Ajiri Aki knows how to have a good time. Whether she is looking for antiques for her brand, Madame de la maisonor run outside the office for a long time Stay in Provence, she dedicates herself to finding joy in it all – the food you eat, the places you travel, the conversations you have with friends and family. Alagiri defines the primary components of joy as “curiosity, creativity, communication, and celebration.” Everything can be discovered even in the most mundane of moments, if Your eyes are tuned in to see them.
I feel fortunate to have called Ajiri a friend, and I am so happy that she is sharing her perspective with the world through her new book, Joy: A Parisian Guide to Celebrating the Good Life. When Ajiri came to Austin a few weeks ago, I invited a few ladies over to a backyard outdoor restaurant to celebrate her amazing new book. Scroll on for our simple yet amazing snacks, plus my interview with Ajiri on what makes gathering truly joyful.
How did your new book, aerialCome to become? Give us the backstory.
In January of 2020, I was celebrating my 40th birthday in New York City with my old friends, and I realized how much I had changed since then. Moving to Paris. What was important to me has slowly transformed into a different version of myself that was only noticeable to me when I left my home country. It’s been a few years since I moved back to New York, so I haven’t really thought about it before this Christmas celebration.
Three months later, France imposed a complete lockdown and we could hardly leave our homes. Gatherings were cancelled, and we were living under a nationwide curfew. At first, I was very depressed and experienced a lot of feelings about the state of the world and life. I wrote a blog post titled Good case for China, who shared how my mother always waited for a special occasion to use her beloved china for her wedding. After her death, she realizes that she never used it. It struck a chord with many readers who were similarly confined to their homes.
Why wait to use good China? Why wait to do things that bring us joy? Why do we feel guilty or limit ourselves from experiencing joy daily?
I felt the saying “tomorrow is not promised” right away. I realized that my life in Paris was full of little moments aerial– And I learned it from living among the French. The response from this post inspired me to explore this transformation, and I began a deep dive into what Joy de Vivre Really mean and how often can we all get to it.
This beautiful floral design is by Floral stems and event design.
What explains your style of food and gatherings?
I live by Dr. Maya Angelou’s quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is what I always have in mind when I think about it list planBecause I tend to overdo things with flashy ideas or too many recipes. This quote leads me away from that mistake by keeping me focused on what matters – bringing people together. Of course, I never want people to leave my house hungry or dissatisfied, but even so, at the forefront of my mind, I choose simple, slow-cooked, or sourced food.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
What does “the good life” mean to you – and how has it changed since living in Paris?
For me, the “good life” is one in which experiences, people, places, and relationships can be utilized in ways that bring me joy. that it no About money, wealth, a job you have, or your family heritage.
“The Good Life” about Joy de Vivre, find joy in life every day no matter where you live…and not just on vacation! It is a life where I realize that joy is one of my most important values and my north star.
Before moving to Paris, I thought that having a good life meant working for a good company or doing a job that would bring me a lot of money. Because someone taught me that “time is money,” I worked non-stop so that I could buy “him” handbags, designer clothes, and travel to the best resorts or far-flung places. I thought these things would make me happy, and in looking for happiness in the wrong places, I couldn’t learn the art of finding true joy.
Take us through your typical day in Paris.
I like getting up before the rest of my family to have a little peace and quiet with tea and thoughts. I use this morning time To flip through books for inspiration, read, write, or practice calligraphy while listening to music, meditating, or stretching. This is one of my favorite times of the day because no one is awake to text or talk to me, and I never check my email this early.
Then, I spend the morning putting on my robe as long as I can while I help the kids get ready and out the door. Then I get dressed and take them to school, or Thomas did and sit in my robe a little longer to read and ease into my day. If I drop them off at school, I usually have a coffee shop with some parents before going home.
No two business days are the same. I might head to the marché for groceries and the florist to get props for my antiques shoot or set up a style table. I might answer emails, photograph some stuff, and then go out for a lunch date or eat at home. In the afternoon, I will find a coffee shop to sit with my computer. I love variety – it’s what I need for inspiration and creativity.
What are some of your favorite products for the table?
- Linens are an easy way to elevate any table, and of course, I have a closet full Madame de la Maison linens In many colors ready to mix and match.
- I like to be Old salt cellars Which can be used for salt, but also for any condiment or sauce. Soy sauce and hot sauce, salt and pepper, ketchup and mustard, honey and nuts, candy, etc… I could go on and on about combinations and ideas.
- The knife falls It is an undervalued table item that I use for buffets and dinners. They help keep your utensils straight from the linens between bites.
What is your must-have cooking tool?
for me Grater and peel I usually throw it in my bag when we travel to stay at Airbnb. I use it to grate fruit, cheese, vegetables, potatoes, ginger, garlic in sauces or sauces, etc. Not every rental includes a grater, but I find that I use it on a weekly basis and get frustrated when I don’t have it.
I don’t usually use cookbooks during the week, but I enjoy taking them out every now and then to experiment on the weekends when I have more time. These are my favourites:
All the Ottolenghi Cookbooks Because I know anything I cook is going to be full of flavour.
Momofuku’s first cookbook Because I love making fried chicken and Bo Sam and it was one of the first cookbooks where I really tried and enjoyed challenging myself with recipes.
smitten kitchen Cookbooks because all the recipes look so cute and delicious.
Tell us some of the things you’ll always find in your fridge.
More seasoning that anyone should have! I always have different types of miso paste, Gochujang, Ssamjam, crispy chili oil, sambal oelek, bulldog sauce, harissa, wasabi, confit de onion, confit de fig, cornichon, capers, and anchovies.
What is your advice for someone who wants to host a meeting on a budget?
Make it a food, but give it another name if that word takes you back to ’80s gatherings with lots of casseroles. Assign different courses to your friends, follow the one that suits you best and set a beautiful table. It is entirely possible to meet with your people without feeling pressured for your money.
Dream dinner guests?
Michelle Obama, Oprah, Zadie Smith, and Priya Parker.
What are your signature dishes for gatherings?
I like to keep things simple, slow cook, or just outsource. In my apartment, I’ll probably serve you bo sam, or oxtail stew, or osso buco, or roast Provencal lamb, or Whole salmon With various side powers.
Or I’ll go with the large spread of appetizers, which is basically a ton Charcuterie, cheese and nuts, then add something heartier to make you feel full. It’s apero and dinner together.
fill the gaps:
It’s not a dinner party without it…
Someone changes the ultimate playlist for karaoke or an impromptu dance.
Every cook should know how…
Outsource when he needs a break!