l’aventure du café

by jemma margaret

Sometimes I worry that my cheese lady only likes me because I will merrily purchase whatever she recommends.

Well, except for camembert. I am afraid to say, this cheese and I have not yet come to terms.

While in my native tongue I might make complicated requests to bartenders involving substituting bourbon for vodka in this or that drink, in French I am a total pigeon. Especially in the unfamiliarity of my new neighborhood. The vendors do not know me and before I know it I have bought insanely expensive (but rather delicious) cherries, unintended bread, cheese that is far too close to emmanthal, and farmed salmon.


However, I needed du cran when a welcome foreign visitor brought delicious coffee from New York.

Unfortunately, there was a bit of a mix up when it came to the state of the coffee, short story shorter, I needed to borrow a grinder. This seemed like a terrible task. Trying to request in more or less French a coarse grind for my Brooklyn beans…well, that extended beyond my current linguistic skills. Fortunately, the local fancy pants café (like all fancy pants cafés in Paris, so it seems) is run by Anglo-saxons, in particular Australians. I spent a good long while hatching a plan. First I would buy a bag of coffee and THEN I would humbly request that my gift coffee might be ground as well.

This is indeed what happened, and besides being pretty embarrassed, well, there was no incident. The coffees took ages to grind, during which five minutes I apologized repeatedly to the barista who occasionally pumped a small handle to speed things up.

If there is a moral here it might be that things always seem more daunting in the waiting than in the execution. If there isn’t a moral here, then I will instead conclude by saying the coffee is mighty fine and thank you kindly.