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Le Weekend, 6/17/22: Father’s Day, Django Reinhardt, Peonies & a Gateau Reine de Saba 🇫🇷🇺🇦

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June 17, 2022

Dear Frenchly Readers,

This weekend is Father’s Day in both France and the U.S. We published two pieces this week with that in mind: The first is a lovely memory piece by our writer, Peter Nichols. It’s called “My Father, Jazz Manouche & Me.” As always, no matter if he’s writing about Jules Verne, a sexual cult in Paris or a new English show on Prime that takes place in Provence, Peter brings wit, a whiff of nostalgia and such precise and evocative writing.

Also, our dear Catherine Rickman, who has been trotting around France to write a series of travel pieces for us, also published a piece this week about a new show in Paris featuring Picasso and his relationship with his eldest daughter. The show sounds odd and also intriguing. I found it particularly interesting because my own father is a visual artist and there’s a peculiarity to being your parent’s subject that I like to read about and think about as a mother/writer myself. I once did an audio piece for WNYC on PRI’s Studio 360 about my father drawing me. It is here if you want to take a listen.

Every Father’s Day, I make my husband, Dan, homemade bagels and we put a big vase of peonies on the table and Dan and I often murmur lines from our favorite Jane Kenyon poem, “Peonies at Dusk.” We all really look forward to, well, all three things, honestly; it’s the start of summer and a day to let Dan sleep in and get some kudos for all he does for us. This year, he’s offered to finish part of my Mother’s Day gift, which is framing and  hanging family pictures and our kids’ art, as a part of his day. I think that’s a lovely (but unnecessary) gesture from him. He says he likes the idea of us working on it together.

In other news, this week Président Emmanuel Macron traveled to Ukraine with other European leaders to deliver the message that France has not left Ukraine’s side. “We are and we will remain by your side in the long run to defend your sovereignty, your territorial integrity and your freedom…This is our goal, we have no other and we will achieve it,” he said.

I have been trying to show Frenchly’s solidarity with Ukraine since the war began, either by writing about it, or, putting the little Ukrainian flag in my Le Weekend title, as small and sometimes lame a gesture as that seems. Some weeks it shows up as garbage characters in the subject line due to some bogus coding and that makes me sad because I want the world to know I have not forgotten. The Ukrainian fight for independence and the people and animals and woods, fields, mountains and shores of Ukraine matter to me. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel how seriously this war, which may seem distant to us when it’s not on the front pages, will indeed impact the entire world in the coming years or even decades.

Cook, watch & read ce weekend  (Cuisinier, Regarder et Lire): 

Ok, watch first: So, Andrea Meyer has a new, terrifically written review of a new series on HBO called Irma Vep. It’s a timely reboot of the 1996 Olivier Assayas movie of the same name, and he also directed the series. It sounds totally fantastic. I am hoping Dan and I can start it tonight.

Read: You don’t have to venture very far to read some really great stuff on Frenchly this week. Catherine gave me a new 48 Hours piece, this time in Bordeaux. Even if you can’t make it to the actual city of Bordeaux, this piece itself is a great vacay.

And my next list of things to read requires an introduction: I had the idea this spring to reach out to my alma mater, Brown University, to see if I couldn’t hire a Brown intern for the summer to help me with the growing Francophile beast that is Frenchly. And boy did I hit the jackpot! Charlinda Banks joined me a little over two weeks ago. She is a rising junior at Brown who previously went to a French school from kindergarten through high school. The same week she started for me, she moved to Berlin for a summer program, got Covid, and has somehow already managed to translate 2 pieces from French Morning, write a piece about 7 Francophone musicians for summer listening, update a piece about LGBTQ+ politics in France and another about fun outdoor things to do in France this summer, she wrote a list of 7 queer films  in French to stream this June (or whenever), she’s been editing, she’s been helping organize our calendar, she’s been proofreading—this woman is a gift to the world! I am beyond blessed. I hope you all will help moi welcome Charlinda and also that you’ll read and share her work and send us notes about her writing—don’t forget she is only 20, and a newly minted twenty at that!—so please send her some good vibes!

So, next week we are going to have a cookbook giveaway for the Maine Community Cookbook, which you can still get at a 15% off discount here with this code: FRENCHLY15.  As you know, I have a gluten-free pizza crust recipe in the book. Though we planned to publish two Acadian recipes from it two weeks ago, we had a little technical snafu and now will get those ready for you next week along with the giveaway! Stay tuned. The book is officially published on June 25th and it’s going to be a big hit in Maine, and beyond.

Cook: Did any of you make that fraisier last weekend? Ooh-la-la was that good??? I made it for my boys and some friends they had over to celebrate school ending and everyone had seconds! I saved a little piece for my dear friend Selina’s two kids and they decided to share it with their parents– somehow they parceled it out.

At a later date, I’ll tell you all my cake theory of life, but you probably get how much I love making cakes already. Ok, so this weekend, my older son is performing (again!), this time in an evening tap performance. Which calls for a cake with chocolate and maybe the tiniest hint of coffee, because Saturday will be long and late and my older boy loves both chocolate and coffee (decaf). I’m hoping there might be a bit left over for Dan come Sunday evening after bagels and picture hanging, as he might need a little afternoon pick -me-up alongside a nice cup of tea.  This cake is called the “Gateau Reine de Saba” and it’s from the amazing, gorgeous Nigella Lawson. Let me know if you make it!

À bientôt,

Caitlin.

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