Happy New Year!!

I wish you all much happiness and good health in 2015!

The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections has a wonderful collection of vintage holiday postcards online. Below are some interesting ones. The one with the airship is horrifying to look at today but would have been very modern at the turn of the last century. I like the good luck symbols used in Europe, particularly Germany, the pig and the mushroom.











All images courtesy NYPL Digital Collections.


Coco Chanel – Happy Birthday!

“You live but once; you might as well be amusing.”
― Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel dans son appartement à l'hôtel Ritz,   François Kollar. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture

Coco Chanel dans son appartement à l’hôtel Ritz, François Kollar. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture

Appartement de Coco Chanel au Ritz : livre ouvert et lunettes. François Kollar. Ministère de la culture - base Mémoire

Appartement de Coco Chanel au Ritz : livre ouvert et lunettes. François Kollar. Ministère de la culture – base Mémoire

Les mains de Coco Chanel,  1930. André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l'architecture et du patrimoine.

Les mains de Coco Chanel, 1930. André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine.

Coco Chanel dans son appartement au Ritz, au téléphone, et jouant de l'accordéon. Ministère de la culture.

Coco Chanel dans son appartement au Ritz, au téléphone, et jouant de l’accordéon. Ministère de la culture.


Chanel’s collection. Paris, Autumn-Winter 1982. Carlos Gayoso, parisenimages.fr



“Bijoux de Diamants” jewellery collection created by Coco Chanel and presented at her place, 29 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Paris, November 7-19, 1932. Albert Harlingue. Photo from Parisenimages.fr


Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo beans are my favorite legumes- I like them mashed into hummus, fried into falafel, and lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. I tried fried garbanzo beans earlier this year at Levant and was smitten at first bite. Alas, I hate frying food so I’ve been on the hunt for an alternative.

I found a recipe on Chow.com for Spicy Oven Roasted Garbanzo Beans that I tested the first timeI made these. The chickpeas didn’t get as crunchy as I wanted so I had to stick them back in the oven. I used too much oil the first time and that didn’t help the sogginess. The flavor was great so I kept at it. I finally achieved success!

I’m not good with giving exact instructions but here’s roughly what I do:

Oven: 400 degrees F
1 can garbanzo beans- drain, rinse, and pat very dry
Scant tablespoon of olive oil
Spices- you can use cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, or whatever you like

Mix the very dry garbanzos with the oil and spices until the beans are well coated. Put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven, checking on them after 25 minutes. Shake the pan periodically so they don’t get too brown on one side. You might need to cook them up to 50 minutes or so depending on your oven.

Best to let them cool completely before storing in a container. Once they loose their crunchiness they’re very tasty added to salads or stir fries.

What’s your favorite bean/ legume recipe?


Agnès Varda, French New Wave Director

Patates (c)2000 Agnes Varda, From The Gleaners

Patates (c)2000 Agnes Varda, From The Gleaners

The first film I saw directed by Agnes Varda was The Gleaners and I, a documentary released in 2000. Varda talked to a variety of people who gleaned produce, junk, and materials to make a living or because they collect or hoard. I really liked the cinematography, the little snippets of Varda’s quirky life, and the way she connects with gleaners of kinds without judgment.

La Pointe Courte (C) Agnes Varda

La Pointe Courte (c) Agnes Varda

Ms. Varda started her career as a photographer and her visual sensibility is an important part of her films. La Pointe Courte was Varda’s first feature film, produced in1955. Philippe Noiret and Silvia Monfort star as a young married couple struggling in their relationship in the small town of La  Pointe Courte. It’s typically French in that there are no easy answers to life’s large problems. The cinematography is beautiful.

Currently she’s a Professor of Film and Documentaries at the European Graduate School (EGS).  Her father was Greek and her mother was French. She studied at the École du Louvre and the École des Beaux-Arts. She then went on to work at the Théâtre National Populaire in Paris as a photographer.

Cléo de 5 à 7 (c) CINE-TAMARIS

Cléo de 5 à 7 (c) CINE-TAMARIS

One of her best known works is Cléo From 5 to 7, a black and white film released in 1962. Filmed in real time, Cléo wanders through Paris while waiting for the results of a medical test she believes will indicate she has cancer. We overhear conversations in cafes, and random bits of everyday life while Cléo waits.

The Beaches of Agnes

The Beaches of Agnes

Her most recent film was The Beaches of Agnes, an autobiography, a reflection on turning 80, and a look back on her life and art. She includes a poignant look at her late husband, Jacques Demy, a filmmaker as well. (The Umbrellas de Cherbourg) See this New Yorker snippet review of the DVD.

Sue Agnes

Ms. Varda is barely visible behind the gray haired gentleman. I’m giddy.

On a recent trip to Paris, my sweetie and I went to a community yard sale/junk sale (vides-grenier). I sat down at a cafe and Todd wandered along the various stalls. He was rummaging though some CDs at Cine-Tamaris when he looked up and saw Agnes Varda! He hoofed it back to the cafe to get me and we hustled back to see if she was still there. I said hello and told her how much I love her films. It was the highlight of our trip.

The Criterion Collection has a number of Varda’s films available.

European School of Graduate Studies – biographical information

Art on Screen: A Conversation with Agnes Varda

Cine Tamaris is Varda’s company, which has descriptions of all her films.

Roger Ebert’s review of Cleo From 5 To 7

Espiral Vinho Rose

It’s been a hot summer so far, which is my excuse for not blogging more often. Today hit 91 degrees F, and with no AC, a chilled glass of rose is my first line of defense. (After a large glass of water, of course!)

This Portuguese rose is fruity and a bit sweet, and it has a subtle effervescence on the tongue. It smells like strawberries and cherries and is lightly acidic. Not a very substantial wine, I do really enjoy it on a hot day.

This is a Trader Joe’s offering and cost about $5.

Chateau de Campuget Rose Rhone Wine


This pretty pale blush wine looks so sweet and innocent but it’s actually more complicated than that. The aroma is of citrus with cherries but the first sip is bracing and crisp with a nice acidity to it. There’s a slight minerality on the tongue, which I like. There’s nothing sweet about this rose but it’s perfect for a hot summer day. Or a cool summer day as is often the case this time of year in the Pacific Northwest.

The grapes used are Grenache Noir (30%) and Syrah (70%).the bottle cost about $10 and I may buy a case. If you want a crisp rose, I highly recommend this.

Any new favorites or old standbys you like for the summer?