Friday, March 2, 2007

Je Suis Arrivee

It is 10:00 pm in Paris and I am filled with the rich “unlocking” that happens when you are transitioning time zones. After a 2 ½ hour nap between 2 and 5 we were ready to explore our right bank neighborhood of Montorgueil.

We cracked the door open onto rue Greneta and said “let’s go explore Paris!” What a gem! There are fish markets and fromagerie and charcuterie and boulangeries at every turn. The restaurants, salons de the, brasseries and cafes are original and varied. Tonight we ate at Les Petit Carreaux at the far end of rue Montorgueil. I learned that the word “souris” when paired with d’agneau means lamb shank. Mine was prepared Perigourdine which meant a sauce flavored with chopped bits of ham in the style of the region of Perigord.

This sauce is made perfect when absorbed by a good Parisian baguette. There will be much to say about baguettes in the days to come, but let me share my first impressions. There is NO American equivalent. The finest American baguette pales by comparison. I held the slice in my hand for a moment … I squeezed it between my fingers … it was perfection. I tore a bit of it from the main piece. It held as I tore as though wanting me to know that this was part of a magnificent whole. But at the same time it gave … and let me free it for its task. I pressed it into the sauce and watched the sauce flow into the bread. And when I chewed … it was a sublime mix of flavor and texture. And this was a mere ordinary baguette. What will happen when I get to taste a flute Gana?

When I returned from Paris last summer my jaw had developed a clicking sound. When I queried my dentist he told me “no more French bread.” Well he might have been telling a flounder “no more water.” I have been on complete “bread rest” while in the States and now I am ready to enjoy again.

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