Everything you always wanted to know about bread, but were afraid to ask.

by jemma margaret

Paris is a baguette kind of town. Of course literally baguettes here sell like hotcakes (if hotcakes were bought every day sometimes twice a day by everyone). Figuratively, Paris is fancy and direct and likes its wheat white and its sugar refined.

I am generalizing to make the point that not unlike Manhattan, Paris is a bit Disneylandesque. Or perhaps it’s better to say Disneyland is a bit like Manhattan or Paris, since the latter precede the former (and I did see some mice here this morning).

Continuing with this half-baked metaphor, I could say that I am a dense whole grain sprouted sour kind of girl, but, uh, that sounds awful, so let me just say that’s how I like my bread.

While it isn’t available at every bakery, with the help of the internet I’ve found a few choice locales and am happily working my way through the options. Another plus is that these loaves tend to last fairly well for the 3 or 4 days it takes me to eat one. Yesterday, my bread pursuit involved Le Viking (I have a much more difficult time pronouncing words I already know in English, Vee-king case in point).

I will tell you right now that Le Viking is disappointingly fluffy and tastes not at all of levain. But I did not for a minute regret my purchase once I noticed the piece of tissue it had been wrapped in. So that you all can learn as much as I did, I’ve transcribed these valuable life lessons below (with pretty lousy translations).

Le pain est le fruit, d’un métier et d’un savoir-faire. (Bread is the fruit of a profession and an expertise.)

Mieux vaut un demi-pain, que pas de pain du tout. C’est un long jour qu’un jour sans pain. (Better a half-loaf than no bread at all. A day without bread is a long day.)

Le pain est le pilier de la vie. (Bread is the pillar of life.)

Sans plat, sans pain, nulle bonne compagnie. Offrir l’amitié à qui veut l’amour, c’est donner du pain à qui meurt de soif. (No plate, no bread, no good company. To offer friendship to those who want love is to give bread to those dying of thirst.)

Mettre le pain à l’envers empêche les amours. Il faut cuire le pain tant que le four est chaud. (Set bread against preventing loves. One must bake bread while the oven is hot.)