Monday, April 16, 2012

My little chef

While it's true that she's better at eating the pine nuts we toasted (that's what she's showing us in her mouth in this photo) than at actually adding them to the lamb meatball mix, Malanga Girl is quite proud of her sous-chef duties.

Sadly, I didn't realize until after we began our meatball rolling that the recipe called for one full hour of "mijote"-ing (roughly translated: cooking over a low flame) the meatballs in a delicious blend of tomatoes, more pine nuts and fresh mint. I'm no good at cutting corner on recipes, or apparently, at reading them through some nights. This meant our Girl had to go to bed before the meatballs were ready to eat. Malanga Papi and I, however, thoroughly enjoyed the dish. Now if only I could figure out where to get ground lamb meat anywhere but the high-end, gourmet market. Could it actually be true that you need a special grinder for lamb?

Monday, April 9, 2012


Years ago, I read a charming children's book called "Linnea in Monet's Garden." I didn't remember the title or the author, but when I read the description of Giverny in my big guidebook of France recently, the pictures and illustrations from this book immediately came to mind. The real-life garden and water lily pond where Monet painted were exactly what I expected when I saw them for the first time today. Isn't it nice when an image comes to life like that?

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Continuity of Parks

(I owe this title to the incomparable Julio Cortázar, whose remains are just a short walk away from me now in the Cemetery Montparnasse.)

The weather warmed up for a while there in March and we went to park after park after park. My memory is a dizzying blur of the Parc Monceau, the children's park at the Jardin de Luxembourg, the small children's play areas inside the Parc Sevres-Babylone and at the foot of the long stairs leading up to Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre. And the merry-go-rounds, oh, the merry-go-rounds! Malanga Girl rode one almost every day last week. There's the merry-go-round just outside the Abbesses subway stop (the Parisian metro station that is the furthest underground of all of them) in addition to the ones at all of the parks I mention above and the merry-go-round that goes in circles in my head as I replay the day while I am falling asleep at night.

In short, Paris in spring is a grand place to be a child.