Elizabeth Bard's LUNCH IN PARIS: A LOVE STORY, WITH RECIPES, but I'm already hooked. I'm such a Francophile, even when it's of the rose-colored glasses, in-the-middle-of-a-love-affair sort of variety. Bard has an approachable way of writing that makes me want to hang out with her. And, luckily, the food writing is unpretentious and entertaining.
I was sitting at Guy and Gallard this morning, reading this book. For those of you who don't know, Guy and Gallard is a small-ish chain here in NYC. They definitely aren't the best quality, but the coffee isn't all that bad and I just can't resist the darling way they wrap my muffin in this parchment/tissue-type paper that crinkles. Having the joy of unwrapping my lemon poppyseed muffin makes the muffin itself just a little more palatable.
It was while going through all this that I read this passage:
Where croissants are concerned, I've found two principal schools of thought. Some prefer a brioche-like model, with a golden hue, a little spring, and an eggy chew. Not I. I like a flake, a croissant with an outer layer so fine and brittle that you get crumbs all over yourself from the very first bite. When you pull it apart there should be some empty space, pockets of air between the buttery layers of dough. When you finally do rip off a hunk to dip in your coffee, it stretches a little before it breaks. More crumbs, but utterly, completely worth the mess.
And then I giggled as it was followed by this passage:
My first trips to the boulangerie are not all ogling. I have to keep my head about me as I place my order. First there is the gender issue; every French noun is assigned a sex, masculine or feminine. Personally, I think my croissant is a woman, as tender and fragile as a Brontë heroine. But apparently, the Académie Française, the guys who make the dictionary, have decided that "croissant" is masculine, un croissant. I have been outvoted.
The good news is that I just adored these passages. The croissant just become a tangible thing for which I longed, and I loved the simile of a croissant being as feminine as a Brontë heroine. Lastly, the idea of a flaky croissant being worth the mess is some sort of metaphor for life, peut-être?
The bad news?
All this talk about airy croissants put me off my leaden, dry lemon poppyseed muffin completely.
Eat, drink, and c'est la vie.