Day 19–Baking in French

Busy Type-A type day today.

The error message on the scale didn’t augur well, however. It read, “One leg at a time,” in French no less. (Une jambe par un fois, if you don’t believe me.) It must have anticipated my pastry making class later today.

I have adopted a new rule, one guaranteed to keep aggravation to a minimum. I am only going onto my email (at work, not Bberry) once every morning, that’s it. I am trying to see if this way I can wean myself from looking at email altogether. Nah, probably not but there were 83 messages this morning.

Graham and I discussed perspective, a very underrated concept I think. He also suggested I get a sketch pad, go to a café, get a coffee and start sketching. Now there’s an idea.

At the pastry course at Café Lenôtre, 10 ave. des Champs-Élysées, Chef des travaux Laurent Meredieu, showed four women–I think I was the youngest in this class by about 20 years although that may have been my imagination–us how to make pâte à chouxpâte à briochepâte sabléepâte brisée and pâte feuilletée, the last ridiculously hard., the others not so bad. Interestingly, at least in pastry-making, the French measure by weight rather than volume. So, instead of 1 cup of flour, it might be 150 grams, so a scale is essential.

Having sampled what we made, maybe this course wasn’t such a good idea. Perhaps fish would have been better. I do know, however, why French pastry tastes sooooo good. IT’S THE BUTTER!!!!! Not a good photo of the Chef et moi, believe me so I haven’t included. In fact, I think I erased it, one of the other students took it after the class and by then we’d had samples of  chouquettes (choux with sprinkled almonds and sugar), briocheand the like. This after a quick lunch at a place I think was called Madrigal (it didn’t seem to have a name) on the Champs-Élysées which, at least today, was thronging with people. Ridiculously, there, a pretty tasteless club sandwich and diet Coke was 20 euros!

Later, much later, we went to a hilarious place, jammed full of people, called L’Entrecôte, 20, rue St-Benoit, where the only question the server asks is how you like your steak cooked. That’s it, steak, frites and dessert if you want it. It reminded Sandy of the old Ed’s Warehouse where if you wanted roast beef, mashed potatoes and peas, that was the place. It reminded me of a French version of a place called Steak and Burger where the name says it all.

Tried the 1947 Armagnac when we got back. Very mellow.