How Did Boeuf Bourguignon Become a Classic?

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon 2

If you’re like me, you like to sample classic French dishes while visiting the City of Light: coq au vin, pot au feu, blanquette de veau, steak tartare … the list goes on and on. But one of my favorites—and a French classic that also I enjoy making at home—is boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy). But how did this dish become a French standard? Like many traditional French recipes, its roots lie in “peasant foods”–dishes that were staples over the centuries for the poor and the working class. Continue Reading →

A Fascinating Study of France’s Military History

World War I tank

One of the most fascinating museums in Paris is one that probably turns off a lot of people just from its name—the Musee de l’Armee (Army Museum). But France has such a long history—including centuries as the dominant power of Europe, and the French military has played a significant role in the building of the nation through the ages (and it’s downfall at certain times, including Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo that ended his rule). And because much of both World Wars were fought on French soil, visiting the Musee de l’Armee is as much a lesson in world history as it is a glimpse at the weapons, soldiers and warfare of the past half century. Continue Reading →

Celebrating Easter (Paques) in Paris

High-end chocolate Easter egg

Nominally Catholic—but in reality mostly secular—France does, indeed, celebrate Easter (called Paques in French) every year. But the celebrations in the City of Light are not nearly as Jesus-y for the faithful or as candy-filled for the non-church-going as are those for Americans. Yes, all of the churches throughout Paris will hold a series of masses on Easter Sunday. And yes, sweet treats are an integral part of Parisian Paques family traditions, including Easter eggs. But that’s where the similarities between Easter in the U.S. and Paques in France end. Continue Reading →