un bel accent
by jemma margaret
On this morning’s run I discovered we lived fairly close to an Eric Kayser. While the bakery is a chain, it is a very exclusive and highly regarded chain.
I had originally planned to get the best croissants in Paris for breakfast. But what with all the bird watching, I forgot to set my alarm. So I found a nearby market and stopped by Eric Kayser for two croissants and a tart au citron for breakfast and dessert.
At the very miniscule market (two grocery vendors (no farmers), one clothes stall, and one middle eastern food place (they were rolling out flatbread, it looked delicious). I bought arugula, cherries, apples, fennel, and leeks. At one food stall I got a free apricot and at the other I was complimented on my French accent. I’m afraid this is 100% due to being a white girl at 9 in the morning, My accent is far from beautiful.
At home I ate my croissant (and instant coffee with milk–oh Brooklyn Coffee Roasters I miss you!) and shared an apple. Then I roasted some lunch time vegetables, wrapped an apricot in a napkin and a piece of chocolate in some aluminum foil. Then over the stairs and across the street to the Bibliothéque nationale I went.
The BnF is deliciously quiet. You must put all the items that you wish to bring down into a clear plastic box with a handle that makes a special squeaking sound against my shoulder as I walk. The French academics are very good about rolling their computer extension chords into neat coils.
I had to get permission to photograph the figures and sign a waiver explaining I would not publish them. Actually, I was intending on publishing them, but as it turns out the online versions are better since there is a terrific stain running through the BnF’s copy. Sigh!
I got a café crême after lunch. It came from a machine, but in a ceramic cup. I read the first edition of Lacroix’s Trigonometry textbook (1797), it’s completely arbitrary what is and isn’t in the special reserve room. The book ran to about 15 editions–so it makes for a fairly fruitful comparison along the first half of the nineteenth century.
The afternoon was kind of sleepy. Looking down for 6 hours hurts my jaw. By the time I walked out at 6:30, I was next to starving. A friend of a friend was supposed to come to dinner, but just stayed for a glass of rosé–missing out on the silver and gold winning beaujolais(s) that were to come.
I made a savory bread pudding of sorts with spinach, leeks, mushrooms, and one of the three goat cheeses that Madeleine had picked out (this was her job for the day, she went over and above). While it baked (we were so hungry, and the oven is not fast), we had an arugula, cherry, fennel, and goat cheese salad. The first cherries of the season for me! A very nice start, although someone commented that they bore resemblance to plucked out eyes.
The egg dish was nice too. We alternated between our beaujolais with general approval. Maybe the silver was actually better?
The problem with lemon tarts is that they do not sit well in the fridge or on the shelf. The filling needs a cool environment and the crust tends to lose it crispness at these temperatures. So while we gave the exterior low marks as compared to the interior, one shouldn’t take this assessment too seriously.
We finished The Birds. Tippi makes it to the end! Board up the windows!