March 18, 2022
Dear Frenchly Readers,
Lili Boulanger was a young French composer who struggled for most of her young life with chronic illness until she died in 1918 when she was only 24. Her sister, Nadia Boulanger, was also a composer. Their mother was a Russian princess and their father a music teacher in Paris. When Lili was only 19 years old, she won the Prix de Rome, the first woman to do so. I am new to Lili Boulanger, but here is a piece of music of hers that I am finding very moving right now. It is called “D’un soir triste.” She wrote it in the last months of her life.
The war continues. I have surpassed magical thinking and now inhabit a low, dull throb of continued horror, grief and helplessness.
Russian bombs have begun to fall on the outskirts of Lviv, the westernmost city of Ukraine. Lviv has been, for the last few weeks, a safe haven and kind of port for refugees to leave the country, and a gate for aid to come in. This week, we published our writer Angelika Pokovba’s essay about visiting Lviv when she was 15. She calls Lviv the “Paris of Eastern Europe.”
When and how this will end is very uncertain.
But this weekend, if it’s all I do, I want to give you two rays of sunshine: First off, we have a new Karen Karbo “Rue du Soleil!” Her brand-new series is about moving to and living in the southwestern city of Collioure. Only on Frenchly! If you missed her first column, here it is. And here is her second installment. It is charming and sweet and just so down to earth and human.
And, only on Frenchly, we have our first installment of a new monthly column called “Bouffe” by novelist, memoirist and food writer, Kate Christensen. Once a month, Kate will write about French food and supply a recipe for us all to try. Her first piece, here, is about socca, a Niçois chickpea pancake. Socca, you will see, is truly sunshine in a pan (and gluten free!) I am beyond thrilled to have Kate on my team –she is such an incredibly good writer and such a warm and fun person.
Remember joy this weekend. Open your windows, put on this fun song, “Strange,” by native Texan country singer, Miranda Lambert. Turn the volume up and maybe even throw a few steps when your kids aren’t looking. Or, better yet, pick them up and give them a twirl. Because….we only get this one rodeo.
Cook, watch & read ce weekend (Cuisinier, Regarder et Lire):
Thinking about Kate’s socca has gotten me hungry. And right now, as the days stretch longer, I’m liking the idea of making a socca and then serving it with some leeks vinaigrette and a nice chilled rosé. Somehow that seems like it might be the perfect lunch this Sunday after a morning spent raking the wet, muddy yard.
Watch: If you only watch one thing this weekend, take a second to watch Frenchly’s new video—we went to Cambridge, MA and asked people on the street of American’s brainiest city what they knew about France. This is a fun and sweet video that I think you will enjoy (and maybe you’ll even get a chuckle).
For fun, Call my Agent creator has a new show called, “Standing Up,” starting on Netflix tonight! It’s about four stand-up comics in Paris. We’ll have an in-depth review next week, but don’t wait for that—it might give you some much needed laughs this weekend!
On Frenchly this week we published a list of 12 Expat American writers living in Paris that you will love to get to know; a piece about a 95-year-old archeologist who is building his own Gothic edifice, stone by stone; and an election update from France.
For more reading, this is an incredible piece about two different refugee experiences at Poland’s border. It’s sad and enraging.
Lastly, up where I live, we’re tapping maple trees and boiling the sap down to make syrup. So, for Sunday afternoon, I’m thinking I might whip up this weird miso maple cake from Dorie Greenspan. I’ve seen it mentioned so many times in connection with her, I just have to try it. Maybe you will, too?