in Mexicali. No frills in the store, just giant refrigerators for storing all the beef.
News closer to home:
Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion has also found a home at the beautiful Sherman Library and Botanical gardens in Corona del Mar, CA. An ideal time to visit during the holidays. Where have the avocados gone? Quelle tristesse, ou sont passés les avocats (fruits, pas les hommes?) https://thesherman.org
Not avocados as well! What’s left to eat in this diet crazy world! I live a few miles from the avocado capital of the world: Fallbrook, CA. Have they heard the news?? Their avocado festival draws 100,000 visitors each year. No guacamole in my life? Are you kidding? Where does that leave tacos, chiles rellenos and Superbowl dips??
Teslas in my mamans home town of Châlons-en-Champagne. It’s fun to follow the news of the town where my mother was born, and where my maternal great-parents lived until the early 1920s. I have been steeped in THEIR lives for the past 18 months—covering the Belle Epoque to the end of WW2, through their own handwritten legacy: a private journal and 70 family recipes. A gut-wrenching project, I assure you. Teslas in Châlons? What would be their reaction upon seeing this latest mode of transportation?
The Golden Door is selling vegetables from their garden. Did you know that our exclusive, world-famous neighborhood spa now has a farmstand open to the public? Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For details, visit goldendoor.com/a-way-of-life/country-store .
Makes you wistful: In memory of Lost French restaurants??
My favorite discovery of the month:
I just stumbled upon the most brilliant Wikipedia page called idiotismes gastronomiques. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_d%27idiotismes_gastronomiques_fran%C3%A7ais
Francophones and francophiles, you need to read this to enrich your knowledge of French and penetrate the French soul. So many terms of endearment and insults have to do with food:
Do you belong to le gratin, better yet, le gratin parisien? The Parisian upper class? Not I!
Tu n’es pas dans ton assiette ? You are not in your plate? Are you not feeling well??
Mon bout de chou: my little piece of cabbage, is what my mother used as a term of endearment
Prendre de la bouteille, to acquire the bottle, applies to all of us : it means to grow old! It goes with prendre de la brioche, to acquire some brioche…to gain weight.
My father was always guilty of this, even when he grew older:
Appuyer sur le champignon, to push on the mushroom, or push on the gas pedal.
And this I learned from my mother: Elle a bu le bouillon d’onze heures…she drank the broth of the eleventh hour…the potion which will send you to the next world.
PASSEZ UN BON L”HALLOWEEN…