Category Archives: blast from the past

The well-watched Frenchie

It isn’t hard to imagine how American television infiltrated France, just as much of American culture has been thrust upon the rest of the free world. But those Frenchies have made our TV shows their own.

You will be completely delighted by the French Dallas theme song:

Pour l’amour du risque (that would be Hart to Hart to us English speakers):

Starsky et Hutch:

Fraggle Rock:

Then there are several which have fabulously adorable names. See if you can guess what they are, then click on the links to see if you got it right:

Interestingly, France wasn’t blessed with one of my personal favorites, Family Ties:

And we didn’t get to watch such Frenchie classics as Hélène et les garçons:

What other American shows were popular in France? I hope you’ll write in and add to the list!


Nutella, the quintessential French breakfast staple, revealed!

A few days ago, I got a nice comment from the blogger at rumeursdunet, so I decided to check them out. And I found the closely guarded, TOP SECRET recipe for Nutella!


Holy shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I first discovered Nutella when I went to France during high school for a summer immersion program, and I was placed in a homestay in La Ciotat, a little port town near Marseille, right on the Mediterranean.

Sadly, the port had closed a few months before we’d arrived and something like 40% of the town was out of work. Those were dark times for the good people of La Ciotat. Someone I know even had his tube of Bain de Soleil stolen in broad daylight. A girl on another the exchange problem discovered a corpse in a bush while we were there.

I was placed with a family that apparently earned their livelihood through taking in exchange students like me. In fact, my family took in two others besides me. Plus they had four kids of their own. So that made nine people in a three bedroom apartment. It was pretty fun. I remember eating new and exotic meats: “Bugs Bunny” was one. The night we had horsemeat the kids all galloped around the table making neighing noises.

Back in those days, I was already an adventurous eater but helplessly addicted to chocolate. So imagine how my heart leapt for joy when I was placed in front of a table first thing in the morning and given a baguette and a big tub of Nutella. And my mother, who strictly forbade sugary cereals, couldn’t stop me. It was my first real taste of freedom, that first morning before the nutella jar.

I’ll never forget it.

So anyway, here is the TOP SECRET recipe which I was kind enough to translate not only from French, but also into our American cooking measurements. It did not come with instructions, just ingredients. I hope that someone out there will attempt this and write in with their results.

For one small vat of Nutella:

1/2 cup Hazelnuts

5T cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

8 1/2 cups Milk

5 T sunflower oil

5T butter

Plus two TOP SECRET ingredients, which apparently make up the real Nutella:

5T of escheria coli (which is supposedly an ingredient found in food markets that darkens the color of the spread). I didn’t know what that was so I googled it. And guess what came up? E. Coli!)

5 3/4 cup of carbamide (also allegedly available in specialty food shops, and gives the spread its texture. Again I googled it and it is an ingredient in teeth whitening products!

Yum yum yum, n’est pas?

McGreevey speaks on Larry Craig!

I love this guy.

Click here to read this fabulous editorial by James McGreevey, formerly closeted governor of New Jersey.

It’s a small world, part 3

Another post that has nothing to do with France but will be of interest to a certain contingency of my readers:

When Teri invited me to come to spend the day at her family’s beach cabana on Long Island, a little bell went off for me. I was suddenly transported to a cinderblock dorm room many years ago. There were photographs of the White House on one wall, and Georgia O’Keefe posters on another. And plop in the center of this flashback, propped on a red flowered comforter set was a beautiful, sad girl named Lucie who battled her homesickness by speaking incessantly about her fabulous life back home. And her job at her town’s Gourmet Cheese Shoppe. And her hot boyfriend. And her father’s several businesses. And her family’s beach cabana that was so fuckin’ dope.

So I said to Teri, “Hey, do you know Lucie?”

And guess what? It’s a really small world, isn’t it?


Here is Lucie’s family’s cabana.

Teri and Carolyn were intrigued, so I told them the story of how Lucie was a kind of misfit who fell into a pretty heinous depression that resulted in her staying in bed watching tv and not showering for days at a time. A heavy smoker of menthol cigarettes, Lucie was condescending to most people, and especially if you weren’t a republican.

Lucie eventually transferred to another school. She said she wanted to leave because her roommate Aimée and I weren’t willing to live with her the following year in the only triple available on campus: a converted funeral home with no sunlight, far from our other friends.

I’ve felt a little guilty about that for years, thinking maybe if I was a better person I could have stomached living in an isolated firetrap with a chain smoking republican who doesn’t shower.

But as Teri and Carolyn pointed out, Lucie must have done that transfer application MONTHS before. So she probably was going to transfer anyway, and leave us in the funeral home without giving it a second thought.