Interlude

Japan on My Mind

Moss garden
Moss garden at Gio-ji temple in Arashiyama (Kyoto).

I seldom invite world events to appear on Chocolate & Zucchini, because we live in an age of such hyperinformation that we don’t need — and often don’t want — to see the same topics on the news and on the food blogs we read.

But in light of what has happened in Japan, what is still happening in Japan, and what I fear is going to happen next in Japan, I need a bit of time before we go back to our regular programming.

There is little we can do but despair over the nuclear crisis, but what we can do now is contribute however much or little we can to the emergency relief effort for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

My friend Chika has set up a fundraising page to support the International Rescue Committee, and Tamami has created one in favor of Save the Children.

Beyond these initiatives, Elizabeth Andoh, who runs A Taste of Culture in Tokyo and Osaka, suggests making donations to Doctors without Borders, NetHope, or International Medical Corps.

Edited to add:
~ Reader Filicophyta sends a link to NPR’s list of organizations taking Japan tsunami donations,
~ Reader Eri sends a link to detailed list of organizations edited by Devex,
~ Reader Viviane has set up a fundraising page benefiting Red Cross Australia,
~ Reader Moonstruckinmt points to Jason Kelly’s Socks for Japan initiative,
~ Reader Stacey sends a link to a fundraising page in favor of ShelterBox.

C&Z Turns Seven!

Heart stencil

Today marks the seventh anniversary of Chocolate & Zucchini, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers, for being here.

The past seven years have been, without a doubt, the fullest and the most exciting of my life, and it is in large part thanks to this blog and to you.

I feel lucky to have such an enthusiastic, curious, kind, positive, funny, helpful, thoughtful, articulate, inspiring and well-informed crowd gathered here, and it is an honor and a joy to converse with you.

To celebrate this anniversary, I want to invite you to get together in Paris, and my proposition is twofold:

On Saturday, October 16, you can join me at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France from 11am till noon, for a discussion on food blogs (in French) as part of a series of talks called Les Samedis du Savoir. (The event is free and open to the public.)

And on Sunday, October 17, please come and have a drink with us at Café Charbon; we’ll be there from 7pm (109 rue Oberkampf in the 11th, see map).

I hope you can make it to one or both of these occasions, and I look forward to meeting you in person.

(Note: neither of these is a booksigning event per se, but if you own one of my books, feel free to bring it along; it will be my pleasure to sign it.)

C&Z turns 5!

Three Macarons

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Chocolate & Zucchini — and, I might add, the first anniversary of its French version. My first impulse was to comment on the fact that time flies, it seems like only yesterday, or something to that effect, but the truth is, I find it so extraordinarily difficult to remember what my life was like before I started C&Z, it’s almost embarrassing.

Creating this blog five years ago has undoubtedly been among the most life-altering decisions I’ve ever made — up there with giving up thumb sucking when I was eight, and switching to contacts when I was fourteen. Chocolate & Zucchini has since done so much for me, it has become so familiar and indispensable a part of my life, I think of it practically as a family member.

And I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you, readers of C&Z. If it weren’t for you, your visits, your comments, your emails, your participation in forum discussions, and, in general, what you bring to this not-so-virtual table, I don’t think I would have come this far, learned this much, or had this much fun. So, thank you, your support means the world to me, it truly does.

As has become the tradition, Maxence and I will host a get-together in Paris in mid-October; I am still ironing out the details — organizational skills? what organizational skills? — but they will be announced v. soon.

Perhaps you’d like to hear about a few things that have happened since we last celebrated C&Z’s anniversary? Here goes: my first cookbook, Chocolate & Zucchini, was published in France under the title Chocolat & Zucchini; my second book, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, came out in the US; I was offered a column in ELLE à table, the food edition of the French ELLE (I accepted); and I started working on an idea for a television show — the project is still in its early infancy, but I should have more on this in a few months.

And on a more personal level, I embraced the lifelong, glorious role of being somebody’s aunt: my nephew is now 6 1/2 months old, and I am happy to announce that he has just started eating puréed zucchini with great enthusiasm.

And before we part, please accept this little anniversary gift: I have created online maps of the restaurants and shops featured in Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris — I hope you find them useful in your explorations of the city.

~~~

The celebratory macarons pictured above (pistachio, raspberry, dark chocolate) come from Grégory Renard‘s shop, located at 120 rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 7ème (01 47 05 19 17).

Bastille Day

Bleu Blanc Rouge

[Blue, White, and Red]

Today is the French national holiday, known in the English-speaking world as Bastille Day, but simply referred to as le 14 juillet in France.

I wish I could offer some sort of culinary tradition tied to this holiday, but as I explained in this past post, there is none: the celebrations revolve mainly around fireworks, military parades (I had to interrupt the typing of this post to watch the planes cross the sky above us, on their way to the Champs-Elysées), and dances. There may be grilled merguez vendors on the sidewalk here and there, but that’s about it.

That’s not to say, however, that one can’t have a blue, white, and red lunch to mark the occasion: something tomato (say, a salad of coeur de boeuf tomatoes), something dairy (such as a Bordier yogurt from Saint-Malo), and something blueberry (ideally, a blueberry tart).

Joyeux 14 juillet! How are you going to celebrate?

Croissant Religieuse Cupcake Wallpaper

Cupcakes (green)

Inspired by the brush tutorials that Delphine has published on her ever delightful blog, I have whiled away a few air travel hours drawing three edible wallpapers* to be used as a background on your computer desktop**.

(Please note that these backgrounds are for personal use only and not for republishing. If you wish to use them on your website, myspace page, etc., please contact me for permission.)

After the jump, you’ll find the cupcake wallpaper, the croissant wallpaper, and the religieuse wallpaper. Each of them comes in three shades, so you have nine to choose from. Enjoy!

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