From Toll House cookies to key lime pie, baked goods are among the foods Americans do best. And yet there’s still something stomachache-inducing about the thought of devouring a hefty slice of pecan turtle cheesecake at the end of a three-course French meal. So I was surprised to read in a French magazine that a New York pastry chef, Alison Johnson, had crossed the Atlantic to work at the one-star restaurant Jean. It seemed to me that hiring an American pastry chef in Paris was like recruiting Australians to fight bulls in Madrid.

“Taillev-…uh, Jean,” answered Jean-Frédéric Guidoni when I called the restaurant to find out more. He had worked 20 years (mostly as first maître d’hôtel) at one of the world’s great restaurants, Taillevent, before striking off on his own and buying Jean nearly seven years ago. I… More…

How best to worship the perfect breast? Men have long dreamed of sipping fine wine from their lovers’ busts cast in glittering crystal. In antiquity, a temple on the island of Rhodes displayed a goblet believed to have been modeled on the breasts of Helen of Troy by her paramour Paris. In the Middle Ages, love-besotted French king Henry II had his wine cups fashioned on the “apple-like” breasts of Diane de Poitiers. And in the late 1700s, the legend sprang up that Queen Marie-Antoinette’s breasts were the model for the shallow, broad-rimmed champagne coupes that are still often used today. (Although the modern fashion is more for the tall, thin and very un-breast-like champagne flutes).

There is no evidence at all that this is true of Marie-Antoinette, although the Queen did have a passion for bubbly. If nothing else, her ample figure, admired by her letch of a father-in-law… More…