Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bastille Day 2013!

Doesn’t it feel like summer is whizzing past on super speed? August is just around the corner and I feel like the season is just getting going. Regardless of time, one of the highlights of my summer is always the FIAF Bastille Day celebration on East 60th Street! I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to attend the festivities every summer I’ve lived in New York.

Unlike other street fairs (of which there are many in this city) FIAF’s Bastille Day celebration is strictly French. My regular company (my friends Kyle and Patrique from my study abroad in Paris) were absent from the festival this year, but my mom finally made it down from Albany to join in the fun! 

This year I was able to see the festivities from a new perspective. I can easily see and enjoy that all the food, treats, books and other goodies being sold at the booths lining the streets have a French influence in a genuine capacity. A few of my friends walked the event and didn’t necessarily see how French it was. When I see Le Souk restaurant I know that Moroccan food is French food because it is a francophone country, that the long lines for crepes are justified, in a way, because no – you can’t get a walk-up crepe in New York like you can in Paris. The essence of the entire event screams France to me and it is what I love the most about it. Even though I don’t leave the streets of New York, or even the Upper East Side to get to it, I am transported by scents, the sight of tons of macarons and canelĂ©s, and by the in-and-out sounds of French conversations in my ears. To have all of this at once is rare and special to me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Call to Write: Sirens and Lighthouses

Summer is in sweaty, full swing in the city and I have my thoughts on crystal clear swimming pools, waves breaking on the beach and cooling off with cocktails. Luckily I will experience all of these things in the next two months. As August approaches I have vacation on my mind. When I was little my family went to Cape Cod every summer for a week or two. The rough, cold Atlantic ocean is a comforting place for me and filled with happy memories. When I think about the ocean my mind wanders to those mythical creatures I learned about when I was only 2 or 3 years old at the movies: mermaids. With mermaids and their siren calls to sailors I thought how perfectly paired green glitter mermaid stationary and the newest USPS Lighthouse stamps would be.

So here they are!:
GlitterMermaidsandLighthousesIt may be hard to tell in the photo, but those mermaids are indeed embossed in shimmering green glitter. 10 cards and 10 stamps just waiting to swim out to a whimsical friend, a seaside relative, or maybe an in-land dreamer.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

WINNER: A Call To Write: All-American Summer & Lobsters

I hope you've been having a nice, relaxing holiday weekend. I celebrated the 4th with family and friends and LOTS of delicious summer food; hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, steak, cold beer, margaritas and salty brownies. Your responses for ultimate summer foods made my mouth water! I'm looking forward to the weeks ahead where I get to revel in the summer's bounty. 

Now for the winner of the June stationary & stamps giveaway. This response included one of my favorite dishes to make and something that epitomizes summer vegetables for me. It was Hannah's comment about ratatouille!:

            Ratatouille, from The Art of Simple Food. One of the first things I'd ever cooked, 
            from the first cookbook I'd ever bought. 

            I'd moved to Pittsburgh for grad school, out of college dorms, out of home, and 
            knew I 
had to start cooking for myself or else I wouldn't eat. It was the very end of   
            summer, a couple of weeks to adjust to the city and a new climate before classes 
            started. I knew the dish by name from the movie, knew all the ingredients could be 
            purchased locally, knew that it'd be delicious. And it was. Whenever I make it, I     
            think of summertime, and how I began to learn to take care of myself.

I love Alice Water's Art of Simple Food, too, and I'm looking forward to picking up the new edition when it comes out in the fall! Hannah, please email me the address you would like me to send your stationary and stamps: theculinarylibrarian[at] 

In a couple weeks I will be posting July's giveaway and I am very, very excited for it! One word: glitter! Keep an eye right here for it!