Samedi prochain, c’est la chasse au trésor à Paris. Un moyen ludique de découvrir un des arrondissements de la capitale (ou même plusieurs si vous êtes motivés !)
Ce week-end, c’est le 11ème salon de la culture et des jeux mathématiques à Saint Sulpice ! D’anciens instruments scientifiques à de la dentelle au fuseau, il y a de quoi se divertir et s’instruire !
Mais aussi, ce week-end c’est l’occasion de (re)découvrir l’entrepôt MacDonald, le plus grand bâtiment de Paris, avant sa rénovation. Expos, visites du quartier, projections… sont au rendez-vous pour cette manifestation initiée par le Pavillon de l’Arsenal.
Ca ne vous convient pas ? Vous voulez plus de verdure en ce printemps hésitant ? Et bien, pourquoi alors ne pas allez profiter des journées portes ouvertes de l’Ecole du Breuil ? Visitez ses jardins et admirez les démonstrations et les expositions présentées à cette occasion.
Sur ce, bon week-end ! Et on croise les doigts pour la météo…
Kitchen Chinese is the debut novel by Ann Mah, an author and a journalist from California who’s currently residing in Paris. It recounts the story of Isabelle, a Chinese-American who moved to Beijing in an attempt to turn her life around. Outwardly Chinese but brought up in non-Asian environment, her adventure brought her to unexpected places, new experiences, awkward interactions (especially when compounded with expectation for fluency in the local language) and cuisine discovery but ultimately, love can also be found in a foreign land.
The novel is detailed and descriptive while successfully remain light-hearted and humorous at the same time. Like a feast, it is infused with just about everything that gives you a perfect insight into the life of an expat in a culture that perhaps belongs more to his/her ancestors.
We caught up with Ann to discuss about the book and to get to know her better.
- How much of yourself do you identify with Isabelle, the protagonist in Kitchen Chinese?
The book was inspired by my own experiences as a young Chinese-American woman in China, so Isabelle and I do share some similarities. But, ultimately, I chose to write fiction for two reasons. First, I think it’s difficult for someone in their twenties or thirties to write a memoir, when they don’t have a large breadth of experience behind them. Secondly, writing fiction allowed me to explore different angles outside of my own life — for example, romantic relationships. I was happily married when I lived in Beijing, but Isabelle is single and must navigate the dating scene in a foreign country and language. These experiences give her a greater understanding and acceptance of her cultural identity.
- What inspired you to write this novel?
I lived in Beijing for two years before I started writing Kitchen Chinese. At first it seemed so cliche to think that, as a Chinese American, I would have an epiphany about my cultural roots and want to write about it. But life as an expat made me start thinking about cultural vs ethnic identity and the experience of being a fish out of water. The need to process these thoughts was the seed that gave root to this book.
- Who provide you with food inspirations?
I worked as a restaurant critic and dining editor for a Beijing expat magazine and some of my fondest memories are of eating lunch with my colleagues. They introduced me to “jiachangcai” or homestyle dishes and were an endless source of information. Through them, I also started to learn more about Chinese regional cuisine, which fascinates me still. China is a huge country — about the size of the United States — and each region has its own diverse style of cooking.
- How do you view Chinese style dessert (tong sui) from what is norm in western world (pastries, cakes, pies etc)? (A friend once remarked any country east of Turkey doesn’t do good dessert!)
I’m not a big fan of dessert in any form. And Chinese desserts can be very sweet and sticky, filled with things like red bean or lotus paste that are definitely an acquired taste. However, meals in China usually end with fruit — it’s not unusual to finish a fancy meal with a plate of watermelon and cherry tomatoes (remember, tomatoes are a fruit!) even in the dead of winter!
- Which do you prefer and why: eating or cooking? Chinese or French cuisine?
Eating and cooking are twin passions of mine. But what I love most about them is the sharing. I don’t like eating by myself, nor do I like cooking for myself. But I do love the process of creating something and offering it to others — whether it be food or writing. As for Chinese vs French cuisine — I love them both. It’s like choosing between children!
- What is your favourite city and what do you love most about it?
My husband is a diplomat so we move often. As a result, I’ve had the chance to develop many favorite cities. For now, my favorite is Paris. I’d always dreamed of living here and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. I love the sweeping boulevards, the patina of history, the elegant Hausmannian facades, the passion for fine dining, and the unlimited access to unpasteurized cheese.
- Where do you hang out regularly in Paris?
The market on Boulevard Raspail (not the fancy Sunday marché bio, but the more humble Tuesday/Friday market). The wine section of La Grande Epicerie. A corner of the Luxembourg Gardens, where I like to sun myself and read the newspaper. The American Library in Paris for research and quiet concentration. La Laiterie, a restaurant in the 7th where I love their chalkboard menu, simple fresh food and casual atmosphere. Le Mistral, a cafe in the 20th, for coffee and friendship — my husband has been friends with the owners since he was an exchange student in college.
- What’s next?
I would love to write something set in Paris, perhaps about wine and a female sommelier. At least, the research would be fun!
