Emily Isaac, former pastry chef at
Union Square Cafe, has opened a great little patisserie in my hood. Trois
Pommes sells excellent muffins, fruit tarts, cupcakes, and other homey American
desserts with a French accent. Emily also carries bread and
croissants from Balthazar, and her staff is so nice! Prior to Trois Pommes, what passed for a muffin on Fifth Avenue was
In similar news, Gorilla Coffee just
started carrying almond croissants from Ceci Cela, so the situation for writers looking to load up on butter and caffeine while we write is looking
I ordered pastry from Trois Pommes
for a Grey Goose tasting I did in Yonkers the other week. The little blood orange and lemon
meringue tartlets were superb and so pretty:
And fresh, crunchy palmiers:
Emily was kind enough to share this
whoopie pie recipe with me. I am so excited to test drive it this Sunday, after
which I will add more detailed instructions. Her whoopie pies are amazing -- a soft, devils-food like cake with a spicy chocolate flavor and fine crumb, filled with what I believe is a vanilla
buttercream. (See this earlier post for a buttercream recipe.)
WHOOPIE PIE A LA TROIS POMMES
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
Add: 1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (room temp)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Sift together and add at end:
1 3/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
I guess she spoons or pipes the batter onto parchment lined sheets? Not sure, will try this out. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Let cool, then sandwich with buttercream.
My brilliant writing teacher Steve Friedman has a new book of essays out about the dark side of top athletes. I asked him what his favorite one was and he said "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Scott Williamson," so I read that one first, on the plane ride out here to Syracuse. The book is worth buying for this essay alone. A profile that is written in the second person! It is about a long distance hiker who once hiked from Mexico to Canada and back again.
Steve is the only writing teacher I've ever had who actually helped me. He taught me that things that are not named have more power. He taught me to be content with what I do well rather than reaching for something beyond my current powers. I also dug his attention to rhythm: the cardinal virtue, both in writing and in life.
Speaking of which, Ethan's teacher Sophia also has a new book out, a compilation of the writings of her friend Joan Grant, the legendary psychic. I'm looking forward to checking this out. Sophia is, at eighty-ish, the most beautiful woman I know.
As for the mot juste, you are quite wrong. Style is a very simple matter: it is all rhythm.
Once you get that, you can't use the wrong words. But on the other hand
here am I sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and
visions, and so on, and can't dislodge them, for lack of the right
rhythm. Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper
than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long
before it makes words to fit it; and in writing (such is my present
belief) one has to recapture this, and set this working (which has
nothing apparently to do with words) and then, as it breaks and tumbles
in the mind, it makes words to fit it. But no doubt I shall think
differently next year.
The goddess of love from Greek mythology. Venus to the Romans. She is sweet and irresistible, and she rides in a swan-drawn chariot. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite sprang up from the foam of the sea after the titan Cronos killed his father Uranus.
And so soon as he (Cronos) had cut off the members (of his father) with
flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were
swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around
them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she
drew near holy Cythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to
sea-girt Cyprus, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet.
Her gods and men call
Aphrodite, and the foam-born goddess and rich-crowned Cytherea, because
she grew amid the foam, and Cytherea because she reached Cythera, and
Cyprogenes because she was born in billowy Cyprus, and
Philommedes because she sprang from the members. And with her went
Eros, and comely Desire followed her at her birth at the first and as
she went into the assembly of the gods. This honor she has from the
beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and
undying gods,-- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits
with sweet delight and love and graciousness.
In Homer's Iliad, however, she is described in book five as the daughter of Zeus and Dione. After Aphrodite is wounded in battle trying to protect her son Aeneas, she flies away to the arms of Dione, who comforts her. I love this passage. I love the opposition between the fierce virgin goddesses and the soft goddess of love. What place does Love have on the battlefield?
Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess, spear
in hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those goddesses that
can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or Enyo the waster of cities,
and when at last after a long chase he caught her up, he flew at her and
thrust his spear into the flesh of her delicate hand. The point tore through
the ambrosial robe which the Graces had woven for her, and pierced the
skin between her wrist and the palm of her hand, so that the immortal blood,
or ichor, that flows in the veins of the blessed gods, came pouring from
the wound; for the gods do not eat bread nor drink wine, hence they have
no blood such as ours, and are immortal. Venus screamed aloud, and let
her son fall, but Phoebus Apollo caught him in his arms, and hid him in
a cloud of darkness, lest some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast
and kill him; and Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove,
leave war and battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling silly
women? If you meddle with fighting you will get what will make you shudder
at the very name of war."
The goddess went dazed and discomfited away, and Iris, fleet as
the wind, drew her from the throng, in pain and with her fair skin all
besmirched. She found fierce Mars waiting on the left of the battle, with
his spear and his two fleet steeds resting on a cloud; whereon she fell
on her knees before her brother and implored him to let her have his horses.
"Dear brother," she cried, "save me, and give me your horses to take me
to Olympus where the gods dwell. I am badly wounded by a mortal, the son
of Tydeus, who would now fight even with father Jove."
Thus she spoke, and Mars gave her his gold-bedizened steeds. She
mounted the chariot sick and sorry at heart, while Iris sat beside her
and took the reins in her hand. She lashed her horses on and they flew
forward nothing loth, till in a trice they were at high Olympus, where
the gods have their dwelling. There she stayed them, unloosed them from
the chariot, and gave them their ambrosial forage; but Venus flung herself
on to the lap of her mother Dione, who threw her arms about her and caressed
her, saying, "Which of the heavenly beings has been treating you in this
way, as though you had been doing something wrong in the face of
And laughter-loving Venus answered, "Proud Diomed, the son of Tydeus,
wounded me because I was bearing my dear son Aeneas, whom I love best of
all mankind, out of the fight. The war is no longer one between Trojans
and Achaeans, for the Danaans have now taken to fighting with the
"Bear it, my child," replied Dione, "and make the best of it. We
dwellers in Olympus have to put up with much at the hands of men, and we
lay much suffering on one another. . .
So saying, she wiped the ichor from the wrist of her daughter with
both hands, whereon the pain left her, and her hand was healed. But Minerva
and Juno, who were looking on, began to taunt Jove with their mocking talk,
and Minerva was first to speak. "Father Jove," said she, "do not be angry
with me, but I think the Cyprian must have been persuading some one of
the Achaean women to go with the Trojans of whom she is so very fond, and
while caressing one or other of them she must have torn her delicate hand
with the gold pin of the woman's brooch."
The sire of gods and men smiled, and called golden Venus to his
side. "My child," said he, "it has not been given you to be a warrior.
Attend, henceforth, to your own delightful matrimonial duties, and leave
all this fighting to Mars and to Minerva."
Last week, I got to dine with a professional goddess. Ah. . . Krista Ayne.
I just wanted to keep looking at her all night long -- the regularity of her features, the perfection of her skin, her curves. It was very restful. It was like going on vacation.
Is it shallow to love beauty? I used to think so. I used to much prefer the virgin goddesses. But the older I get, the more I appreciate Aphrodite's power.
Last night, a neurologist friend who studies degenerative diseases told me that the only two muscles in the body that do not atrophy are the muscles of the eye and the muscles of the penis. We both found this fact uplifting.
It's no use
Mother dear, I
can't finish my
soft as she is
she has almost
killed me with
love for that boy
So I'll get back to my weaving. Here's wishing all of you good luck in love. . .