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THINKING OF RODIN

There’s a scene in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris that takes place at the foot of Rodin’s The Thinker at the Musee Rodin. The scene features President Sarkozy’s lovely wife Carla Bruni as tour guide and Woody-esque dialogue among characters, but for me Rodin’s masterpiece is the center of attention.

The Thinker sits in front of and to the right of the 18th century chateau Hotel Biron, in the Seventh Arrondissement, not far from the Eiffel Tower. It was here Rodin lived and worked and created so many masterpieces. They are here, on the seven acres of manicured grounds that surround the chateau.

When I saw The Thinker in person, the shock of recognition startled me, and I sat on a bench and contemplated it the way The Thinker is contemplating. The image, planted in my mind’s eye long ago, was here before me fully formed, bigger than life, more powerful than I had ever imagined it.

As a younger man, the only thing I wanted to do was draw and paint. I studied painters, but never gave much thought to sculpture. At the Rodin Museum, I was struck by how much drawing and small scale sculpturing is required to create a piece. I walked the gardens with a new understanding of the art, the painstaking detail and the exceptional genius of Auguste Rodin.



Entertaining at home with JMR

The seasons change, but the classics remain the same: good food, good wine, good people, good times. And as the weather cools and the leaves turn color, nothing warms the body and spirit like homemade soup. Growing up, coming home from school, I would say to my mother “Let’s have soup!” and she would see what she had in the fridge and the freezer to incorporate into a tasty, home-cooked soup. I was never disappointed.

In that spirit, here is my own recipe for one of my favorite all-time classics, French Onion Soup. Let me know how you like it :).

JMR French Onion Soup

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 (12 oz.) cans of beef, chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Pepper to taste
  • Parsley to taste
  • 4 toasted French bread slices
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Cook onions in butter and oil just until brown. Add broth, water, pepper and parsley. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add white wine in last 5 minutes of cooking time. Arrange in 4 bowls, top with toasted French bread, Provolone cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly. Bon Appetite!



Recommended Reading



Hermes LookBook One
by Imogen Rose



Decorating in Detail
by Alexa Hampton




Country Cooking of France
by Anne Willan


Travel

My Night at Frenchie’s

When I started out that evening in Paris there was nothing on my agenda. I thought I would take a stroll and maybe have a glass of wine at a neighborhood bistro. If I was lucky I would maybe try my broken French on someone who might be totally amused.

It was January and there was a wet chill as I stepped out, and I thought for a moment that maybe I should stay in with a good book and a nice bottle of wine. But I turned off Rue Marie Stuart and north onto Rue Montorgeuil and in a few blocks came upon Rue du Null. The name sounded familiar, but why? Then I remembered a favorite French chef whose book I had read and admired had a restaurant on Null. His name is Greg Marchand and he goes by the name Frenchie. His restaurant was just down this street, and I wanted to see it.

When I got to the door I asked for a table for one. The doorman told me there were no tables available that evening, and not only that, you have to make a reservation a month in advance. I was crushed, but as I was walking out, a gentleman I don’t know touched my arm and told me to go across the street to Frenchie’s new wine bar. He assured me that the menu and wine were equally fabulous.

I took him up on the suggestion and was quickly seated at the wine bar with a Cote de Rhone.

The wait person spoke North American English and told me stories about growing up in Quebec City and why he loved living in Paris. Sitting next to me was a young lady enjoying a glass of wine as well. We started talking and I learned she too had come to Frenchie’s because it was her favorite cookbook. She was from San Francisco, so we talked about the West Coast, and I told her and my wait person that I had given Greg Marchand’s Frenchie cookbook to six of my dearest friends as Christmas gifts and I cooked one of his recipes for Christmas Eve dinner just a few days before.

As the evening progressed with pairings of fine wine, food and laughter I felt a gentle touch on my right shoulder. I turned around and there in the flesh stood Greg himself. I was totally shocked, and the first question he asked me was if I had brined the chicken dish I made for Christmas Eve. I had to say no, because it’s hard to cook in someone else’s kitchen. He assured me that it was a fool-proof recipe and was sure it was delicious.

I floated back home with memories of an evening at Frenchie’s, with Frenchie himself, Greg Marchand. Thank you, Greg!



Twelve Things I Can't Live Without (right now)

  1. Firewood Scented Candles by Henri Bendel (www.henribendel.com)
  2. Perrier water (a standard in my home for sparkling water) (www.perrier.com)
  3. Pidengbao leather goods and wallets. (www.amazon.com)
  4. My Bally of Switzerland men’s leather bag. (www.bally.com)
  5. Terre D’ Hermes Perfume by Hermes (www.hermes.com)
  6. Quiksilver Store — Seattle. Thanks to Pam de Luca, Olu Spencer, Meghan Hinojos , Briana Vozzo, Ari Andres, Oliver Villafuarte for keeping well supplied with cool shoes. (www.quiksilver.com)
  7. Steven Smith Teamaker — Amy Bourne, Beth Austin, Amanda Aiken, Michaela Maldonado, Nova Bartlett I want to thank you all for your fabulous hand crafted tea and the love you share. Hugs and Love. (www.smithtea.com)
  8. Fresh Cut Flowers.
  9. Peter Miller Books — If you like Architectural Design and great contemporary home items, this is the place. (www.petermiller.com)
  10. L’Occitane — This French bath and body products are awesome. My favorite is the Verbena Collection. (www.loccitane.com)
  11. My LG 7.0 Pad must travel with me at all times. (www.amazon.com)
  12. As always, my friends and family for being there when I need them most.