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My favorite photo — Paris

Heart and soul in the City of Love

Warm soufflés and the fine art of French flirting

I picked up some excellent tips on cooking and the fine art of French flirting during our recent trip to Paris.

The tres beaux Chef Erich taught me the former; my own two daughters taught me the latter.

It happened like this:

Katherine, who can whip up a perfect triple chocolate marshmallow cookie faster than you can say “oui!” took one look at our handsome instructor and forgot how to crack an egg.

“Kat-reen,” Chef Eric said. “You must hit the egg firmly on the table.”

“Like this?” Katherine, who had been successfully cracking eggs since the Bush administration (the George H.W. Bush administration), giggled a little.

I rolled my eyes and turned to Molly, my partner in sarcasm.

But, she was otherwise engaged.

“I’m trying to think of a whisking pun right now,” said Louie, a tall, precocious California teen-ager.

“Well, I’ve been whisking you had one,” a laughing Molly responded.

Mon Dieu! We’d only been in Paris a few short hours and already I hardly recognized my own kin.

I busied myself taking pictures while the two girls, the sweet teen, a mother/daughter duo from Pittsburgh and a Parisian couple helped Chef Erich whip up a cheese soufflé, a très délicieuse vinaigrette salad, and, best of all, a chocolate soufflé.

“Kat-reen will you help me serve dessert?”

“I’d be delighted, Chef Erich.”

Good. Lord.

I did pick up a few excellent soufflé cooking tips I’m happy to share.

1) Steam makes soufflés rise and crust traps the steam. That’s why you may want to add a layer of grated cheese to the top.

2) To avoid lumps, start whisking in the center of your bowl and work your way out.

3) Butter the ramekin in the direction you want your soufflé to rise.

4) Determine your whisk size based on the amount of air you want to add to your dish. Big speed equals big bubbles. Small speed equals little bubbles.

We all had a great time, ate some delicious food and shared a few laughs. We highly recommend La Cuisine, a cooking school located right on the banks of the Seine in Paris. And tell Chef Erich Kat-reen sent you.

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We were very excited to take our Parisian cooking class.

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Early on, I determined my most important task would be to digitally record the occasion.

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Molly, Louie and Chef Erich school the class in the fine art of whisking.

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“Kat-reen” forgot how to crack an egg.

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Fortunately, Chef Erich was there to guide her.

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Like this? she asked, having cracked a thousand eggs in her lifetime. Mon Dieu!

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Awwww. Look how they worked together!

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Our new friend from Pittsburgh has no idea what’s going on here between Chef Erich and Kat-reen and neither do I but this picture cracks me up.

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You can write your own caption to this picture. I’m very busy laughing.

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Voila!

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Not bad, am I right?

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The Souffle sisters.

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She scored the biggest chocolate souffle.

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I’m just sayin’ I had no trouble cracking, separating and whisking that egg. I may have to work on my flirting game though.

 

Tu es beau, Paris

Most days, Paris really does smell like a warm croissant — buttery, flaky, rich — and we enjoyed every delicious bite.

In our short time there, we found our way to 22 spots bookmarked by our most Excel-lent guide, Katherine.

Her glorious spreadsheet brought us to nearly every arrondissement in Paris — a slam poetry reading, a gypsy jazz concert, a cooking class, a très chic clothing store, a crepes restaurant, a falafel house

We walked 19 miles our first full day, drank tea on the Champs Elysees, lit a candle in Notre Dame, posed with tourists on the grounds of the Louvre, shared charcuterie and a bottle of wine.

Over and over we crossed the beautiful, swollen Seine River. We took a day trip to Giverny and Versailles, and then spent four hours seeing all that beauty captured on canvas at Le Musee d’Orsay. We toured Victor Hugo’s house, then traced his walking path through Luxembourg Gardens.

We ate a croissant every morning (pistachio was my favorite), and sipped a little wine every evening, tasted escargot, coq a vin and two different kinds of soufflé, and hilariously chatted as well as we could.

“What are you doing here?” asked the timid Norbert, who’d been forced to keep our company when the bar owner barked this at him: Are you afraid of American women? No? Then move over and let these ladies sit with you!

“We’re tourists,” Katherine replied.

“No,” Norbert said. “What are you doing here. There’s an English speaking place right up the road.”

Eventually, poor Norbert warmed up to us.

Our cooking class with the très beaux Chef Eric taught us the fine art of French flirting and how to crack an egg, but that’s a post for another day. I became obsessed with Claude Monet and that’s a post for another day. And, thanks to Katherine’s research, we discovered a young French jazz singer who blew us away and that’s a post for another day.

I snapped a few (hundred) photos. At the risk of making you feel like you’re trapped at a dinner party viewing our vacation slides, I’m sharing a few…

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This is the first picture I took in Paris and it marks the first of at least 100 times we walked across the Seine.

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I like this view of the Seine through a wheel of love locks.

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The Eiffel Tower and a moored river boat.

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The six continents outside Musee d’Orsay.

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Where all the famous writers used to gather…and some still do.

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My girls.

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I didn’t leave a lock, but I did leave a little something on the Locks of Love bridge over the Seine. You are beautiful, Paris.

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Katherine eating an eclair at Versailles.

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Versailles.

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Check out the guys trimming the hedges in the gardens at Versailles. Quite a job, no? There are thousands of those hedges.

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You could wander these gardens for days.

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Luxembourg Gardens

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A bridge over the Seine, the 67th time we crossed it.

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The boats remained moored the whole week due to historically high water levels on the Seine.

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The 100th time we crossed the Seine, we saw this gentleman playing the piano in the middle of the bridge.

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Brings the term street musician to a whole new level.

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Tres Magnifique!