Ann Mah will be speaking at the American Library (10 rue du Général Camou, 75007 Paris) on Wednesday 10 March 2010 (that’s today!!), at 7.30pm. She also blogs regularly and can be found tweeting at @AnnMahnet.
http://31decembreaparis.com/ propose de retransmettre en direct les festivités parisiennes du nouvel an donc où que vous soyez vous pourrez en profiter !
Si vous connaissez vraiment bien vos piscines parisiennes, ce concours est pour vous ! Vous avez jusqu’au 4 janvier pour associer chacune des 15 photos proposées à la piscine où la photo a été prise… Bon courage !
Tis the season for all things Christmassy (and so much more). A lot of people are out there shopping for all the niceties needed to celebrate. If you’re looking for some Swedish specialities, be they food or decorations, don’t miss the Swedish Christmas market this week-end at the Swedish church! Walk about with a mug of glögg and stock up on your marinated salmon…
9, rue Médéric
Vendredi 27 novembre 11 h – 20h
Samedi 28 novembre 11 h – 19 h
Dimanche 29 novembre 12 – 18 h
Also, soon it will time for the Swedish to celebrate Saint Lucy (December 12th). Have you ever tried Saffransbullar? It’s a kind of brioche made with saffron and while the result is a striking yellow colour, it’s really good!
As mentioned previously, there was a free concert and light show at the Place de la Concorde yesterday, to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here are a couple shots to give you a feel of it:
My friends (two whom are also fellow Metbloggers here) and I were at the Salon du Chocolat last week for a few hours of choco-loving. This was something that we did for the last couple of years together, and this year was no exception. Meanwhile, I resolved to not overspend this time round that I even limit the amount of cash I brought with me. What can I say? I lack self-discipline in face of delicious stuff…
Chocolate places that are normally easily found in Paris were a bit less on the priority as we paid more attention to exhibitors from outside of Paris and from abroad. Of course, it’s not all about chocolate. Other delights include macarons, praline, cupcakes, nougat, ice cream, fudge etc.
Musée du quai Branly is currently celebrating the Teotihuacan culture. Dubbed the City of Gods, it was a large city of Ancient Mexico steeped in cultural richness and absolutely fascinating in their way of life, politics, society, rituals, crafts, and certainly in their influences in other ancient societies.
It is well known that the Mesoamerican civilisations were the first to put xocolātl into conscious knowledge and subsequent reverence, and to this day, I can’t thank them enough for this wonderful discovery and cultivation of theirs. And in Teotihuacan, it was the Drink of Gods.
This weekend, in conjunction with the exhibition and cultural trail, Pierre Hermé is going to put his brand of magic through chocolate drinks. Four chocolate drinks, created based on inspirations drew from Mexican chocolates, promise to “retrace the history of chocolate through the ages, from the ritual drink of Teotihuacan to the present day”. It sounds so delicious already, isn’t it?
Therefore, either today (24th Oct) or tomorrow (25th Oct), between 2.30pm and 6.30pm, make your way to the foyer of the Claude Lévi-Strauss theatre at the musuem, enjoy the occasion and be inspired by the wonder of trickling hot chocolate conjured by the master himself. The event is free and open to all.
Better still, why not be there earlier and take some time to see the exhibition and learn the story of the Teotihuacan? There are also tons of other special programmes for this week, in the lead up to the All Saints Day on 1st November.
Ps: morbid as it sounds, the rituals of the deads really have me quite fascinated and a “Ball of the Deads” will be taking place on 1st November (that’s next Sunday) from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, with performances by Isaura Corlay and the ballet dancers of la Maison du Mexique. They will be accompanied by El mariachi Mezcal!
There are so much that we want to share and to tell you, but work is keeping us away from this blog. I certainly wish for some normalcy back in my life, but until that happens, I can hope for the best.
Now, here’s something you shouldn’t miss. And frankly, there’s no excuse to miss it either – you’ll see later what I mean by this. I know we have talked a good bit of the famous Parisian tower in recent months, but it is just such a significant landmark for celebratory events that we couldn’t help ourselves.
Tonight, a new fête begins.
Eiffel Group and its party/commercial partner Citroën are bringing 10 weeks of spectacular light show on the Trocadéro façade by using state-of-the-art LED spotlights. The colours will change and shimmer and do all the pretty little things in between. Against the dark night sky, it’s going to be fa-bu-lous.
For the opening night (i.e this evening!) the shows are running at 9pm, 9.30pm, 10pm, 10.30pm and 11pm. That’s every half-hourly between 9pm and 11pm. For 12 minutes (each representing 10 years of Eiffel Tower’s existence) of colour fest, it’s worth taking a pause to take in this eye-candy.
If you’re not in Paris (or whatever reason can’t make it all the way to Trocadéro), then login to Citroën Opération Tour Eiffel which will be streaming the show from 10 key viewpoints nearby. See, told you there’s no excuse to miss it. ;)
After tonight, there’s still plenty of time for you to catch the show in person. Until the 31st December, the light performance will be taking place on the hour between 8pm and 11pm, on a daily basis. And if you wonder what will happen to the bright sparkles, good news – they’re going to sparkle as usual for the first five minutes.
Now, that’s what I call double the merriment, double the joy, double the fun! Ah yes, and the Iron Lady will bask in full blown glory. :D
Ps: for more info, here’s the linky to Eiffel’s website.