Book recommendations: March picks

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Seven Ages of Paris, by Alistair Horne

This is such a beautiful book, looking deep into the history of Paris through the ages, from Philippe Auguste in the 12th century, who essentially founded Paris as the major centre of French life, all the way through Henry IV, Louis XIV, the French Revolution, Napoleon, la Belle Epoque, the Occupation and the Resistance, and post-war life under de Gaulle. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you are a Francophile, which I will admit I am turning into. Continue reading

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Strawberry Dreams

I haven’t really made an attempts to hide that I have found this winter … tiresome? It’s been long, and gloomy, and the kids have been an extreme handful. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, for me, all of a sudden, with an abundance of strawberries. Spring is here, my friends.

Strawberries are such a decisive treat, aren’t they? People either seem to love them or really dislike them. But I think that mainly has to do with where and when you get them. There are some really good strawberries out there. You know, the small, sweet, juicy ones that come available late spring in Canada and are only around for a week or so. The giant hothouse ones you can get year round, not so much. They don’t really taste like much of anything and are kind of mealy. They don’t do much for me at all. People seem often very adamant about how and when strawberries are good.

I met a woman from Scandinavia who informed me that nothing on the planet was as tasty as Norwegian strawberries, which are only available for two weeks out of the year. I expressed my enthusiasm at trying them, and she gave me a disparaging look. “You can’t get them here,” she said. “You have to be in Norway to eat them. There aren’t enough to ship out anywhere.” She seemed offended at the thought of her Norwegian strawberries going anywhere else. Apparently people make pilgrimages to eat these things. I had no idea, but I appreciate learning these things. Maybe one day I too will make a Norwegian strawberry pilgrimage. Continue reading