The Familiar Taste of Home


While I was sampling the delectable specialties that Parisians enjoy every day, I still wished for a little bit of home. A big cup of coffee in a to-go cup. A tall iced tea, heavy on the ice. A toasted and buttered English muffin with my omelette. I’d always heard that French food is notoriously five-star. French pastries are the finest. French baguettes are superb. Coffee in Paris may not be what Americans are used to, but it’s also top-notch. And if you don’t happen to share these same gourmet opinions, then maybe your taste is a bit second-rate. So I couldn’t wait to sample French culinary creations. I expected to be wowed. Bowled over. I thought I might go home dreaming of bread and pastries only available in Paris. But I think I just might prefer the familiar. Even if it is a little ordinary.

I had a chocolate croissant from the French chain Pomme de Pain, and one from the award-winning Eric Kayser Boulangerie, where I was scolded for taking a photo. (I suppose they were worried I would be able to recreate their intricate pastries at home just by looking at a photo.) However, maybe my American tastebuds are so low-brow, but I couldn’t actually tell a difference. I thought both were equally good. At another bakery, I ordered a chocolate ├ęclair. It was also marvelous. At a tea room in the Louvre complex, I ordered two mini macaroons. It certainly wasn’t the world-famous Laduree’s, but these macaroons were very tasty.

I tried the tiny cups of very strong bitter coffee that the French drink, but much preferred the Breakfast in America diner, where they promoted American-style coffee with refills and English muffins with omelettes. When my English muffin arrived untoasted, the server said I was welcome to toast it myself, pointing to our table’s individual toaster sitting in a corner of the booth. The French do seem to have a knack of charmingly asking their customers to do half of their work. At every meal, crusty French bread was served but we always had to ask for butter. I think I love soft Italian bread just a little bit more, with a nice dab of cold, delicious butter.

I enjoyed all the food I ate in Paris. Everything was scrumptious. I was afraid that after acquainting myself with what Paris had to offer that I’d pine for pastries I could never taste again. But maybe I am just a typical American who likes my everyday favorites. I don’t really want to spend my days craving croissants, baguettes or ├ęclairs that can only be found in Paris. Because yearning for what I can’t have only makes me notice that I’m discontented. Not enjoying what’s nearby. Failing to savor what’s right here in front of me. So I’ll relish what’s around the corner, not across the world. I’ll gladly enjoy a cranberry-orange scone from SuperTarget, a grande coffee from Starbuck’s and a Thomas' cinnamon raisin English muffin. And when I want a little taste of Paris, I noticed that there’s a sign in the plaza down the street that says a French bakery is opening soon. Croissants and baguettes available just down the street. I can't wait to swoon over the sweet treats. Right here in my own neighborhood.


Comments

  1. I love this entry, and LOVE LOVE the photo of Breakfast in America and the fact that there is a Parisian and an American in front of the diner. I agree about appreciating the familiar. I could be happy eating my simple favorite meals every day. So...meet ya at Starbucks?

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    1. Starbucks is my favorite since it has both my iced tea AND coffee . . . I'm so there!

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  2. Sounds like you sampled a good bit of French fares, but found that the best may well be in your own back yard! What a trip you had - but it's alwys nice to come home and find that we have our own food comforts nearby in the states! We just returned from MI - and as much as we love things there, home isn't so bad, either!!! Sounds like you sampled some delicious pastries in France!!!

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    1. New is exciting but there's no place like home sometimes! Thanks for your encouragement!

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  3. I love the last picture! I definitely shouldn't have read this hungry...yum!

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    1. Those French pastries were so pretty and tasty! Thanks for being here and reading! :)

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