Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.
I was sitting at home earlier this week working at my kitchen table when I saw on Twitter that Notre Dame Cathedral was burning. I immediately started checking trustworthy news sources to get information. I was horrified as I watched the roof go up in flames, with smoke puffing and billowing into the sky. I looked at photos of people in Paris watching the same sight from the streets. The mixture of horror, shock, sadness, and disbelief on their faces registered strongly with me.
My mind immediately went to the first time I visited Notre Dame in 2008. I was studying abroad in central France and I went to Paris for the first time with a group of friends in my program. The two girls I was traveling with didn’t want to go see Notre Dame because they’d already been before, but I convinced them to make a repeat trip. I wanted to see the magnificent structure for myself.
I vividly remember walking through Notre Dame. Even though I was surrounded by throngs of tourists, peace pervaded almost every corner of the cathedral. The lights were dim and somber but light flooded through stained glass windows. Flames from candles flickered in the darkness. I’m not a religious person now and I wasn’t at the time, but I remember feeling something deeply spiritual. I was moved almost to the point of tears.
I also felt deeply entrenched in history. The 850-year-old cathedral has weathered so many chapters in French history. The past is sometimes difficult to define and even more difficult to reckon with, but in the cathedral more than 10 years ago, I felt like it converged peacefully in one room. Perhaps the cathedral is impermeable to the past. It stands, wise and grandiose, watching as life changes around it.
The fire destroyed parts of the cathedral but luckily, it’s still standing. Of course, this doesn’t preclude future damage. Work needs to be redone to rebuild the cathedral and try to prevent a similar episode. But I can breathe a little easier knowing that Notre Dame is safe, watching over Paris in its altered state.
Without further ado, here is Dimanche:
As I mentioned before, I was horrified when I saw the fire at Notre Dame earlier this week. I followed coverage about the incident and I’ve chosen a few articles that do a good job summarizing the news, history, and reactions. The always erudite Pauline Bock from New Statesman wrote this piece about Notre Dame as a symbol of French identity. This title of this story from The New York Times, “Why Notre-Dame Was a Tinderbox,” felt insensitive and jarring but the interactive graphic that follows is impressive. A Condé Nast Traveler piece from a Parisian food blogger resonated with me. It includes quotes from locals about their reactions to the fire. Finally, this Washington Post article gives more information about the fire and plans for rebuilding the cathedral.
On a happier note… It’s almost strawberry season and I’m pretty excited about it. I can’t wait to make these cornbread pancakes with strawberry compote. I’m going to devote one day this spring to canning strawberry compote and jam. Stay tuned. Get the pancake recipe from The Kitchn.
I’d highly recommend making a personal cheeseboard at least once in your adult life. I did last night and it was so satisfying. Mine had salami from Salume Beddu, local honeycomb that a colleague of mine who is a beekeeper gave me, Brie, goat cheese, crackers, and apples. I got the cheeseboard itself on sale here.
Speaking of honeycomb… I used some to make these lemon ricotta honeycomb pancakes this morning. Stay tuned for the recipe later this week on the blog!
I get very defensive when people insult Jane Austen. I’ve been rereading some of her books recently and I read Northanger Abbey for the first time earlier this month. I enjoyed this article about her subtly subversive language. Read more about Austen and her writing in this JSTOR Daily blog post.
Personalized shampoo is a thing now, apparently. In an age where more and more products are being customized, personalized shampoo is available to customers who want products to cater to their individual desires. The part in the article about the custom makeup is insane. Read more about it in this Wall Street Journal piece.
I enjoyed these tips for aspiring bakers. A food writer talks about how her time working at a local bakery made her a better baker. Check out her tips in this Food52 story.
French Chef Ludo Lefebvre serves about 216 escargots daily at both his restaurants in Los Angeles. That’s a lot of snails. The escargots are imported from Lefebvre’s native Burgundy. Read more about it in this Los Angeles Times article.
Last but certainly not least, Yotam Ottolenghi has a new hip hop song about him. British artist Loyle Carner, a food lover and Ottolenghi fan, wrote the song about the TV chef and cookbook author after an interaction he had while reading Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem on a train. Get more information in this Eater story.
Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.