A Getaway Between Pages

My favorite books are often those that evoke a unique sense of place.  I admit that I sometimes pick up books because they feature picturesque scenery, a cool city, or an exotic location on their covers.  Although these can simply be marketing ploys targeted at readers like me, I do have a few French-inspired favorites that allow me to mentally escape without leaving home…

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A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

This memoir not only catapults me to Paris, but it sends me to Paris in Hemingway’s golden era: the 1920’s.  It’s surprisingly readable and is best coupled with the historical fiction novel The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

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Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler

I read this during a recent vacation, and although I was on the beach, I was dreaming of jetting off to southern France to relive Karen Wheeler’s expat experience.  Her spontaneous move from England to France is the Francophile version of Frances Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun.

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Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart

Though not a “literary” book, Janelle McCulloch’s photo-filled Paris: An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart satisfies my frequent Paris hankerings.  McCulloch gives an arrondissement by arrondissement look at some of Paris’s hidden gems…and everything is so aesthetically pleasing, I get depressed about my distance from Paris all over again.


Eating Like a “Localvore” in the Twin Cities

“America’s healthiest city” offers plentiful options for “localvore” foodies.


“Zen” salad from French Meadow Bakery and Café in St. Paul

Among the qualities that make the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, according to recent news outlets, “America’s Healthiest City” are the opportunities to make a positive and healthy impact by buying and eating locally-sourced food.  While the country has seen its share of carnivorous Paleo-dieters and passionately compassionate vegetarians, a new breed of health-conscious Americans is becoming increasingly popular: the “localvores.”  With a hunger (pun intended) for food grown close to home, localvores seek nutrition at its source, striving to clock in the fewest possible number of miles from farm to table.

St. Paul alone is home to numerous resources for food that supports local farmers.  Julia Lynch, a sales representative at Golden Fig Fine Foods, believes one of the reasons her city has been recognized as the nation’s healthiest is accessibility to locally-grown produce.  She stated, “You don’t have to look that far to get healthy food.”  Lynch is one of many residents interested in keeping it local, believing that knowing what is in her food is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, she knows that supporting local farmers impacts the community and world in a broader sense, sharing, “If more people just ate what they could get more [locally]…you wouldn’t have nearly as much cost going into packaging.  We could get better, fresher food for cheaper if we didn’t have the competition between the gross, imported food that’s pre-packaged and processed.”

Like Lynch, Aaron Rice of St. Paul’s Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op is proud of his city’s locally-sourced options.  “It’s a wholesome environment.  It’s not processed.  It means more nutritious and healthy foods,” he said.  Mississippi Market and Golden Fig are among an abundance of localvore-friendly businesses in the Twin Cities, including Trotter’s Café, Birchwood Café, and French Meadow Bakery and Café, which recently opened a bustling Grand Avenue location.  Visit these and other spots in the area, say the localvores, to find fresh Midwestern fare close to home and see what America’s healthiest city has to offer.

Links to the aforementioned spots:

Golden Fig Fine Foods

Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op

Trotter’s Café

Birchwood Café

French Meadow