About this blog
I'm an American expat from New Jersey living in Lille, in le Nord. I've been in France for most of the past 16 years, am raising 2 bilingual children and 2 bilingual cats and a husband. And I love food.
When I first came to France as a student (back in the last century) I didn’t know how to cook. It wasn’t until I moved here after graduating from college that I realized that cooking was my thing. And as I tried to prepare for my first Thanksgiving in France, I realized I couldn’t find many basic
items like brown sugar (non-existent in the south of France), cranberries (the American cranberry grower’s association had yet to hit the French market) and oatmeal (Quaker hadn’t arrived yet either!). As I came to adulthood in France, made friends, got married,
I wanted to share my culinary tradition with the people around me. It meant adapting and working around what I was able to find. And that’s without mentioning the trials and tribulations associated with weights and measures, oven temperature, the fat content of butter, the ash content of flour, the pharmacist who looked at my strangely when I tried to buy baking soda for cooking…the list goes on.
So I started experimenting more and more, searching the Internet for solutions on why my chocolate chip cookies were flat in France, what to use instead of buttermilk for my grandmother’s coffee cake recipe and how to make a cheesecake without cream cheese. When I started making my American food, French people would ask for my recipe which is the highest possible food complement in France. But to share the recipes, I had to let go of my American cups and spoons and buy a digital scale to help calculate the amount of grams in a cup of flour or the equivalent to a stick of butter in grams. It was a pain in the butt. And since I'm not well organized, I had to retranscribe it each and every time someone wanted one of my recipes. Boring!
So I adapted my American recipes to the products that were around me, readily available and far less expensive than the American exports products I could buy at American, English or Irish specialty stores in Paris and/or Lille. I also took out any steps I found to be superfluous…who needs to spend
time sifting flour if it’s just as good without ?
A large part of my basic recipes are adapted from my bible, The Joy of Cooking. "My" recipes are a product of my love of cooking, my will to share my American traditions, my laziness, and my desire to guide people living in France (whether you be American, French, both or neither!) who are struggling with making the perfect cookie, cheesecake, chicken soup or crab dip. The recipes are darwinized ie they have adapted and are constantly evolving. Survival of the fittest and all that.
I look forward to any comments and hope you’ll find delicious and simple recipes that you’ll want to share.