French Friday with Dorie: Desserts with a French Accent

dorie greenspan smithsonian

I will be upfront: I made the bonne idee for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie selection, Beatrix’s Red Kuri soup.  Instead of making soup with red kuri squash, I used the suggested cubed butternut squash and chestnuts substitution. I didn’t care much for the soup.  In hindsight, it could have used a punch of spice because otherwise, it felt like pumpkin-peanut butter soup.  I wish I had tried the real thing, though.

But I did have a wonderful, true French Friday with Dorie Greenspan last week.

We spent almost a week in DC, taking in all the history, culture and great food we were able to handle.  One of the highlights of our visit was coinciding with a Baking Chez Moi event sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates – Desserts with a French Accent.  Joe Yonan, food and travel editor for the Washington Post, interviewed Dorie for about an hour.  Having listened to her keynote address at last year’s IFBC and some her most recent podcast interviews (thanks to Betsy and Teresa), I was especially happy when the following the following tidbits surfaced during the talk:

  • Joe Yonan asked if she had thought there was a link in her academic background (all but dissertation graduate work in gerontology) with the rigorous work that goes into developing baking recipes.  She seemed truly taken aback by the possible relationship between both, while stressing that baking is more forgiving than what we may think.
  • Back when Dorie and Michael were students on a TIGHT budget, she would still do her grocery shopping at the local butcher.  She was always able to put good food within their means on the table while learning how to tame those tougher cuts of meat.
  • “Recipes are made to be passed along.  Once you receive a recipe it’s yours to reinterpret and play around with.”  What a great quote and what a great gift.
  • Dorie, in one of her first meetings with Julia Child, actually witnessed Julia doing Dan Aykroyd’s Julia Child impression. To be a fly in that wall!
  • She originally turned the job for writing Baking with Julia.  After a difficult six-month stint working at Food Network (!), she called the publishers and Julia to ask they found anyone to write the book.  The rest was history.
  • The two questions Julia Child would ask Dorie every time she would return from Paris:  “Is the food still good?” and “Do they still sell cooked beets at the market”
  • An especially fun tidbit – when Dorie was addressing the hard time she had convincing her publishers to include weighted measurements in the book, she asked for a show of hands of how many of the lecture attendees actually used them.  Over 80% of the audience’s hands shot up.  She was so surprised she took a cell phone picture!
  • I took comfort over this gem:  “There are so many things we don’t do well on the first, second or even third time”.

dorie greenspan smithsonian

dorie greenspan smithsonian

dorie greenspan smithsonian

Traveling light – just the book jacket and the pre-ordering gift!

dorie greenspan smithsonian

dorie greenspan smithsonian

It goes without saying that she was absolutely wonderful with us – even Eduardo got a hug and two kisses.  When I asked her about her favorite DC bakeries, she turned us over to Joe Yonan.  He was incredibly gracious with us, talking for well over ten minutes and giving us some recommendations for places to visit that were uniquely DC.  We visited one of the restaurants he recommended and were floored.

Another highlight of our DC trip?   Meeting fellow Dorista Jora!

Although we weren’t able to attend the same BCM event, I was happy to meet another Dorista.  As you can imagine, we settled into that comfortable rapport typical of our group.   That’s what happens after cooking and blogging together for 3+ years!  She was a sweetheart and we agreed that there needs to be an East coast reunion soon.

I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings – and enjoyed the red kuri soup and its variations more than I did.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where home cooks from all over the world work their way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  For everyone’s fall soup links, click here.

GreatFood360˚ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  We would be earning a small percentage of store credit for each good purchased through the provided links.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

13 Responses to “French Friday with Dorie: Desserts with a French Accent”

  1. November 28, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Wonderful post Adriana, I attended a talk in Chicago on this book tour and honestly could have listened to Dorie talk FOREVER. And yes, she’s so very sweet!

  2. November 28, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    I love the stories about Dorie and Julia. So funny that the publisher didn’t want to put weights in… any one who is a serious baker uses weight?
    I didn’t follow the recipe because I make a lot of soup and I could tell from reading it that it would be flat. If you roast the squash and use vegetable or chicken broth it’s delicious.
    Lovely that you meet Jora. I just love how we all click when we get together.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. November 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Lovely post. I so enjoyed reading about Dorie’s talk and your meeting with Jora. Jealous on both counts!

  4. November 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    Oh, what fun you had!!! Dorie AND Jora! Love that. And I wasn’t enamored with the soup even with the red kuri squash…I think it needed a boost of spice, too 🙂

  5. November 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy the soup, but the next recipe will be better, hopefully. I loved hearing the Dorie tidbits. I just love her. She is so down-to-earth and approachable. Looking forward to being a participant in your next Dorista meetup 🙂

  6. November 29, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    I’m sorry the soup wasn’t a hit for you (though pumpkin-peanut butter soup sounds like the perfect meal for a storybook character). It sounds like the BCM event you attended was fantastic! And so glad you got to see Dorie, Jora, and Betsy!

  7. November 29, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    How fab to meet Dorie and another Dorista! I made the soup with a random pumpkin that didn’t go well.

  8. TheKitchenLioness
    November 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Adriana, lovely post – I almost went the butternut squash route as well (it is one of my favorite squashes) but since we are so lucky as to have an abundant supply of red kuri squash, I didn´t – I am curious as to the taste of your butternut squash soup with marrons though.
    Have a nice weekend,

  9. November 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Sorry the soup didn’t work for you. Adriana your post is so lovely, and such a wonderful week you have been having meeting a few of the Doristas. Such fun. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  10. November 30, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Adriana, this was such a great post! I love all the little tidbits! So much fun–and thank goodness, too, since you didn’t like the soup.

  11. December 1, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    Love this! I especially liked the comment that recipes are meant to be played around with (since I can’t follow a recipe to save my life).

    Hope you made it back home safely!

  12. Mary Hirsch
    December 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    What a great, great, great Post. (It’s okay that you didn’t like the Bonne Idee.) Every time I read about one of Dorie’s meet-greet-and-sign presentations, I continue to wonder how she does it. She has been “on the road” for so many weeks and doesn’t even look exhausted. It was so nice of you to take the opportunity and make the time to see her, Adriana. It must be as gratifying for her as it is thrilling for each of the Dorista’s that have seen her. Going to DC for a week is a wonderful idea. There is so much to see and do (and, eat). Every time I have the opportunity to be there, it’s never enough time. Enjoyed the pictures.


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