Gypsy Grub

A fine food enthusiast travels the world, and her own backyard in search of the best eats.

Month: June, 2013

Pain au Chocolat pour mon Anniversaire

I was planning my petit dej even the night before my birthday. But I was at a loss for what to treat myself to. On one hand there was the deliciously decadant croissant which was a buttery bready heaven, on the other hand there was its cousin the equally marvelous pain au chocolat. They are essentially the same thing if you think about it sauf que one has a bar of chocolate stuck in the middle of it. Nonetheless it drove me insane. Would it be better to opt for the simpler wholesome pleasure, or the one with chocolate. I chose the pain au chocolat after much consideration, and here’s why.
I have a bit of a disorder if you wish with the way I eat. It is so strange in fact that I do not enjoy eating with strangers in fear of them feeling awkward and embaressed because of my eating habits. However although they are embaressing, they are (everyone must admit) very officient. Now I will attempt to describe what said “disorder/gift/ritual” is.
I will use a dish I was served in the Dordogne as an example. I was at a beautiful little restaurant in the heart of the foie gras region excited for my entree. I was served a generous slab of foie gras with a crustada, a red berry coulis, Monbazillac jelly and dried Sumac to garnish. Now normally a gourmand would eat the bread with the foie gras with trading off between the toppings. I however must try every combination on the plate no matter how tedious; foie gras and coulis, foie gras coulis and bread, Monbazillac jelly and coulis, foie gras and bread, Monbazillac jelly on bread…etc. This makes for a very long but very efficient and enjoyable meal which ends in me knowing how all the combinations are and which is the perfect combination. And yes, I do this with every single meal that I eat. For most people this is exhausting.
So although the croissant is amazing and allows for much experimentation with different toppings, I chose a combination that was already put together for me and destined to be wonderful.

Luckily I have the best bakery in all of the Paris region right next to my house. It does not have a famous name, or a well known baker but I have tested other bread from all the well known bakeries in Paris and this one beats them all. To treat myself I decided to pop my pastry into the oven so the chocolat inside would be perfectly gooey and warm. I admittedly forgot about it for a bit, so the result was a bit bruleed. But there is nothing better than burnt butter.
And nothing goes with a warm sweet pastry better than an expresso.


Wake Up America, Your Meat Once Had a Soul

When I first came to France I was shocked and horrified by the butcher stalls lining the streets and markets. How (I thought) could they subject their children to such horrible frightening visuals such as those. I feel guilt every time I put a piece of meat in my mouth. A dead fish body preserved on ice. When you look you see it – how it really is. It isn’t clean or pretty looking like the filet cut you buy at the store. It was living and it had eyes. Your dollar supported the killing of it and your eating its dead body. It’s the truth and America refuses to see it.

However, the French see how meat really is, a naked lamb skull with eyes still in tact, lamb brain in the farmers market, skinned bloody bodies of rabbits ready for stew, whole chickens in tact except dead and missing all of their plumage. They see what they are eating, and they eat it anyways. In America, everything is masked. If no one ever told you the patty on your burger once looked like a huge living cow there would be no way you would know. We are not subjected to such images because they are “TOO GRAPHIC” for us and especially our children. But then aren’t we choosing to be naive and not take responsibility for what we are eating? Is it even a choice if we can’t see the whole truth?

I hugely respect the French for many lessons they have taught me, but I feel that most of all they have opened my eyes. They eat raw beef and they know it is the same as the cows they pet at the petting zoo. The children know, the adults know no one is hiding it from them. In a way its sadistic, they are desensitized to a bit of gore, but most importantly they are taking responsibility for the choices they are making. Once I had the realization of what I was actually eating I realized when I ate a piece of meat I could not mentally associate the animal I was eating with the animal that I loved. Therefore I decided morally it was completely unacceptable for me to be eating meat if I couldn’t handle the truth.

And so I beg of you America. You don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan, because I know “all vegans are hippies and they know nothing about nutrition, and their all so fat and unhealthy” (haha) but I just ask that you TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Realize what you are eating, make a conscious effort to truly realize what it is you are putting into your mouth. If you can stand the thought that you are eating an animal, you are much stronger than I, I suppose. Just realize that we are being purposely blinded and you are taking initiative to see truth.

And So… The Age Old Birthday Question

In such a glorious country as France, does a birthday food critic have a croissant or pain au chocolat for breakfast?