05 October 2008
Sunday Croissants - let someone else do the baking
This week there will surely be baking in Hopie's Kitchen, possibly a reprise of the Zucchini Bread as there was loads of zucchini in Friday's CSA basket again, and something with apples...mmmm. But this Sunday I decided to let someone else do the baking and, living in Paris, there are plenty of good bakers around to pick up the slack.
After a Saturday night birthday party for a friend, and numerous servings of spiked punch, I decided to do Sunday the traditional French way. I slept in, rolled out of bed around 11am, threw on some clothes and headed around the corner to the best neighborhood boulangerie. Now, I'm not claiming that it's the best boulangerie ever, or in Paris; it's not famous or anything. It's just one of many wonderful places to get amazing bread and patisseries in the time it takes to say "bonjour" and "bon dimanche."
Later, browsing through Joy of Cooking for particular recipe, I got distracted by a paragraph about croissants. It's like the dictionary for me: you look up a regular old word and end up being seduced by finifugal and abluvion, and then you're done for. But that's another story. According to the Joy of Cooking, although popularized by the French, croissants were actually invented in Hungary. In 1686 Hungarian bakers, who were working through the night to prepared the morning's pastries, heard Turkish invaders tunnelling under the city. If it weren't for the bakers, it would have been a massacre, but thanks to their warning, the Hungarian army had enough time to rally and defeat the invaders. As a thank you, the government mandated the bakers to create a pastry in the shape of the crescent on the Turkish flag, so everyone could nibble on the symbol of their defeat!
Still, no one can argue that the French know how to do pastries. So this morning with buttery croissants still warm from the oven, hot tea and coffee for proper croissant-dipping, and despite the dismal, rainy weather, I remembered why I love living in Paris.